Dawoodi Bohras And Narendra Modi: A Mutual Friendship

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Dawoodi Bohras And Narendra Modi: A Mutual Friendship

| Updated: February 19, 2023 12:23

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that he had come to the inauguration of the Dawoodi Bohra community’s Saifee Academy in Mumbai not as the PM but as a “family member” underlined his long association with the Shia sect, a sizeable number of whom have roots in Gujarat.

Since he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, Modi has assiduously nursed those links and, at the Mumbai event, described the same as an association going back “four generations”.

While the Dawoodi Bohras make up only a minuscule number of the Muslims in Gujarat, comprising 9% of the state’s population and largely Sunni, the association holds huge symbolic value for Modi – and has been reciprocated in kind by the community.

If, in Gujarat, they have enjoyed positions of power in government organisations, the Dawoodi Bohras – settled in around 40 countries in the world — have done their bit to stand by Modi when it mattered.

Primarily traders and businessmen, some of whom trace their ancestry back to the Nagar Brahmins, the Dawoodi Bohras are a closely knit community. While Surat is considered their base, they are found in every part of the state.

Modi had a warm relationship with the late Dai, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, and enjoys good ties with his successor. The latter, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, was present at the Mumbai event and personally welcomed the PM. Syedna Saifuddin is also the Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University since 2015.

Community leaders cite various examples of the warm ties between Modi and the Dawoodi Bohras. The community also fondly remembers that Modi came to pay his respects to Syedna Burhanuddin when he passed away in January 2014, and returned for his first death anniversary. During the pandemic too, the PM had made time to meet family members of the Syedna in December 2020 and January 2021.

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