Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dr. Hassan Mohammedally Rattansi

Dr. Hassan with his wife Vijo Rattansi

Born on 14th March, 1921 in Nyeri County, the late Dr. Hassan Mohammedally Rattansi was a renowned educationist, philanthropist, humanist, and sportsman who changed the lives of many bright student from poor families with scholarships.

“If God has given you something more than your need, whether it is money or talent, you are only a trustee. Use what you need, and give the rest to the people around you.”
A quote from Hassanally Rattansi

Rattansi started his early education in a makeshift school [typical to Asian schools in the colonial era] in Nyeri before joining the Government Indian Senior Secondary School, now Jamhuri High School, in Nairobi.

In 1936, he passed his London Matriculation Examination and hoped to pursue Medicine or Pharmacy in the United Kingdom. However, his parent moved to Nairobi leaving him and his elder brother to manage their Nyeri business.

Having his ambitions for higher education cut, Hassanally embraced an illustrious career in business, sports, education, and philanthropy spanning decades.

As a businessperson, he successfully managed and developed his father’s Nyeri business and started one of Kenya’s most reputable sports businesses, Nairobi Sports House in 1948. The religious man later sold the business in 1987 to support his foundation.

As a sportsman, he managed and developed cricket, lawn & table tennis, and badminton associations in the country. For instance, he chaired the Asian Sports Association (1958-59), Kenya Table Tennis Association (1962), and Kenya Lawn Tennis Association in 1965. He also served as the treasurer of Kenya Cricket Association in 1965 as well as in the Kenya National Sports Council (1966-84).

In 1957, he was the team manager of the first East African Cricket Tour of South Africa. He continued to represent Kenya internationally as manager of table tennis team to Cairo (1962) and lawn tennis team to the first African Games in Brazzaville in 1965.

As an educationist and philanthropist, he established the Rattansi Educational Trust in 1956, which has to date supported hundreds of needy students with scholarships and financial assistance. In 1987, he had to sell his thriving business to support the foundation and committed himself to its daily running for 16 years.

The trust boasts of having contributed to the lives of prominent Kenyans who include J.B Karugu (former Attorney General), the late Justice J.M Gachuhi (Court of Appeal), Raju Batavia (Batavia Enterprises Ltd), Amb. B.E Kipkorir (former ambassador to the United States), Mohammed Hyder (former professor of Zoology, University of Nairobi), and Sadru Ramji (Wyco Paints).  

As a civic leader, he served as a councilor in the Nairobi City Council from 1960 to 1965. He also served in various boards that include Kenya High School, Highway Secondary School, St. Theresa’s Secondary School, Presidential Probe Committee, H.H The Aga Khan Nairobi Provincial Council, and Nairobi Hospital Board.

Awards to his name:
Honorary Award to his distinguished services to the game of Cricket in Kenya – Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (1988)
 Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Letters – University of Nairobi (November 1998)
The Silver Star (S.S) of Kenya – Former President Moi on behalf of the Government of Kenya (1998)
Host Appreciation Award – Lions Club Nairobi (1998-1999)
President’s Award Kenya (1999)
Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters – Kenyatta University (2002)
The charitable man passed way on 30th November, 2003.

Cynthia Salvadori (1983). Through Open Doors: A view of Asian Cultures in Kenya
Cynthia Salvadori (1997). Two Indian Travellers
Cynthia Salvadori (1997). We Came in Dhows

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