VM Art Gallery is pleased to present ‘M. A. Rangoonwala – A Journey in Pictures,’ an exhibition of photographs featuring the life and times of Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala.
The show will be inaugurated by Mrs. Sadia Rashid - President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan. Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala was born on May 20th 1924 in Rangoon. His father V. M. Gany had trading and industrial activities in Rangoon, Calcutta, Madras, Colombo, Singapore, Penang, Sourbaya and Batavia (Jakarta). At the outbreak of World War II, the family moved to Bombay. The young Mohammad Aly Rangoonwala quickly re-established the family business and became well-known amongst the business community.
In 1946, his involvement with the Pakistan Movement gathered momentum and he worked to encourage Muslims to establish businesses in Pakistan. He was known to Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who laid the foundations of the first edible oil refinery in Pakistan at Karachi, which M. A. Rangoonwala established with his associates. M. A. Rangoonwala was given the honor of providing the ‘kafan’ for the burial of Mr. M. A. Jinnah and also participated in performing his last rites. He played a leading role in organizing the business communities in Pakistan as well as actively engaging in various social welfare and educational support initiatives and assisting the government in its developmental work and international interaction.
The concept of multi-resource Community Centres, which he pioneered at the Rangoonwala Community Centre in Karachi dedicated in the name of his mother Zuleikha Bai, became a model concept for Community Centres not only in Pakistan but internationally as well, and has been replicated in Pakistan and other countries
In preparing this exhibition of M. A. Rangoonwala’s life in pictures we realized there were many aspects to his life, some well-known and other aspects not so well known. No doubt his prominence would be more as a person from the business world. Those who know him very well distinctly recall him having mentioned on more than one occasion that business is an art, and he considered himself an artist in this endeavor. He retained throughout his life a sincerity of purpose espousing an intellectual approach to his profession whereas business is not really always given this threshold. In researching his materials and his papers it became apparent to us of his quest in life being more than a quest for material success in business. A quest which was not sufficiently publicly reflected from among his many characteristics as he remained a modest person by nature despite his many successes. As all human beings his personality did evolve over the years yet some aspects remained consistent throughout his lifetime.
No doubt he was a businessman, a trader, financier, banker, industrialist and entrepreneur but he was also a Hafiz, social worker, reformer, economist, philanthropist, activist, thinker, orator, educationist, trustee, arbitrator, confidant, mentor and a humanist. He was many things for as many people whom he came across in his life and if in this exhibition those depictions may have not have been included we would welcome the contribution of pictures or events for inclusion in a book which we hope to compile, and will include pictures of this exhibition and transcripts of his many speeches which have been compiled.