Tussle over Gandhi’s biographical past

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: Abdul Karim Abdullah Zaveri and Faruk Abdullah Zaveri, cloth merchants of Madurai, are fighting against all odds to claim a shipwreck, which belonged to Dada Abdullah Company, run by their great grandfather, Abdul Karim Adam Zaveri, and his brother, Abdullah Karim Adam Zaveri.

In a civil suit filed in the court of Joint Civil Judge at Porbandar in Gujarat, a succession certificate was provided stating that the legal heirs of Dada Abdullah are the two Zaveris and granted application that the brothers are owners of the passenger vessel, SS Khedive, in which Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa.

Addressing the media on Monday at the Gandhi Memorial Museum here, Mr. Karim Abdullah said that Abdullah Hajee Adam, who was commonly referred to as Dada Abdullah, and his brother Abdul Karim Zaveri were the directors of Dada Abdullah & Co. Dada Abdullah met Gandhi in Durban on his first arrival and took charge of him. Gandhi’s ‘political baptism’ was associated with Dada Abdullah who introduced him to Harry Esconbe, the first President of the Natal Indian Congress. Gandhi served as barrister for Dada Abdullah where his duties included the handling of English language correspondence, translation of documents from Gujarati and the instruction of counsel. Dada Abdullah founded the Natal Indian Congress in 1894.