Daulat A. Manji
January 8, 1924 – July 8, 2018
Daulat “Dolly” Manji, beloved family matriarch, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of July 8, 2018 following a stroke eleven days prior. Family members were visiting and comforting her at Hospice of the Valley in Glendale, AZ at the time of her passing. She was 94 and a half years old. Daulat (also lovingly known as Dolu Bai, Ma, Ma-ji, and Dadima) was born in Eldoret, Kenya in East Africa on January 8, 1924. She was the fifth of eight surviving children of Panbai and Alli Kassam, who had emigrated from India and opened a general store in the highlands of Kenya. She grew up with her brothers (Vali, Abe, Ramzan) and sisters (Sakar, Gulbanu, Roshan, Farida) at a time when Eldoret was growing from a small farming district into a bustling town with piped water, electricity, and even an airport. In 1941, at the age of seventeen, she married Abdulrasul Manji, a friend of her brothers Vali and Abe, who worked for the family business Alli Kassam and Sons. Together they had four children, daughter Naseem and sons Amin, Bashir, and Faruk, whom they raised in Uganda before moving to the United States in 1968. During many of these years, Daulat managed the household like other Indian wives of the time while also working as a seamstress, in the family store, and as an English and Math tutor at home. She lived in several cities across the United States including San Diego, Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Phoenix and visited her children and grandchildren as they travelled across the country and around the world to Southeast Asia, United Arab Emirates, and Europe. She had an adventurous spirit and enjoyed travel. Some particularly memorable trips included a three-week tour of China she took while in her 80s with her daughter and a Mediterranean cruise with son Amin, daughter-in-law Giovanna, and Giovanna’s mum Anna. She walked on the Great Wall of China, climbed to the top of the Parthenon, and stood in the shadow of Mount Fuji. Daulat was generous and joyful, welcoming everyone she met into her heart and loving each as her own child. In both San Diego and Austin, she and Abdul opened their home to many Ismaili students who would join them for meals and prayers. At her 90th birthday celebration in Phoenix, they came and spoke with some of her grandchildren about how she was like another mother to them and helped to make a strange new country feel like home. She loved boisterous get-togethers, where her infectious giggles would burst through the cacophony around her. She told stories about her life growing up in Africa and about the close ties that were developed and sustained over the years as various relatives moved a half a world away to England, Canada, and the United States. She was nearly impossible to beat at Scrabble. Playing card games late into the night brought out a bit of a competitive streak, but a twinkle in her eyes and a smile she couldn’t quite suppress were a sure tell that she had a good hand! Daulat was well known for her wonderful cooking that was flavored with more than just spices and masalas…she seasoned her food with the love she had for everyone around her. In the kitchen she was also a teacher, demonstrating how to measure spices by feel or asking children and grandchildren to roll the last roti and then beaming with pride as she reassured them that the misshapen flatbread was exactly as it should be: “You made it in the shape of Africa to remind me of where I was born!” After Abdul passed in September 1999, she continued her battle with breast cancer, at times driving herself to chemotherapy appointments and ultimately winning the fight for her life! In adjusting to life without her husband, Daulat was delighted to discover that she enjoyed driving (although her children were somewhat less delighted to discover that she had a bit of a lead foot). The quiet but fierce determination with which she approached her life during this time was a source of inspiration for many of the younger women who looked up to her. Daulat had a sharp and inquisitive mind. She loved to learn about history and current events, keeping CNN on throughout the day. She had aspirations of being a nurse and, while ultimately these were unrealized, she sought out any information she could find about homeopathic cures and natural remedies. She swore by the power of ginseng and treated Prevention magazine like a reliable encyclopedia of medical information. It seems she may have been on to something, as even her doctors and nurses marveled at her health and resilience! At her core, she was a woman of deep faith. Upon moving to San Diego and later Austin, she started the Jamatkhana in both cities offering her home for prayers and later at a rented facility. Through her fight with cancer and later while recovering from the effects of strokes, her faith and prayer sustained and strengthened her. Daulat leaves behind her youngest sister Farida Ashbrook; children Naseem & Mansur Kassim, Amin & Giovanna Patani, Bashir & Maria Manji, and Faruk & Naina Manji; grandchildren Salima Kassim, Alim & Yasmeen Kassim, Nura Patani & Eric Gehrig, Arif & Stephanie Patani, Amir Manji, Aneesha Manji, Ana Julia Manji, Nabil Manji, and Aman Manji; great-grandchildren Malik Patani, Tia Kassim, Nadine Kassim, Zain Gehrig, Jai Gehrig, and Mina Patani, and countless nieces, nephews, cousins, and others who loved her dearly. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 7:45am at Green Acres Mortuary & Cemetery, 401 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85257.
- Funeral Service Tuesday, July 10, 2018