Thursday, February 23, 2023

There still?

I have in my archives, several photographs of buildings or other things that I mean to gather more information about. And then when I look at them, I realize that far too many years have gone by; is that building standing even now? Such a one is this picture of a building on Broadway, taken in 2010. If you click on the picture to open it in a new tab, and blow it up, you will see that it says "1930 Sarafaly Mansion". For the last 13 years, I have been trying to find out more but I don't think I will have any further details than I already have, so here goes. 

The partnership firm Mohamedaly Sarafaly and Company has been in existence for nearly two centuries. The founding partner, Mohamed Ali Shaikh Sarafaly was originally from Sidhpur in Gujarat (which, by the way, seems to be a fascinating town in itself), and had ventured far and wide to establish his trading business. He appears to have spent a considerable length of time in Ethiopia, being awarded the 'Star of Ethiopia, II Order' by emperor Haile Selassie I, in addition to the award of an MBE (Member of the British Empire). 

I am absolutely speculating here: the firm of Mohamedaly Sarafaly carried out a lot of business from Madras as well. Like many of those who found success here, they must have set up more permanent indicators of their benevolence and societal awareness. This Sarafaly Mansion must have been one such. A search on Google throws up references to a lot of litigation involving Mohamedaly Sarafaly and Company, mostly against the Income Tax Department. It is quite likely that all of these assets are in the current state of limbo thanks to those cases, going back to the 1960s. I also discover that find that Abdullabhoy M Bhagat, Partner of Mohmaedaly Sarafaly, is yet to claim dividend for 2019-20 from Sicagen, according to their report from August 2022. Does anyone have more - and correct - details to offer? 


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