Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala
Date of Issue (August 31, 2002)
Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala a philanthropist was born on May 20th 1924 in Rangoon. His father had trading and industrial activities in Rangoon, Calcutta, Madras, Colombo, Singapore, Penang, Sourbaya and Batavia. At the outbreak of World War II all investments were lost and the family moved to Bombay. The young Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala quickly re-established the family business and became well known amongst the Bombay business community.
In 1946, his involvement with the Pakistan movement gathered momentum and he worked closely with Mr. ABDULLAH H. HAROON to encourage Muslims to establish business in Pakistan. He was in contact with Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah who laid the foundation of the first edible oil refinery in Pakistan at Karachi, which M. A. Rangoonwala established with his associates. M. A. Rangoonwala was given the honour of providing the 'kafan' for the burial of Mr. M. A. Jinnah and also participated in performing the last rites.
M.A. Rangoonwala was a pioneer in the edible oil industry in Pakistan and prior to nationalization, had the largest group of edible oil refineries in Asia. He pioneered bulking terminals and cosmetics manufacturing in Pakistan. His knowledge of edible oils was amply put to test after nationalization when he participated with the Malaysian Government in the edible oil industry in Malaysia. He also established business organizations and charitable trusts in Europe and the Far East.
His contribution in the establishment of trade and industry in Pakistan is well known and was responsible for the Pakistan Trade Bodies Ordinance 1960. He was the Founder President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Founder and President of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Chairman, National Bank of Pakistan, President of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Founder and Chairman of the World Memon Foundation, Member of the Stanford Research Institute, International Trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Trust and Founder and Life President of the Dhoraji Association. He was a founder member of the Karachi Stock Exchange, amongst the first Directors of the State Bank of Pakistan, Trustee, Karachi Port Trust, Trustee, Hamdard Foundation and other public and private organizations in Pakistan and abroad.
M. A. Rangoonwala had a passion for philanthropy, social work and education for the masses. In 1963, he established the V.M. Public School in Karachi in memory of his late father V.M. Gany and in 1967, the Zuleikhabai V.M. Gany Rangoonwala Community Centre and Trust as a public charitable institute in memory of his late mother. In all his philanthropic organizations, his motto has always been "Service to Humanity". The objectives of his charitable organizations are to help in the education and upliftment of indigent and deserving persons regardless of race and religion.
The concept of the Community Centre, which he pioneered at the Rangoonwala Community Centre in Karachi became a model concept for Community Centres not only in Pakistan but internationally. Today, the World Memon Foundation Community Centre in Husainabad, Karachi has in attendance over 16,000 ladies per quarter who come for vocational training and adult education.
In the 1960s his public and private activities earned him the Sitara-e-Khidmat from the Government of Pakistan; Das Grosse Verdienst Kreutz from the German Government; the Order of the Silver Palm from the Boys Scout Organization, the International Businessman Award from the Stanford Research Institute and many others.
He worked to the very last and when he knew that his mortal frame would no longer be able to support his mind, he laid down and passed away peacefully at his home in Karachi on Friday 12th June 1998. May his soul rest in peace. Ameen!
Courtesy: Mr. Tariq M. Rangoonwala, the son of Mr. Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala.