THE BOHRAS TODAY
…if I may say so, you are a splendid example of the way I believe different cultures can learn to understand one another much better.
HRH Prince Charles of Great Britain, 19th March, 1996
Today’s Dawoodi Bohras mostly originate from the North West Indian state of Gujarat. Their name, ‘Bohra’ comes from the Gujarati word ‘vohra’ which means trader; for the community essentially was then and remains to this day a business community although a substantial number are now professionals in various fields.
The vast majority of Bohras are of Indian and Pakistani descent but there is also a significant number of Bohras of Yemeni origin who continue to reside there. Their origins predate the time the community came to be known as Dawoodi Bohras; when the first 24 da`is were centred in The Yemen.
The second highest number of Bohras reside in Pakistan. At the time of the Partition of India the 51st Da`i Syedna Taher SaifuddinRA instructed Bohras to remain on whichever side of the border they were living in. As a result the vast majority of Bohras living in India continued to do so.
In common with many people from the sub-continent Dawoodi Bohras have migrated far and wide and have spread across the world to further their education and in search of better prospects. Consequently large jamaats (congregations) have grown, particularly in East Africa, Europe, North America and the Gulf states.
Bohras remain a trading and business community renowned for their honesty and trustworthiness. In olden times, in the days of the nawaabs, Bohras would be invited to take up residence in the towns under their rule. The rulers were of the view that prosperity would follow due to their industrious nature and entrepreneurial spirit. Their sound business ethics were well known then and continue to be the hallmarks of Bohra traders today. They inspire such confidence in the general populace that many prefer doing business with them; knowing that they will not be short changed in their dealings.
Bohras have always been loyal and law-abiding citizens wherever they live. They have maintained cordial relations with all manner of governments with an aim of fostering harmony and goodwill. From Mughal emperors to the the British Raj as well as with modern day political parties the da`is have looked for common ground on which to lay the foundations for mutual understanding that can lead to a betterment for all.
The Bohras’ unique blend of religiosity and modernity along with the way Bohras contribute positively towards the development and prosperity of the places they live in gives them a special place wherever they may be. They are respected as hard-working, peace loving, helpful and loyal citizens contributing fully towards the prosperity of the countries they reside in.