Ismaili History 800 - Aga Khans period - Aga Khan I to Aga Khan IV

Hasan Ali Shah Aga Khan I (1233-1298/1817-1881)- The title of Aga Khan
- Mission in Yasin and Punial
- Mission in Gilgit and Hunza
- Meeting of the Aga Khan with Muhammad Shah
- The Aga Khan I left Iran
- The Aga Khan I in Afghanistan
- The Aga Khan I in Sind
- The Aga Khan I in Jerruk
- The Aga Khan I in Calcutta
- The Syrian Ismailis
- Permanent Residency of the Aga Khan I
- Sayeda Imam Begum
- The Aga Khan Case - 1866
- AQA Ali Shah Aga Khan II (1298-1302/1881-1885)
- The first Khoja Ismaili School
- Death of the Aga Khan II
- Interment in Najaf
- Shamsul Mulk Lady Ali Shah
- Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III (1302-1376/1885-1957)
- First visit of Europe
- First visit of East Africa
- Movement of Aligarh University
- Foundation of All-India Muslim League
- Haji Bibi Case of 1908
- Foundation of Recreation Club Institute
- Khilafat Movement
- Round Table Conferences
- Separation of Sind
- President of League of Nations
- Islamic services
- The Aga Khan III as a writer
- Marriages of the Aga Khan III
- Jubilee celebrations
- Death of the Aga Khan III
- Prince Karim Aga Khan IV (1376/1957....)
- Takhat Nashini Celebrations
- Prince Aly Salomone Khan
- Titles and Honours

Ismaili History 801 - HASAN ALI SHAH AGA KHAN I (1233-1298/1817-1881)

Hasan Ali Shah, known as Muhammad Hussain al-Hussaini Mahallati was born in Mahallat on 1219/1804, and assumed the Imamate at the age of 13 years in 1233/1817. His most renowned title was Aga Khan. Jafar Rahimtoola writes in 'History of the Khojas' (Bombay, 1905, p. 234) that his name was documented with Bombay Government as His Highness Aga Khan Mahallati. His name however in the Bill of 1830 had been written as Pirzada i.e., the son of a saint.
His mother Bibi Sarcar Mata Salamat was the daughter of Pir Mirza Muhammad Bakir. On moving to Yazd, Imam Khalilullah Ali had left his wife and children at Mahallat to live on the proceeds of the family holdings in Mahallat and Kahek. When she found herself insecure in Mahallat, she had gone to Qumm with his son and made necessary arrangement for his elementary schooling, where his tutor was Ali Muhammad Qummi. Hasan Ali Shah, the Aga Khan was a keen scholar in Islamic studies and Sufism was his favourite subject. He had also collected the works of the eminent Sufis of Iran, which he brought in India.

Ismaili History 802 - The title of AGA KHAN

The governors of Mahallat and Qumm were inimical to the family of Imam Khalilullah Ali because of the regular thronging of the Indian pilgrims at his residence. According to 'Ibrat-i Afza', an autobiography of Hasan Ali Shah, 'The fortunes of the family were at low ebb when Imam Shah Khalilullah was killed in Yazd.' Hence, Bibi Sarcar Mata Salamat came to the court at Tehran with his son to seek justice. Her pleadings were immediately successful. Shah Fateh Ali ordered his governor of Yazd, Haji Muhammad Zaman Khan to arrest Hussain Yazdi and his gang. Not content with this retribution, he also invited Hasan Ali Shah at his palace and gave him due honour. Ahmad Mirza Adud'ud Dawla writes in 'Tarikh-i Adudi' (Tehran, 1908, p. 69) that, 'Finally, as conclusive sign of honour, Fateh Ali Shah gave one of his daughters, Sarv-i Jahan Khanum, in marriage to Hasan Ali Shah, allotting 23,000 tumans of wedding expenses.' Hasan Ali Shah had been also invested the honorific title of 'Aga Khan' in 1234/1818, including the governorship of Mahallat and Qumm.
It seems that the ceremony to award the title had taken place in Qasr-i Qajar in Tehran. J.M. Tancoigne had been in the palace in 1807, describing its location four miles north of Tehran, vide 'Narrative of a Journey into Persia' (London, 1820, p. 180). William Price also visited Tehran in 1817 and writes in 'Journal of the British Embassy to Persia' (London, 1925, pp. 38-9) that, 'The Takht-i Kajar, or Palace of Kajar, is a noble pile of building situated on an eminence, about half-way between Tehran and Sherman surrounded by beautiful gardens, to which an aqueduct conveys water from the mountains. The beauties of nature and art, richly blended, make this one of the most delightful residence in Persia.' Sir Robert Ker Porter (1777-1842) had also visited Qasr'i Qajar in 1818 when Hasan Ali Shah was being crowned the title. He was full of admiration and writes in 'Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia' (London, 1821, p. 335) that, 'It stands on an eminently pleasant point of the adjoining mountains, being built on a detached and commanding hill, on the great slope of the Elborz. The edifice is lofty, and when seen from a distance, presents a very magnificent appearance.'

