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ASSOCATION FOR THE STUDY OF GINANS (ASG)

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The Association for the Study of Ginans was established in 2007 with a mission to preserve, promote and encourage research and study of the rich poetic tradition of Ginans.  This remarkable literary heritage of Satpanth Ismaili Muslims or Khoja Ismailis of India and Pakistan, is a living tradition spanning more than eight centuries. The Ginans are recited or sung primarily by the Nizari Ismaili communities originating from South Asia, although not limited to them.

ASG aims to encourage the research and teaching of Ginanic literature through various online and face to face initiatives for different age groups, particularly motivating youth engagement in these endeavours. In addition, ASG also seeks to establish collaboration with external institutions of learning by holding joint courses, webinars, seminars and conferences to promote the message of Ginans, exchange ideas and build bridges that foster dialogue. 

ASG has dynamic teams that are involved in Research, Academic studies, Youth Ginan activities and Audio/Visual promotions.   These teams are actively engaged in several Ginan Projects and are helped and supported by international advisory teams of experts and scholars. 

In addition, ASG is planning to engage in the preservation, promotion and study of Central Asian tradition of Qasidas and Maddhos. This role is a vast undertaking and includes Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan.

ASG has held or participated in six international conferences on Ginans with leading universities and organizations including the Institute of Ismaili Studies. 

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

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Chairperson


Fayyaz Vellani


Lecturer, Critical Writing and Faculty Director, University of Pennsylvania

Fayyaz A. Vellani is a Lecturer in Critical Writing and Faculty Director of the College House Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  He served as Head of the Department of Graduate Studies for the Institute of Ismaili Studies from 2010 to 2013, and has a deep interest in ginans, speaking and reading Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, and Arabic.  His novel Tea With Ms. Tanzania is being published by Red Sea Press in 2022.

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Chairperson (ASG) Executive Board
 

Shiraz Pradhan
 

B. Sc.,MSME, C. Eng.Fellow, I.Mech.E

Shiraz Pradhan is a professional engineer, an international engineering consultant and novelist. He was involved in several petrochemical Mega-Project in USA, Japan/Singapore, Spain/Saudi Arabia and is recipient of ExxonMobil’s Presidential Award for Global Excellence. Shiraz has been involved in Ginanic research for past 30 years and wrote extensively for Ilm, UK and Simerg.com. He is the Head of Research at ASG and engaged in research related to science in Ginans and Granths. He has a keen interest in early Judeo-Christian and Islamic history as well as philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads.  His Ginan work Amrapuri will be published in late 2022.

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Vice Chairperson (ASG) Executive Board
Mohamed Moledina


Under & Postgrad degrees in Finance, Management and Marketing

Mohamed Moledina has a distinguished career in Travel and Export and was MD of Jubilee Travel & Export for 38 years.  He served as UK National Council member for two terms from 1987 -1993 and Economic Planning Board from 1999-2002. He has long association with and service to Lions Club, Bosnia Re-Settlement Programme and Light-Hearted Fundraising for Kids. Mohamed Moledina is a founding member of ASG and has been providing guidance and wisdom to ASG growth and progress since 2007.

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Treasurer and Events Coordinator

Islamshah Rahemtulla


FCMA, CGMA (ASC, London, UK)

Islamshah is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Chartered Global Management Accountants and has his own accountancy practice. Previously he was European Financial Controller for Domino’s Pizza; Head of Finance & Admin at the IIS; and for 6 years on the Executive Board of the Hillingdon Race Equality Council. He is a founder member of the ASG and has been instrumental in organising several Ginan conferences and seminars. He has served the United Kingdom and European jamats in various capacities. He has a keen interest in Ginans

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Member

Zayn Kassam

Associate Dean of the College/Diversity Officer John Knox Mclean Professor Of Religious Studies

Zayn Kassam was the John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies at Pomona College, California. Currently she is the Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. She has authored an introductory volume on Islam, and edited two volumes on gender, one titled ‘Women and Islam’, and the other ‘Women and Asian Religions’. Her current research is on Muslim migration to North America. She is also the co-editor of the Journal of ‘Feminist Studies in Religion’. Zayn has thrice won the Wig Award for Distinguished Teaching at Pomona College, as well as the American Academy of Religion’s national award for Excellence in Teaching.

