Abdul Habeen Yusuf Marfani Memon -First recipient of Sevak-e-Hind Medal by the hands of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Memon Abdul Habeeb Yusuf Marfani Memon, a businessman from Dhoraji town of Saurashtra, donated almost his entire fortune of Rs 1 crore to the Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose.
While Gujarati businessmen donated generously for Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent freedom struggle, there were some who helped Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj).
At a public meeting in Rangoon in 1944 Habeeb Saheb walked up to the platform and emptied a basketful of diamonds and jewellery into a silver tray, placed a bundle of title deeds in one corner, and then lifted the tray and handed it over to Netaji with a smile.
On July 9, 1944, when Netaji founded INA in Rangoon, Marfani was the first to come forward to contribute financially to the Azad Hind Bank. Soon, the coffer swelled with contributions from Indian expats in Rangoon and Singapore.
A businessman from Dhoraji town of Saurashtra, Memon Abdul Habeeb Yusuf Marfani, donated almost his entire fortune of Rs 1 crore to the Indian National Army, a princely sum in those days.
The Memon family was settled in Rangoon. On July 9, 1944, when Netaji founded INA in Rangoon, Marfani was the first to come forward to contribute financially to the Azad Hind Bank. Soon, the coffer swelled with contributions from Indian expats in Rangoon and Singapore.
Historian Yunus Chitalwala says Marfani was among the first donors and Netaji expressed his gratitude by awarding him a Sevak-e-Hind medal. He was the first recipient of this award. Marfani’s gesture has been documented in various history books.
Historian Raj Mal Kasliwal in his book ‘Netaji, Azad Hind Fauj and After’ says, "One Muslim Burmese business magnate of Rangoon donated a crore worth of cash and jewellery and offered his services to the Independence movement." After he emptied a plate full of jewellery and placed a bundle of title deeds before Bose, the leader praised the gesture saying, "Brothers! I am very happy today that people have started realizing their duties... People are ready to sacrifice everything. What Habeeb sheth has done is commendable and those who emulate him in serving the homeland are really praiseworthy."
Marfani is not the only Gujarati Muslim to have contributed to INA. Surat’s Ghulam Husein Mushtaq Randeri was the recruiting officer for the army.
Mr. A. Sattar Palwala and Mr. A. Latif Admani were other prominent members of the community who actively participated in the movement. Mr. Admani was later arrested by British Government and sent to jail.
Grandsons of Abdul Habeeb Yusuf Marfani
Left to Right: Mohammed Iqbal Lodhia, Oomar Habeeb Marfani, Razzaq A. Lodhia, Mohammed Yousuf Lodhia, Yacoob Habeeb Marfani & Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia.
Source : https://www.milligazette.com/news/1-community-news/9486-gujarati-muslim-who-gave-one-crore-to-netaji/