In 1246/1834, the Syrian Ismailis received a devastating blow from an Ottoman expedition at the command of Ibrahim Pasha, who caused heavy damage to the Ismaili castles and villages. After a decade, an Ismaili chief amir Ismail bin Muhammad of Qadmus succeeded in restoring his authority over the large part of the Ismaili community. He procured close ties with the Ottoman authorities in the time of Sultan Abdul Majid I (d. 1277/1861). In 1843, amir Ismail bin Muhammad petitioned the Ottoman authorities to allow the scattered Ismailis to restore Salamia for their permanent settlement, which was granted. In 1850, the Ottomans also exempted the Ismailis from military service.

Nothing more is virtually known about the Aga Khan I between 1234/1818 and 1250/1834 except a few fragments. A glimpse of the Indian Ismailis of Kutchh in 1234/1818 can be however seen from a description of Captain James Macmurdo, the resident at Anjar, who writes in his 'Bombay Literary Transactions'(2nd vol., p. 232) that, 'The Khoja is a Mohammaden cultivator, and frequently make a pilgrimage to a spot eight days march to the north-west of Ispahan, where they worship a living Peer or Saint (the Imam) to whom they pay an annual tax on their property.' The Aga Khan seems to have been in close contact with the Indian Ismaili communities as is gauged from his different letters. One letter dated December 27, 1820 addressing to the jamats of Sind, Bombay, Kutchh, Surat and other places, stating that the Kamadia would deliver this letter to the jamats. Another letter on records of the Bombay Jamatkhana indicates a permission to build a new Jamatkhana at Bombay in 1820. There are few other letters of March, 1824, October 1825 and November, 1825 relating to the community affairs.

Hasan Ali Shah, the Aga Khan I led a peaceful life in Mahallat, and enjoyed honour at the Qajarid court until the death of Shah Fateh Ali. On 19th Jamada I, 1250/October 23, 1834, Shah Fateh Ali suddenly fainted and fell to the ground in his palace and died. He ruled 38 years, 5 months and 29 days. He was succeeded by his grandson, Muhammad Shah (1250-1264/1834-1848). The Aga Khan attended the coronation of Muhammad Shah in Tehran on January 31, 1835, where he happened to see Major Henry Rawlinson (1810-1895), vide George Rawlinson's 'Memoir of Sir Henry C. Rawlinson' (London, 1892, p. 52). The new king Muhammad Shah had consulted with his chief minister, Qaim-maqam Farahani (d. 1251/1835) and appointed the Aga Khan as the governor of Kirman in 1251/1835.

The Aga Khan returned back to Mahallat, and upon his arrival, the celebrated Qajarid penegyrist Habib, known as Qa'ani (1807-1854), composed a qasidaof fifteen lines, praising the exellences of the Imam, vide his 'Diwan' (Tehran, 1957, pp. 180-1), whose opening lines run as under:-

'Eternal life in the world were necessary, to sing one tenth of the Aqa Khan's praise.'

The province of Kirman was then in the hands of the rebellious sons of Shuja al-Saltana, a pretender to the throne, and it was also regularly raided by the Afghans and Baluchis. The Aga Khan diplomatically restored order in Kirman with his own resources. Both Bam and Narmashir held for a long time by the rebellions, were also taken back. The Aga Khan sent a report of his victories to Tehran, but he obtained no appreciative words due to the rumours that he was extending his influence in southern Iran. The Aga Khan had paid half the expenses incurred in the campaign upon the words of the prime minister, Mirza Aqasi that he might recoup himself from the revenues of that province, but the Aga Khan did not touch the revenues and made his claim in the aforesaid report. Despite his valuable services, his governorship was short-lived in Kirman.

In 1252/1837, about twenty months after his arrival in Kirman, the Aga Khan was replaced by another governor, Firuz Mirza Nusrat ad-Dawla, and was recalled to Tehran. Trusting on the rumours, Muhammad Shah also took field against the Aga Khan in command of Suhrab Khan. Instead of making an investigation, the king's militant stance had been a source of surprise to the Aga Khan. He had no other alternative but to take arms for defensive measures. The fortress of Bam near Kirman was then in the hands of the king's artillery men, who had betrayed their chief. The Aga Khan was able to occupy this fort without difficulty in September, 1937. He refused to withdraw with his forces from the citadel of Bam until the principal cause of the court intrigues followed by his dismissal was not shown to him. The Iranian empire turned a deaf ear to him. Rather, his defensive actions were branded a rebellion. Obviously, the accusations branded upon him were highly exaggerated. The Iranian chronicler, Rida Quli Khan Hidayat, for instance in 'Raudat-us-Safa'i Nasiri' (Tehran, 1922, 10th vol., p. 260) has lebelled the actions of the Aga Khan as an act of revolt. An important analyst of the fact will be able to judge how much truth there was in the biographical work, 'Ibrat-i Afza' (Tehran, 1946, p. 20) of the Aga Khan, in which he disclaimed any desire for temporal power and said: 'Through the grace of God and the blessing of my immaculate forefathers and ancestors, I am able, from the wide and lofty expanse of darwishhood, to disdain and despise all monarchy.' In sum, the Aga Khan was driven to desperate straits and had to take up arms in self-defence. He had however a large and substantial following in Iran. Had he chosen, he could have mustered a big army to shake the Qajarid throne, but he was loath to fight with the king for whom he had a regard.

