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from the Chronology

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1875 (In the year) Bahá'u'lláh sent Sulaymán Khán Ilyás, Jamál Effendi, to India. [BW4:285; GPB195; MC155]
  • See EB120–1, 122–8 and MF134–8.
  • BBRSM90, 193 say he was sent in 1871 and left in 1878. BW18p246 says he arrived in 1872. EB122 says he reached Bombay in 1878 and stayed 11 years on the subcontinent.
  • His work helped establish Bahá'í communities in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras as well as in Burma. [BBRSM91; GPB225]
  • See Momen-Jamal Effendi for a map of his travels in India (1876-1879) and South-east Asia (1884-1886) as well as to Central Asia 1888-1896.
  • Among those he taught was Siyyid Mustafá Rúmí, who later found the Bahá'í community of Burma. [BW10:517] iiiii
  • Mumbai (Bombay); Kolkata (Calcutta); Chennai (Madras); India; Myanmar (Burma) Sulayman Khan Ilyas; Jamal Effendi; Siyyid Mustafa Rumi
    1875 (In the year) At the request of Baha'u'lláh,`Abdu'l-Bahá wrote The Mysterious Forces of Civilization, a treatise on the establishment of a just, progressive and divinely-based government. [SDCv; Baha'u'llah on the Circumstances of the Composition of "The Secret of Divine Civilization" a provisional translation of a Tablet by Bahá'u'lláh by Adib Masumian]
  • It was lithographed in Bombay in 1882. It was first published in English under the title The Mysterious Forces of Civilization in London in 1910. [SDCv] It was re-issued in 1918 and later translated as The Secret of Divine Civilization by Marzieh Gail and published by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust in Wilmette in 1957.
  • See Marzieh Gail's Summon Up Remembrance pg46-47 for a description of Persia at the time. The nation was ostensibly ruled by a self-serving monarch who had little regard for the county or its people. The government administered the chessboard where Russia and England played out their competing imperialistic designs to increase their respective spheres of influence. Through bribery and intrigue, they contended to raise up ministers who would do their bidding. They thwarted the progress of the nation by manipulating the clergy to oppose any Western ideas, threatening that such would threaten Islam. If required these measures were supplemented with the bribery of the ulamas, accepted eagerly either for their personal gain or for contributions to their communities. Thus Iranians were kept divided, deprived, and ignorant; all the better to exploit them. [SUR62]
  • Shoghi Effendi called The Secret of Divine Civilization "`Abdu'l-Bahá's outstanding contribution to the future reorganization of the world". [WOB37]
  • See the English translation of the message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of Iran dated 26 November 2003 in which they make reference to this book.
  • See a comment about the book.
  • Akka; Mumbai (Bombay); India; Iran Secret of Divine Civilization (book); Publishing; Publications; First Publications; Corruption; Reform; Iran, General history; Abdul-Baha, Life of; Abdul-Baha, Writings and talks of; Abdul-Baha, Basic timeline; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Adib Masumian
    1889 (In the year) Bahá'u'lláh instructed Jamal Effendi, a Persian scholar of noble birth and high rank, to proceed to India and acquaint its people with the Bahá'í teachings. He arrived in Bombay in 1872, (sources differ on the date), and proceeded to travel throughout the country. Despite the language difficulty he managed to convey the teachings to many distinguished people. Jamal Effendi's vast knowledge, eloquent tongue and unfailing courtesy attracted many persons to him, and he was the guest of a number of prominent Indians of high standing. At innumerable meetings and discussions Jamal Effendi outlined Bahá'u'lláh's teachings for the upliftment of mankind and many recognized the truth of his words and embraced the Cause. It was not until 1880 that Jamal Effendi's strenuous efforts produced permanent results. In that year the first Bahá'í group was formed at Bombay and from there the Faith spread rapidly to Poona, Calcutta, Karachi and Delhi where Local Spiritual Assemblies were eventually established. [BW18p246] Mumbai (Bombay); Pune (Poona); Kolkata (Calcutta); New Delhi; India; Karachi; Pakistan Jamal Effendi
    1882 - 1883 Bahá'í books were published for the first time, in Bombay and Cairo by the Násirí Press. The Bombay publishing house was run by Mírzá Ibrahím (a son of Hájí Abu'l-Qásim, the brother of the wife of the Báb) [GPB195; SA250; Momen-Jamal Effendi] Mumbai (Bombay); India; Cairo; Egypt Publishing; Publications; First publications; Business
