Uganda’s specially minted Golden Jubilee Award was conferred to 20 people of Uganda Asian origin on Uganda’s 51st Independence Day, October 9, 2013. Such a mass conferral on a minority never happened in any country. Noteworthy for Ismailis is the fact that three community members were honoured in the list – late Mrs Sugra Visram and late Count B K S Verjee in the Politicians category and Dr Vali Jamal in the Academics category.
The honour to Dr Jamal was partially in recognition of his >1 million-words, 6.8 years in the making book on Uganda Asians. Ismaili community will be particularly impressed with the wealth of archival material collected from Canada sources that depicts H H Aga Khan’s role in the resettlement of the Uganda expellees in Canada and from UNHCR (head: Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan) on that agency’s corresponding role. Roles played by USA, India and Australia (warm to cool to negative) are documented. The book has gone much beyond the objective of recording Uganda Asian people’s stories of how they coped the expulsion. Stories of 100 or so pioneers in Uganda and dozen or so pioneers in Canada were collected in subsequent phases of the writing. The book recognizes that Ugandans suffered death and persecution many times greater. Many of their accounts are included in the book.
The book will be launched in March 2014. A committee of eminent people is coming together to handle the financing of the book.