On two-acre land in Yendada, around 115 Shia families comprising a population of about 400 have been residing since almost a decade. Apart from these, in various other parts of the city, another 65-70 families are spread out but the majority dwells in Mubarak Colony. This business community had migrated to the Port City from Gujarat in the late 1970s and speak Lisan-ud Dawat, a language somewhat similar to Gujarati. “In whichever country we reside, we consider it our responsibility to support the government in the economic progress and overall advancement of the nation. We don’t have a single unemployed member in our community. Rather we provide employment opportunities to others. In Vizag, most of us deal with hardware and industrial supply,” said Adnan Sabuwala, president of JCI Visakha Valley and a member of the community.
“Though GVMC sanitary staff clears the garbage, all the members have taken care to clean our colony once a month and ensure that it’s kept clean and green with plants and gardens around. Although we lack a proper approach road, we had laid the roads of our colony by spending Rs 5 lakh when our spiritual leader had visited us. We have an active anjuman-e-badri or committee organisation that looks into the accounts and logistics and most members are connected through WhatsApp,” added Md Fakhruddin, a member of the Mubarak Colony Welfare Society.
Though they have a hi-tech madrassa adjacent to the Mohammadi Masjid, almost all children commute to the top English medium schools in the city by school bus or private cars. Needless to say, every house in the colony are like picture-postcard bungalows and has lawns and gardens as well as well-decorated rooms.
“A couple of posh multi-storied apartments have also sprung up in the colony, equipped with swimming pool, gymnasium and a tiny pond for ducks to add to the beauty. Credit for the interior decoration goes to the women in the families, who also display their creativity in other areas such as mehendi designs, cookery, embroidery and all sorts of needlework and art works, making designer rida (the traditional garment wore by the women) and topis (caps) for men and musical programmes like madeh,” said Yusuf Nandarbarwala, a resident of the colony.
“Even though we have respite from cooking six days a week due to our centralised kitchen concept, we still like to experiment with cuisines and on Sundays we usually prepare something at home. We also participate in cookery competitions. Karri chawal, dal chawal palidu, kharak ka halwa (dry dates halwa), biryani and walnut desserts are some of the special dishes of our community,” said Tasneen Yusuf, a winner of various competitions.