by Our Literary Committee
Bhagat (devotee) Kara Ruda was a resident of Sheeshang (Wadala) in Saurashtra, India. Some point out his birth place to be Mengani or Virpur etc... in Saurashtra. However, he spent many years of his life in Rajkot, Saurashtra. He prosecuted his higher studies also in Rajkot itself. The college where Mahatma Gandhi received high education was the very Alfred College in which the Missionary also acquired his training up to Intermediate. Besides English language, he used to recite Sanscrit verses by heart very fluently. When he left this mundane world his age was of 50 years or over which means that he was born in 1881 C.E. or certain years before that. Date of his expiry was March 3, 1931 C.E.
Childhood of Missionary Kara Ruda passed, just as that of Pir Ismailbhai Gangji, in poverty. After finishing education at the Alfred College he joined the Police Department of Rajkot Agency. The Missionary had inspirations of spiritual knowledge from the childhood, meaning that under whatever circumstances, either favourable or adverse, prayer was his compass. Prayful person always desires to lead a peaceful life, but in the life of the Missionary it was the contrary. How could a position in Police Department and prayers be coordinated ? In that service one has to attend to his duty at any hour. No regularity in life could be maintained. However, by maintaining two swords in a sheath, the Missionary proved to the world that a person of intensive mind can never remain aloof from the worship of his Creator under any circumstances. Occasionally, he had to wander in distant jungles in pursuit of outlaws, but even then prayer time could never happen to be slipped away.
Disloyalty and untrustworthiness, the two congenialities, were always fleeing from him. He had never even imagined of bribery and corruption. Ordinary person could not even dare to offer him a bribe. Once a rich man gathered enough courage to offer him hundreds of thousands of rupees as bribe in a big case concerning the Agency fund. On hearing his offer the Missionary pasting an eye of hatred, annoyingly said in plain words:
"Lion would never eat grass even if he was starving !"
On hearing this the briber said: "Why are you rejecting hundreds of thousands of rupees? you will never find anybody offering such a huge amount." Upon this the Missionary strongly retorted: "Many will be found making such offers, but none like me to refuse it."
The Missionary was always outspoken. He would never accept bribe from anybody and it was verify due to his straight forwardness that the officer above him nurtured great regard for the Missionary as well as Ismaili faith. And as a result, elevated the position of the Bhagat from that of the Superintendent to the Commissioner, thereby he became renowned as a candid high grade officer in the whole of Saurashtra.
Missionary Kara Ruda could concentrate in prayer for hours together. His faithful consort, known at Rajkot as 'Sonbai Ma' (Mother Sonbai) was aiding him to attain enlightment of soul. Both used to sit together in deep meditation and for this purpose the Bhagat had set apart a prayer place in his residence, which is known as underground base and is still existing at Rajkot. ln fact, prayers at night had become his closest companion.
Once, he was deputed for certain work on account of which he had to stay for some period at Maliya of Miyana on the Frontier of Saurashtra. His main task to be done was to prohibit illiterate Muslim clan called Miyana from committing crimes and bring about reformations in their lives, thus making them law abiding citizens. The clan in question was uneducated, uncivilized and was not afraid of committing open robberies and undesirable deeds. To deal with such people was really a difficult task. To arrest and convict them was also a great job to be done.
Missionary Kara Ruda kept an eye on the activities of Miyana and then put certain restrictions over their daily activities for the improvement of their lives. The result was that the rate of crime began to minimize. It is told that before the appointment of Missionary many police officers were deputed there for the same purpose. But Missionary proved to be the most successful among them. Missionary Kara Ruda wrestled with such dangerous people and in a short time overpowered them in as much as leaders of the clan approached the Missionary with a request kindly to lift the restrictions assuring that they would lead a moral life and live as good citizens and earn their livelihood by agriculture and doing the labor work. This assurance was secured in writing and on sureties of reliable persons. In short time the situation became as peaceful as divine dominion.
Upon the situation having become peaceful, the Missionary wrote in detail to the officer of Rajkot Agency. His services were very much appreciated and the efforts put by him during the performance of his duty were greatly admired, and he was awarded high prizes. The Missionary instead of retaining the prizes for himself distributed the same among the members of his staff, for he never used to utilize for himself the income over and above his just remuneration.
When Missionary Kara Ruda was staying at Maliya, Ismailis were inhabiting it in a good number and still it is so. Their main occupation at that time was agriculture. They had to work very hard in the fields and in addition the educational facilities were dirt. These Ismailis were staunch in faith, but unfortunately the attendance in Jamatkhana was very poor. Missionary Kara Ruda observing this weakness amongst the Ismailis started delivering sermons in Jamatkhana and made use of his knowledge, experience, wisdom and good offices to bring about the desired improvements in the attendance of Ismailis in Jamatkhana. Consequently, through an inspiration the Missionary worked out a scheme and promulgated a general procedure that a head of every family should have to attend police station every evening, mark his presence there and then return home. By this rule everybody came into trouble. It compelled them to return home from the work soon. Besides, some other difficulties came in their way. Under the circumstance, some leaders approached the Missionary and upon explaining the difficulties sustained by the jamat, requested to remove the procedure. He was assured that the members of the jamat would attend jamatkhana daily between eight and ten at night. The Missionary got the rule revoked. The result was that the attendance in jamatkhana began increasing day by day and in that way their attachment to faith began to arise. And Maliya jamat came to be known all over as real dedicated (fidai) jamat. This resembles the significance of the touch of alchemy stone. By its touch iron is changed into gold. Likewise through the contact of the Missionary Kara Ruda, Maliya jamat became dedicated and adherent to the religion.
The Missionary, being a responsible police authority, had to go to different places on duty and thereby seize the opportunity of propagating Ismaili faith and deliver sermons. Mostly the Bhagat used to lay stress upon concentration in prayer. People were greatly interested in his sermons, but due to his unsparing duties he could not satisfy jamats. He thought of leaving the service, apprised the Political Agent about it and simultaneously tendered his resignation. The Political Agent, however, in pacification told him that he was free to do his preaching work in Jamats, and to devote his spare time for the Agency's work, that it was their pride to have him in their Department and that they would not in the least like a person like him leaving their Department. Nevertheless, the Missionary kept on insisting and at last the Political Agent accepted his resignation gave him the deserving testimonials in satisfaction of the performance of his responsible tasks and duties and retired him honourably with a fixed pension.
Missionary Kara Ruda had mentioned to an individual that he had been able to make an increase of certain years in his life. Then the individual said that it was not in the hands of one, to lengthen a life, as it was only for the omnipotent God to do so. Thereafter, the Missionary said for instance if one saves Rs. 25/- economically from his earning of Rs. 100/every month then after ten or twenty years it would aggregate into a huge sum. In the same way if through prayers one is able to use sparingly from his total breathes awarded to him by God his life would be lengthened accordingly.
Missionary Kara Ruda was a faithful devotee to Ismaili faith. He brought about reformation in the lives of people. He was honest and regular in worldly as well as religious duties. He had no lust for luxuries but led a simple life.
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