Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi departing from Suriname (Dutch Guiana
as it was then), 24th June 1959
After his visit to the Fiji Islands (see link 1 and link 2), Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi went from there to San Francisco, California, USA. Some details are given by ‘Master’ Muhammad Abdullah from Fiji in a letter to Paigham Sulh published in its issue of 19 November 1958 (p. 4). It informs that the Maulana started his missionary activities there on 16 September 1958.
In March 1959 he went from there for a visit to Suriname and later Trinidad. Leaving San Francisco by air on 14 March, and travelling via New York, he arrived in Suriname in the evening of 15 March (see his letter in Paigham Sulh, 13 May 1959, p. 7). His arrival is also mentioned in a report translated from the Daily Chronicle of British Guiana (Guyana) in Paigham Sulh of 6 May 1959, p. 1.
It may be noted that Ramadan had begun on 11 March and the Maulana was present in Suriname for most of that month and for Eid-ul-Fitr. He has mentioned some of his activities, including the audio recording of his public lectures, in Paigham Sulh, 10 June 1959, p. 4. In June he delivered the Eid-ul-Adha khutba which was broadcast over the radio and heard in all mosques of the Lahore Ahmadiyya community (see his report in Paigham Sulh, 8 July 1959, p. 4). His speeches during his stay were recorded on audio recording equipment of the time, and we are fortunate to have 13 of these audios available online at this link. These include his Eid-ul-Adha khutba, which, the recordist says in his introductory comment to the recording, was on 17 June.
According to another of his reports in Paigham Sulh (8 July 1959, p. 3 with brief continuation on p. 10, col. 2), sent from Trinidad, he left Suriname for Trinidad on 24 June 1959, where he would stay for one week and then return to San Francisco. One day before his departure from Suriname, he was given a farewell party attended by leading citizens of the city. At his departure there was a crowd of one thousand men and women to bid him farewell at the airport, located some 30 miles from the capital Paramaribo.
The photographs shown below were sent by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi to his daughter Mrs Akhtar Aziz, and are now in possession of the creator of this website, Dr Zahid Aziz. The first set of eight photographs shown below carry hand-written captions, either on the reverse side or on the front. These show that the photos were taken on 24 June 1959. Some give the location as Zandrey field, the main airport in Suriname. One photo mentions the location as Zorg & Hoop, a small airport located within the capital Paramaribo.
1. Date is marked on the reverse of the photo below.
2. Date and location are marked on the reverse of the photo below.
3. Front of the photo below is annotated with names, date and location.
4. Front of the photo below is annotated with names, date and location.
Front of the photo below is annotated with names, date and location.
6. Caption on the reverse of photo below reads: Maulana Sahib and members of the committee SIV, 24-6-59
(SIV stands for Surinaamse Islamitische Vereniging or Suriname Islamic Association.)
7. Caption on the reverse of photo below reads: Maulana Sahib between 2 daughters of Hamid (Marhoom), 24-6-59
8. Caption on reverse of photo below reads: Maulana Sahib and family Guman at Zorg and Hoop. It appears to be the same occasion as in photo 4 above. No date is given.
The three photographs below have no caption, but were mostly likely taken on the same occasion as above.
In 1960 Mr Guman, who appears in several photographs above, sent a post card to the Maulana who was then in San Francisco. Both sides of the card are shown below. The photo obviously dates from when the Maulana in Suriname.
It may be added here that the Maulana again visited Suriname in 1961 for his fourth and last visit. In Paigham Sulh, 12 April 1961 (p. 4) he informs in a letter that, while in Philadelphia, he led the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers there organised by some black Muslims and gave the khutba. Two days later he left for Suriname, where he was greeted at the airport by some 500 people. In later reports, he mentions his activities such as delivering lectures and Friday khutbas. He conducted the Eid-ul-Adha prayers on 25 May 1961 (Paigham Sulh, 14 June 1961, p. 6).