November 25th, 2017
One of the earlier members of London’s Bohra jamaat and part of one of its foremost business families, Shaukat Dungarwalla has been awarded Freedom of the City of London. The award is an age old tradition that maintains a strong symbolic value to this day. It is awarded mainly in recognition of charity and community which included financial management at Mayday Hospital Trust and the turnaround of Bensham Manor Special Needs School where he is a governor.
Shaukat and his brothers run the specialist printing firm in Croydon ‘Graphico’ which they first set up in 1975 after their arrival in the country from Kenya. The firm specializes in security printing – the likes of bank cheques for example and also counts several top London hotels as its clients.
Shaukat was first made a Freeman by Stationers Company, an association formed in 1403, in 2016 before being put forward as a candidate for Freedom of the City. The Freedom of the City of London is the highest honour which is in the power of the City of London to bestow. The award takes place at Guildhall in the presence of the Common Council and with Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen present, along with invited guests. Before conferral of the award final approval goes to the City Court to formally accept the recognition. The recipient is then informed by correspondence which states, ‘Sir, I have pleasure in notifying you that the Court of Aldermen has passed an order for your admission to the Freedom of the City of London.”
The Stationers Company awarded The Freeman in June 2017 after checking charity and social standing in the society with interviews and scrutiny of the recipient’s character and involvement in the community.
Shaukat was also secretary for the local Bohra community, Anjuman-e-Zaini from 2011 to 2014 and is still a trustee for the community. South Croydon and surrounding areas were designated an independent jamaat in 2011 prior to which it was part of the London jamaat.
He has been a Bensham Manor School Governor since 2011 where he was on the finance committee that took the school from being in deficit to a currently positive bank balance. The school for special needs was on the brink of government closure but is now rated the second best special needs school in the Croydon area of South London.
Shaukat becomes the second Bohra known to have been awarded the Freedom of the City after Dr Mariyah Esmailji last year.