    1891 (In the year) In Bombay, on the instructions of Bahá'u'lláh, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas was published for the first time. [SA250]
  • It was published in Arabic. [SA250]
  • Mumbai (Bombay); India Kitab-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book); Publishing; Publications; First publications; Bahaullah, Writings of; Bahaullah, Life of
    1897 (In the year) Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí, the first Bahá'í to have settled China, died in Bombay on his way back to Shíráz. [PH24]
  • He lived in China from 1962 until 1868. He moved to Hong Kong in 1970 and was joined by his brother Haji Mirza Muhammad Husayn (Haji Mirza Buzurg) where they established a trading company. The brothers stayed in Hong Kong until 1897. [Video Early history of the Bahá'í Faith in China 2min56sec]
  • China; Mumbai (Bombay); India Haji Mirza Muhammad-Ali (Afnan); Afnan; In Memoriam; Births and deaths
    1902 - 1903 C. One of the chief promoters of Mírzá Muhammad-'Ali in India was Mírzá Husayn-'Alíy-i-Jahrumí.
  • See LGHC57-58 for his encounter with Lua Getsinger.
  • Reference is made to this man in Memories of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá: Memoirs of Mírzá Habíbu'lláh Afnán edited and translated by Ahang Rabbani p96.
  • Also see CoB185 for more on the role played by Mírzá Husayn-'Alíy-i-Jahrumí in the plot by the Covenant-breakers to have Mírzá Áqá Ján incite an incident at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh with a view to having those involved arrested and therefore discredited.
  • Mumbai (Bombay); India; Akka Mirza Husayn-Aliy-i-Jahrumi; Mirza Muhammed-Ali; Covenant-breakers
    1904 1 Dec Sydney Sprague arrived in Bombay, India. [BFA2:XVI]
  • He was the first American Bahá'í travelling teacher in Asia. [BFA2:XVI; 258-270; facing p335]
  • See Reflections on the Bahá'í Writings for the story of Kaykhusraw Isfandyár who sacrificed his life by travelling from his home in Bombay to Lahore to assist Sidney Sprague when he was mortally ill with typhoid fever. He was too ill to be taken back to Bombay as planned so Kaykhusraw prayed that he, a humble shop-keeper, might be accepted as a sacrifice for the life of Sydney, an international travel teacher. His request was accepted and he became the first Eastern Bahá'í to have sacrificed his life for his Western brother. When the news of this sacrifice reached `Abdu'l-Bahá, He immortalised Kaykhusraw by conferring upon him the rank of a martyr and He revealed a Tablet to Kaykhusraw's family.
    This story is also available in Andalib magazine, year 7, no 25 and can be found in YBIB55-60.
  • Mumbai (Bombay); India; Asia Sydney Sprague; Travel teaching; Firsts, Other
    1906. 10 Nov Harlan Ober and Hooper Harris sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey for Naples and 'Akká on their teaching trip to India at the behest of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. (Tablet 12 March, 1906) Dr. William Moore, brother of Lua Getsinger, had been chosen to accompany Hooper Harris but he died unexpectedly. Harlan did not have the means for such a trip but Lua Getsinger loaned him the necessary funds. [BW13p868]
  • During their three days stopover in 'Akká 'Abdu'l-Bahá provided no instructions but promised them that "Whenever difficult questions or problems come to you, turn your hearts to the heart of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and you will receive help." They found that they were astonished with some of their own answers to questions put to them during the trip. [BW13p869]
  • Later 'Abdu'l-Bahá told Harlan, "Serve the people, speak in the meetings, love them in reality not through politeness, embrace them as I have embraced you. Even if you should never speak great good will be accomplished." This was to become Harlan's creed for teaching the Faith. [BW13p869]
  • They traveled across India, teaching the Faith, with Persian Bahá'ís Ibn-i-Abhar and Mírzá Mahmúd. See BFA266–71 for details of the trip. [Bahaipedia]
  • "Hooper Harris and Harlan Ober traveled, during no less than seven months, in India and Burma, visiting Bombay, Poona, Lahore, Calcutta, Rangoon and Mandalay." [GPB261]
  • ‘Abdu'l-Bahá sent the "Tablet of Purity" to America with Hooper Harris on his return from Haifa and India. [Highlights of the First 40 Years of the Bahá'í Faith in New York, City of the Covenant, 1892-1932 by Hussein Ahdieh p10]
  • Hoboken; New Jersey; India; Pakistan; Myanmar (Burma); Mumbai (Bombay); Pune (Poona); Kolkata (Calcutta); Lahore; Yangon (Rangoon); Mandalay Harlan Ober; Hooper Harris; Travel teaching
    1914 (In the year) The publication of Kitáb-i Badáyi'u'l-Áthár written by Mírza Mahmúd-i Zarqání, by Elegant Photo-Litho Press in Bombay. The English translation, Mahmúd's Diary, was published in 1998 by George Ronald Publisher. [APD151]

