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Day 8 #16DaysOfActivism 2023

Join us for #16DaysOfActivism from across the Parallel Lives Network.

I’ll be interviewing network members about their particular take on activism and what it means to their cause.

The programme runs from Saturday 25th November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – through to Human Rights Day on Sunday 10th December.

On Day 8 I’ve chosen to re-visit a project driven by a father and son in pursuit of awareness raising and remembrance of a tragic incident lost to the tides of time for nearly 80 years. It’s a timely reminder that our shared histories are full of incidents that barely get mentioned in the footnotes of official histories. How many stories hold huge relevance in the lives of those affected but mean nothing to others?

Through their dedication, in both time and money, this story is still being heard. It’s bringing survivors and their descendants, and the families of those who died, together in commemoration.


On 20th November 1942, the S.S. Tilawa departed for Africa. There were 958 passengers and crew onboard all unaware of the tragedy that lay ahead. One of them was Nichhabhai Chibabhai Solanki. He was to perish in the Indian Ocean when the ship was attacked and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-29. He was a forgotten story until the day Kash asked about a photo in his father’s cabinet….from that moment, the SS Tilawa become an obsession for this father & son to not only connect with a Great Grandfather unknown to them but a story surrounded by mystery and missing from any history of the conflict.

In November 2022, Kash & Emile led a commemoration event in Mumbai, India to mark the 80th anniversary of her sinking in 1942. In our first interview, we discussed the origins of this story through a family connection, the development of the website (below), the international court drama, stories shared, a survivor found, and the plans for the future.

In the recording below you can hear how the 81st anniversary event at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London brought more survivors and their families together. I’ll have a follow-up interview with Emile and Kash in the coming months as I’m interested to know what happens next for the project – is it a book, a documentary, an oral history project….all of the aforementioned? It has the potential to be an important archive of information about a tragedy on the scale of the Titanic.

EXTRA – Below you can watch a recorded interview with Emile:

Below is a full recording of the event at the National Maritime Museum on Thursday 23rd November 2023:

Our first interview from 5th November 2022 just before the Mumbai 80th anniversary commemoration event:

Please visit their website for further information about this forgotten tragedy. It’s an ongoing piece of investigative work that sets out to keep this event alive and provide a place for stories to be collected.