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Member

Hussain Jasani

Head of South Asian Studies at the Institute of Ismaili Studies

Hussain Jasani is the Head of the South Asian Studies (SAS) Unit at The Institute ofIsmaili Studies (IIS), London. As the founding member of the SAS Unit at the IIS, Hussain has the responsibility of defining the strategic vision for the Unit, setting its research agenda and overseeing research projects. Hussain also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for The Encyclopaedia of the Ismailis. He obtained his first degree in Electronics and has an MA from SOAS, the University of London, where he is currently pursuing his PhD. He was born in India and now lives in London with his wife and family.

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Member

Dr. Tazim Kassam

Professor at Syracuse University

Professor Tazim R. Kassam teaches Islam at Syracuse University. She specialized on Shi’ia Ismaili Muslims for her doctorate at McGill University. Her book, Songs of Wisdom and Circles of Dance: Hymns of the Muslim Saint Pir Shams, published in 1995. explores the origins, identity, and creative synthesis of Ismaili Muslims in South Asia expressed through their vast literary and musical tradition of Ginans. Professor Kassam has chaired the Department of Religion at Syracuse University, and won several awards such as the National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship. She is an avid fan of Hindustani classical vocal music.

EXECUTIVE BOARD

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Chairperson (ASG) Executive Board
 

Shiraz Pradhan
 

B. Sc.,MSME, C. Eng.Fellow, I.Mech.E

Shiraz Pradhan is a professional engineer, an international engineering consultant and novelist. He was involved in several petrochemical Mega-Project in USA, Japan/Singapore, Spain/Saudi Arabia and is recipient of ExxonMobil’s Presidential Award for Global Excellence. Shiraz has been involved in Ginanic research for past 30 years and wrote extensively for Ilm, UK and Simerg.com. He is the Head of Research at ASG and engaged in research related to science in Ginans and Granths. He has a keen interest in early Judeo-Christian and Islamic history as well as philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads.  His Ginan work Amrapuri will be published in late 2022.

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Vice Chairperson (ASG) Executive Board

Mohamed Moledina


Under & Postgrad degrees in Finance, Management and Marketing

Mohamed Moledina has a distinguished career in Travel and Export and was MD of Jubilee Travel & Export for 38 years.  He served as UK National Council member for two terms from 1987 -1993 and Economic Planning Board from 1999-2002. He has long association with and service to Lions Club, Bosnia Re-Settlement Programme and Light-Hearted Fundraising for Kids. Mohamed Moledina is a founding member of ASG and has been providing guidance and wisdom to ASG growth and progress since 2007.

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Treasurer and Events Coordinator

Islamshah Rahemtulla


FCMA, CGMA (ASC, London, UK)

Islamshah is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Chartered Global Management Accountants and has his own accountancy practice. Previously he was European Financial Controller for Domino’s Pizza; Head of Finance & Admin at the IIS; and for 6 years on the Executive Board of the Hillingdon Race Equality Council. He is a founder member of the ASG and has been instrumental in organising several Ginan conferences and seminars. He has served the United Kingdom and European jamats in various capacities. He has a keen interest in Ginans

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Senior Advisor and Events Coordinator

 

Mr. Farid Meghji

B.Sc., Electrical Engineering, MIET, MCMI

Farid Meghji has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Edinbur-gh University. He is an entrepreneur and a businessman and had interests in several sectors including export, health care. Farid’s passion is collection of Coinage of the early Fatimid Period. He has exhibited his collection at Zamana Gallery during the Silver and Golden Jubilees of 49th Imam Karim Al-Hussaini when he had the honour of audience with the Imam and his family, Farid has served on several Jamati institutions. His work, notable in the Seniors’ Welfare, earned the Queens Honour. Farid has been serving ASG for past twelve years and has help organize several conferences and seminar.

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Academic Head


Professor Nazlin Karmali Howell

BSc.,PhD CChem ,FRSC, FIFST, FRSA

Nazlin Karmali Howell is Emeritus Professor of Food Biochemistry, University of Surrey, UK. She has coordinated several multi-national research projects. She has over 240 scientific publications and has supervised over 50 PhD students and postdoctoral Fellows. Nazlin has trained in classical Hindustani and Sufi Ghazals genre. She has keen interest in recitations and study of Ginans and has performed in the Roshni Choir, the Ismaili Community Ensemble as well as singing solo on various platforms.

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Pakistan Affairs Lead

Mr. Musa Meharali Sheikh


Chartered Linguist

Musa Sheikh is a Chartered Linguist and a Gemmologist. He is originally from Uuch Sharif in Pakistan and is currently living in the UK. Musa Sheikh has provided exemplary services to community and served as a member of Punjab Council. He has keen interest in Ginans and Sufi poetry and tradition.  His family is the care taker of Ismaili Pir Hasan Kabir Uddin's mausoleum.