    "Mírzá Mahmúd was a careful and faithful chronicler and engaged in assembling and publishing his work with the permission of the beloved Master . . ." (The Universal House of Justice - a letter dated April 30, 1984 addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States).

    Mumbai (Bombay); India Mahmuds Diary; Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani; Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Publishing; Publications
    1914 Jan - Feb 'Abdu'l-Bahá sent Lua and Dr. Getsinger on a teaching tour in India. The duration of the tour and the places visited have yet to be confirmed. She lectured at Theosophical Society Hall in Surat on "Purity and Divinity" (22 Jan); in Bombay, she spoke in Pratana Mandir Hall for an hour on "The Bahá'í Movement—Its Rise and Progress." (24Jan) She addressed the students of the Theistic Society on "Individual Spiritual Progress" (4 Feb); and in the Ideal Seminary she spoke on "Service as an Act of Worship." (8 Feb) In addition to the public lectures, to large and enthusiastic audiences, Dr. and Mrs. Getsinger were kept busy meeting people of various creeds. Lua's most important interview, and the one which ‘Abdu'l-Bahá spoke of as a "certain definite result", was with the Maharajah of Jalowar (Jhalawar) whom He had met in London. He wished to acquaint this receptive enlightened person with the Bahá'í teachings, and chose Lua to seek him out. The Maharajah received her most graciously, and afterwards corresponded with her, remaining a staunch friend of the Faith. [SoW vol. V, No. 2, p. 21-22; "Lua Getsinger -Herald of the Covenant" by Amine DeMille; BFA2:353]
  • In her autobiography, Sunburst pg 236 Loral Schopflocher wrote:
      The Maharaiah of Ghalawar was the first ruler to accept the Baha'i teachings and attempted to put them into practice in his domain.
  • For more information on him see The Indian Biographical Dictionary (1915) by C. Hayavadana Rao.
  • Surat; Gujarat; Jhalawar; Rajasthan; Mumbai (Bombay); India Maharajah of Jalowar; Lua Getsinger; Edward Getsinger; Travel teaching
    1920 27-29 Dec The first All-India Bahá'í Convention was held in Bombay with 175 in attendance. [AB446; BBRSM194; 115] Mumbai (Bombay); India Conferences, Bahai; First conferences
    1922 12 Feb Laura and Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney arrived in Haifa from their travel teaching trip in Burma and Bombay. [EJR208]

    Between the years of 1920 to 1922 they stayed in many cities in China including Chengdu.

