Mar 1, 2013

Bead Bai: Gujarati writing on the book cover


The Gujarati writing on the book cover (see to your right) appeared on Bead Shops in East Africa: ખોટા મોતી ના સાચા વેપારી  meaning Of imitation pearls we are genuine merchants.  It may be that the storekeepers in East Africa had taken this phrase (that never fails to amuse Gujarati speakers), from the bead shops in Gujarat. Beads from German glass manufacturing families in Bohemia (that later became a part of Czechoslovakia) were popular in Gujarat. Gujarati bead merchants in East Africa imported a large variety of beads from Czechoslovakia for the ethnic people when they came to know them, and trade. 

In recent memory people remember how Sunderji Hemraj's bead shops in both Mombasa and Nairobi had ખોટા મોતી ના સાચા વેપારી written at the entrances. Sunderji Hemraj grew to be the largest importer and distributor of beads in East Africa.

1 comment:

Sarah Williams said...

Hello Dr Sultan Somjee,
We met in Nairobi while I was a graduate student studying Turkana women's beads. Please, could we be in touch, please? I'm a faculty member at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA).

Thank you,
Dr. Sarah Williams
williasa@evergreen.edu (preferred) or swilliams6561@gmail.com