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Ginan Insights Lead

Meera Mawani

MA in Leadership-UCL; M.Sc in History of Islamic Art, University of Edinburgh;  GIPSH (IIS, London)

Meera is an educator. Currently, she teaches EAP at a university in London. Previously she worked with the British Council as a Training Consultant & Teacher Trainer in ELT as well as an IELTS Examiner. She had served as a National Board member for the Aga Khan Education Board for India from 2015-2019. She has also served with ITREBs in India and the UK in various capacities. She is deeply interested in Ginans study and research as well reciting them. She heads ‘Ginan Insights’, webinar series for the ASG.

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Youth Initiative

Nadia Valliani

BSc Honours, University of Leeds

Nadia is the Advisor Youth Initiatives Project Leader for the Association for the Study of Ginans. She has assisted with the organization of many Ginan conferences and seminars.  She graduated with B.Sc Honours from the University of Leeds and is a Hearing Aid Consultant.  She is an active member of Woman’s Initiatives, and currently works with youth members of the community. In the past she has also served as a member of Social welfare boards, International Regional Operations Committee and senior’s committees. She has a keen interest in Ginans and won Ginan competitions.

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ASG USA Chapter 

 

Karim Hemani

B. Com, Pakistan

Karim Hemani was born Pakistan, and is currently based in USA. His career spans over several fields including Sales and Logistics Supervisor Sea Breeze Ltd. Karachi; Assistant Manager, Gulliver Travels; Sales Manager, Jays Travel, Edmonton, Canada; Director of Systems Hardware, Mexico and Florida; Director of FKH America, Inc. and Naila Esmail Podiatric Clinic.

Karim’s Jamati sewa includes Volunteer Team Leader in Edmonton and Miami; Co-coordinator for Golden Club and Senior Centre, Miami, USA; Logistics Lead for ROI, Miami and Miami Lead for Agakhan Foundation.

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ASG USA Chapter -

Nasim Hemani

B. Com (Pakistan)

Nasim Hemani is originally from Pakistan and is currently resides in USA. She has a Bachelor of Commerce Graduate from Karachi, Pakistan. Nasim commenced her career in Pakistan as Secretary of the Managing Director of Deutsche Bank, Karachi; Secretary of Director of Sales of Land for National Resources, Government of Alberta; Finance Director of Systems Hardware, Mexico and Florida; Finance Director of Naila Esmail Podiatry, Canada. Nasim Hemani’s Jamati Sewa includes Teacher for REC, Edmonton; Miami Lead for IIS; Member RMT; Member Golden Club, Member in Sewa Group.

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Pakistan Co-ordinator

 

 Rafiq Abdul Bharwani

 

MA in International Relations, Pakistan

Rafiq Abdul Ali Bharwani is actively involved in Education Sector for several years. Presently he is Deputy Manager Communication and Coordination for Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan. Rafiq has served on the board of ITREB Karachi and Balochistan. He has also been Head of two years’ programme titled: “Advanced Religious Education – Professional Program” (ARE PP) at ITREB. He completed his formal Devotional Literature Educator Training Program in Pakistan. Rafiq has been participant in several Ginan conferences and workshops in Pakistan.

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Mahbanu Ratansi

Graduate of the IIS, Masters in Islamic Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK, Masters in Microbiology; PhD in Education from University of London Institution of Education, ULIE

Mahbanu is part of the professional staff at ITREB Canada and currently works in the area of Jamati education. She worked as a Religious education coordinator for ITREB in the area of BUI, conducting teacher development sessions., leadership training and parental seminars as well as facilitating youth camps. She has been facilitating educational sessions and delivering seminars and waezes on numerous subjects. Mahbanu also acts as a resource person to provide understanding of Islam to various organisations, interfaith groups, churches, and schools.

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ASG Promotion and Special Projects

Naila Charania

Accounting and Finance, University of Miami

Naila Charania is an undergraduate student at the University of Miami majoring in Accounting and Finance with a minor in Analytics. She participates in student government and on-campus finance organizations and will be working for an investment bank over the summer. She has also served as Facilitator and Youth Team Leader for Volunteer Resource Management and is passionate about volunteering for organizations such as AKDN and HOPE South Florida. She is a new member of the Association and has hosted and helped organize international ginan programs and youth mehfils and is always eager to discuss Ginans, their origin and their meanings.