    Haifa; Myanmar (Burma); Mumbai (Bombay); India Travel teaching; Laura Clifford Barney; Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney
    1936 31 Dec Khusraw Bimán (Thábit) passed away in Bombay at the age of 103 or 104. [Imm:56]
  • He is the first Zoroastrian to accept the Faith in India. [Imm:44–6]
  • For the story of his life see Imm:39–60.
  • Mumbai (Bombay); India Khusraw Biman; In Memoriam; First believers by background; Zoroastrianism; Conversion
    1943. 2 May The passing of Narayanrao Rangnath (Shethji) Vakil (b. Navsari, 1866) in Poona. He was the first person from the Hindu community to identify himself with the Bahá'í activities in India and the first chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and Burma. He learned of the Faith through Mírzá Mahram Isfáhání in about 1908. [BW9p637-641]
  • For the story of his life see PH17–25.
  • Mumbai (Bombay); Pune (Poona); India In Memoriam; Narayanrao Rangnath Vakil; Mahram Isfahani
    1992 (In the year) The publication of the statement entitled "Bahá'u'lláh", prepared by the Office of Public Information at the Bahá'í World Centre. The statement was formally released at a press conference in Bombay, India by Hassan Sabri. [VV126]
  • For the text see BW92–93:47–94.
  • Mumbai (Bombay); India Bahaullah (statement); Office of Public Information; Hassan Sabri; Bahaullah, Life of; Bahaullah, Life of (documents); Statements; Publications
    1992. 29 May A statement titled Bahá'u'lláh was published by the office of the Bahá'í International Community Office of Public Information in New York marking the centenary of the passing of Bahá'u'lláh. It was bound as a booklet and given wide distribution in many national communities.

    The statement was formally released at a press conference in Bombay, India by Hassan Sabri. [VV126]

    Mumbai (Bombay); India Bahaullah (statement); Historical Overviews by Central Figures or BWC; Bahai International Community; Office of Public Information; Hassan Sabri; Bahaullah, Life of; Bahaullah, Life of (documents); Statements; Publications
    1992. 2 Sep The passing of Shirin Fozdar (b. 1 March 1905 in Bombay (now Mumbai)) in Singapore. She was an Indian Bahá'í of Zoroastrian descent who was, along with her husband Dr. K. M. Fozdar, the first Bahá'í pioneers to Singapore in 1950. She was an inaugural member of the National Spiritual Assembly of South East Asia elected in Djakarta in 1957.

    Shirin Fozdar was also notable for her work for women's rights founding the Singapore Council of Women which was responsible for the passing of the Women's Charter in the Singaporean Parliament in 1961.

    The Singapore Management University implemented The Shirin Fozdar Program in 2009. It has a scholarship and an annual lecture as well as community service projects. [Bahaipedia; Singapore Memory]

  • See the video Shirin Fozdar-a Bahá'í and a Champion of Women's Rights.
  • See Bahá'í Blog 20 February 2022.
  • Bombay; Singapore Shirin Fozdar; In Memoriam

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    from the Main Catalogue

    1. Additional Tablets, Extracts and Talks, by Abdu'l-Bahá (2018/2023). 167 selections, updated August 2023. [about]
    2. Encouragement of the Arts During the Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá: The Services of Master Calligrapher Mishkín-Qalam, by Nooshfar B. Afnan, in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 33:1-2 (2023-10). ‘Abdu’l-Bahá promoted the arts, including through support of Mishkín-Qalam and artistic conceptions for the interment of the remains of the Báb, the construction of the first Bahá’í House of Worship, and transcription of Bahá’í literature. [about]
    3. Encyclopaedia Iranica: Selected articles related to Persian culture, religion, philosophy and history, by Encyclopaedia Iranica, in Encyclopaedia Iranica (1982-2023). Sorted, categorized collection of links to over 170 articles. [about]
    4. Narayenrao Rangnath Vakil (1998-09). Short biography of the first Hindu Bahá'í (?-1943). [about]
    5. Navjote of a Converted Zoroastrian Bahai, The: (Chapter 68), by Maneckji Nuserwanji Dhalla, in Dastur Dhalla, the Saga of a Soul: Autobiography of Shams-ul-ulama Dastur Dr. Maneckji Nusserwanji Dhalla (1975). Overview of the Faith, and the author's interactions with Bahá'ís in the early 1900s. (Navjote is the initiation ceremony where a child receives his/her ceremonial garments and first performs the Zoroastrian ritual.) [about]
    6. Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i-Iqan, by Christopher Buck (1995/2012/2021). Comparative study of tafsir, exegesis, and theology in the Qur'an and the Kitab-i-Iqan. Includes Persian translation. [about]
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