The Jamat from the Northeast came together in Philadelphia’s Expo Center, to celebrate Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee. 

Planning for this day started a year ago when Hazar Imam graciously consented to commemorate the 60th year of his Imamat as the Diamond Jubilee year. The very next day, the journey to the road to celebrate this historic occasion began. 
“For weeks volunteers have served wonderfully, with dedication” said Shajahan Merchant, President of the Ismaili Council for Northeastern USA in his opening remarks to the Jamat, recognizing the tradition of seva in the Jamat.
Encompassing 12 centers, the Northeast region is the most culturally diverse in the country. Some murids traveled for up to six hours to gather under one roof for the event at the Philadelphia Expo Center, on July 11, 2017. The day started with everyone pouring out of buses arriving from different regions. They were then greeted with a riot of multicolored bandhanis, mixed with a multitude of smiling faces, and anxious chatters about the day ahead. Young children in traditional clothing lined up near the entrance holding flags from every region where the Ismaili community lives. 
The Jamat was serenaded by an ensemble of singers. As they moved throughout the venue, they were engulfed by an incantation of traditional Indo-Pak tunes performed by the Golden Club Matki Band, which uplifted the spirits of the Jamat.
Once they were settled in, Jamati members enjoyed the traditional biryani and samosas, while others enjoyed the Reflections Lounge, a carnival-style set-up of fun activities. At the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Zone, children were encouraged to use their creative juices to create artwork as a way to learn more about the Diamond Jubilee. 
As the tiny tots were going to enjoy their first Jubilee, recently married couples were overjoyed. “We feel blessed at such a young age my daughter is able to witness such a historic moment, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Dr. Malik Meghjani, who has a three year-old daughter. “She might not be able to understand everything, but hopefully she will know that as a part of the Ismaili family, she is able to witness everything as a One Jamat, where everybody comes together. She excitedly participated in Sham-e-Intezaari, painting an impression on tiles of the Jubilee Mosaic,” Dr. Meghjani added. 
Reflections Lounge activities were captured in an activity booklet - the ‘Jubilee Passport’ for adults and the ‘Junior Jubilee Passport’ for children. The purpose of the passport-booklet was to enhance the Diamond Jubilee experience for everyone involved, and provide a memento for participants to take home. The Lounge catered to various activities found in the Jubilee Passport.
The One Jamat parade started with the marching band orchestrating tunes, followed by Jamati leaders, and various segments of each of the 12 Northeastern Region Jamats in attendance for the ceremony. After everyone settled down, the silence was broken with a call-and-response of “One Jamat” from the emcees and the Jamat’s reply of “One for all, all for one!” 
Next, dancers moved the Jamat with an exciting performance featuring a variety of indigenous styles from countries such as Syria, Tajikistan, and more. All dancers then merged to perform the final segment of the dance on a devotional song using light to explore the individual’s connection to a larger community.
The One Jamat theme came around in full circle during a short video with greetings of “Jubilee Mubarak” from Ismaili murids residing all round the world. Ismailis from Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Myanmar also joined in greeting the global Jamat. Many members in the hall were overcome with tears as they were reminded of their ismaili brothers and sisters living in areas of insecurity, feeling bound to one another as one Jamat.
Following the viewing of the telecast and seeing  Mawlana Hazar Imam and hearing his words led to many tears of joy being shed. “The Jubilee journey has been an incredible experience,” said Tameeza Asaria of Westport Jamatkhana in Connecticut, and “it has caused my family and me to reflect on the works of Imam. I cried the entire time during the viewing of the telecast. Just to be able to reaffirm our bay’ah to the Imam, being able to see him, I was bawling the entire time.” She remarked that she learnt about the symbolism of the insignias presented to the Imam, such as “the sword that represents defending the weak and the poor - I really never have thought about it that way.”
The evening celebrations saw the Jamat join in the One Jamat Dance, tapping to the tunes performed by the Northeast Central Asian Band, and playing raas and garba to the devotional geets performed by the Northeast Orchestra.  
Fortunate and blessed are the people who have lived their life not only to see Hazar Imam’s Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees but also fortunate to witness Sultan Mahomed Shah’s Diamond Jubilee as well. Azizuddin Aziz Karimi of New York Headquarters JamatKhana is one of those people, who, at the age of seven witnessed his first Diamond Jubilee. “We celebrated for a month,” he said about the historic event. “I used to live in Burma (now Myanmar). The Jamat took a ship to Bombay to witness and celebrate the occasion. This Diamond Jubilee in 2017 was great and spiritually uplifting. I am extremely happy and feel loved and blessed to witness this Jubilee of Hazar Imam and the other Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah. There were some differences but the essence of submission to Mawla was the same.” 
In 2009, Afraz Lakhani was in a car accident that left him with permanent traumatic brain damage. This Diamond Jubilee, his mother Malika’s joy was tempered with a heavy sense of apprehension. “At the time, we were not sure how we would participate in the celebrations with his condition,” she confessed. She did not let her son’s condition prevent her from celebrating the occasion. She beamed, “We have enjoyed each and every moment of the Diamond Jubilee. The medical arrangements are so good here, we have good family support and the Jamat is very kind and cooperative.“
Unity, cooperation and much hard work by hundreds of dedicated volunteers, with months of planning, made this a day to remember for a lifetime.