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ASG Research

Mr. Shiraz Jetha (USA)

FSA, CERA, MAAA, is an Actuary

Shiraz Jetha is an Actuary by profession. He is originally from Tanga, Tanzania. Currently he resides in USA.  He gradually developed an interest in Ginans – the seed of which were planted in him at an early age. Shiraz believes that Ginans and Granths are an important source of spiritual (esoteric) knowledge, a search for which is (or will be) important to many at sometimes. He continues to develop this interest with study of ginans and is happy to be part of ASG.

SENIOR MEMBERS AND ADVISORS

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Professor Amy-Catlin Jairazbhoy

Department of Ethnomusicology, UCLA, USA; BA Vasser College; MM Yale University; PhD, Brown University

Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy is a visiting faculty member in the Department of Ethnomusicology. Amy’s research, writing and multi-media publications often have an applied focus aimed at community development of minority traditions, especially in diasporic settings. Her applied research includes projects with Cambodian-American refugees and the Hmong –American tribal minority of Laos. She and UCLA historian Edward Elperis co-edited sides and scholars: Essays on African Indians (Rainbow Publication) concerning the African-Indian side community of India. Her recent writings address the impact of international touring on the sacred traditions of Sidi Sufis.

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Rai Mumtaz Ali Tajddin Sadik Ali 

B.Com, MA Islamic History & Islamic Studies

Rai Mumtaz is the Manager and curator of Hashoo Museum, Karachi. He has been involved in Ginan, Islamic and Ismaili Studies for several years. He is a prolific writer on several aspects of Ginans and has recently published a masterly essay on the Grath Girbhavali Nani (ગીરભવલિ નાની) by Pir Sadardin. Rai Mumtaz has published 14 books on various aspects of Ismailism. His Mangnum Opus is the 101 Ismaili Heros and is currently wroking on Ismaili Heros Part II. He has been honorary lecturer/waezeen for the last 45 years.

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Dr. Balwant Jani

Saurashtra University, Rajkot

Balvant Jani is the Professor at Dr. Harisingh Gour University, Sagar (M.P) and Director of  Gardi Research Institute for Diaspora Studies, Rajkot. He is one of the most distinguished scholar in medieval Gujarati literature with over 126 research papers and is associated with numerous foreign and domestic universities. He also contributes to the study of bardic oral and folk literature, hagiography and hymnology of traditional Saints and he has studied extensively on classical medieval Gujarati. He has written ‘Comparative Analysis of Satpanth Ismaili Ginans and Gujarati Bhajans of Bhakti Traditions

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2007 Inaugural Chairperson:

Mr. Francois Mallison and Zawhir Moir as 

Vice-Chairperson

2007 – 2019 Chairperson:

Mr. Pyarali Jiwa and Mr. Francois Mallison as Vice-Chairperson 

Past ASG Emeritus Advisor -  2020 -2021 ASG A (UK): Pyarali Jiwa

Pyarali Jiwa was born in Uganda and was a businessman. He had been involved in Ginans for past several years, and developed the first version of the Ginan Library (database) in 2001. He also developed the first Khojkijiwa computer font and has served the jamats in Ugands and UK. He was one of the former founder member of ASG together with Professor Francois Mallison,  Zawahir Moir and Islamshah Rehmatullah. He retired in 2019 and was made Emeritus Advisor to the ASG in January 2020. 

PAST CHAIRPERSON ROLL

ASG IT and Media and Promotion Team Lead:

Altaf Boolani

 

ASG IT, Media and Web Affairs:  

Alina Ahmed

BBA, BMM, MAIR, MAPS, Pursuing Doctorate in Global Business.

 

Promotion, FB, Youtube:

Simran Ratnani

BA (Sociology), Corporate Comm. (NMIMS University)

Our Mission

Our Mission

To unlock the ageless Wisdom of Ginans and foster understanding 

Assortment of Books
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Our Vision

The vision of ASG is to be a centre of excellence in the study, research and preservation of the Ginan Tradition of the Satpanth Nizari Ismailis 

Our Values

  • To help keep alive for future generations the Ginans Tradition which provide the footprints to the birth and growth of Satpanth 

  • To preserve the antiquity of Ginans from mutilation or neglect from changing mores

  • To spread Ginanic values of ethics, tolerance, humility, sacrifice, respect and love for humanity and spiritual truths

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