The Aga Khan's dismissal from the governorship of Kirman is also occasioned by the rivalries for the headship of the Nimatullahi order in Iran. It is said that Muhammad Jafar, known as Majdhub Ali Shah (d. 1239/1823), the 38th qutb of the order was succeeded by Zain al-Abidin Shirwani, known as Mast Ali Shah (1196-1253/1782-1837). Once the Aga Khan, during Fateh Ali Shah's rule had given refuge to Mast Ali Shah in the village of Daulatabad, near Mahallat, who had escaped the violent persecution of the Shia ulema of Fars. During the coronation of Muhammad Shah, Mast Ali Shah, who had been enjoying the Aga Khan's hospitality at Mahallat, accompanied a certain Ismaili friend to Tehran. Muhammad Shah too, had certain Sufic loyalties, and joined the Nimatullahi order before his coronation. Soon afterwards, Mast Ali Shah came to know Haji Mirza Aqasi, the prime minister (sadr'i azam), as his powerful rival, who as Nimatullahi aspired to the leadership of the order. Muhammad Shah also accepted him as the qutb of the Nimatullahi order. It resulted Mast Ali Shah to incur the disfavour of the king, and was driven from the court. Since Aga Khan had continued to support his friend, Mast Ali Shah, he arose the enmity of Mirza Aqasi, who intrigued against him and caused his removal from the governorship of Kirman.

It is also said that a certain Abdul Muhammad Mahallati had demanded one of the daughters of the Aga Khan in marriage to his son, which was not accepted. Thus, Abdul Muhammad Mahallati, initially in the service of the Aga Khan, had risen to a high position in the service of Mirza Aqasi in Tehran, aroused him against the Aga Khan. In sum, Mirza Aqasi, the prime minister was responsible to have stirred up Muhammad Shah, the Qajarid king against the Aga Khan. E.G. Browne in his 'A Literary History of Persia' (London, 1930, 4th vol., pp. 147-9) also admits the bone of contention between the Aga Khan and the Iranian king due to the arrogant behaviour instigated by Mirza Aqasi, and concerning whom many ridiculous anecdotes are still current in Iran. However, kings are guided generally more by the prime ministers than by personal judgements, therefore, Mirza Aqasi being an old tutor of the king wielded more influence over him.

In the meantime, Rida Quli, the grandson of Fateh Ali Shah, had taken refuge with the British in Baghdad, reported alleged details of news to Palmerston through the British resident Col. Taylor, claiming that the Aga Khan had formed an alliance and mutual league with the people of Sistan and the army of Baluchis. This further gave weight upon the rumours to the so called rebellion of the Aga Khan.

In a letter to Viscount Falkland (1803-1884), the governor of Bombay, the Aga Khan had also disclosed on April 18, 1851 that, 'The cause of my having been blamed before was the hot disposition of Haji Mirza Aqasi who had obliged me to leave the Persian court.' According to Mohsin Saee in 'H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan's Visit to Iran 1951' (Karachi, 1953, p. 4), 'Haji Abdul Muhammad, out of treachery and meanness, poisoned the ears of some of the court ministers against Aga Hasan Ali Shah, who was ultimately constrained to migrate to India in 1841.' It must be remembered that Aga Khan III, the grandson of Aga Khan I had visited Iran in 1951 to attend the marriage of King Muhammad Reza Shah Pehlavi with Queen Sorayya, and during that occasion, the Iranian newspapers had highlighted the historical relation of the Aga Khan I with the Iranian empire, but none of them had referred to the term rebellion for the Aga Khan I. For instance, the daily 'Iqleem' of February 12, 1951 wrote: 'The wicked designs of Haji Mirza Aqasi, the then prime minister of Iran, proved an obstacle in promoting the relations of this glorious family with the royal family of Qajar. Not being inclined to perpetuate the struggle and thereby causing bloodshed, Aga Hasan Ali migrated to India.'

It is an undeniable fact beyond a least doubt that the Iran was an arena of the bigoted Shia mulla and theologians at that time, where an Ismaili Imam hardly rule the country in peace for a long time, and as such, the notion advanced by the authors that the Aga Khan I had revolted for capturing the Qajarid throne is absolutely untrue.

The animosity of the Qajarids became more and more virulent, therefore, the Aga Khan at once recalled his brother Sardar Abul Hasan Khan from Baluchistan, where he was conducting military campaigns, and his another brother Muhammad Bakir Khan from Rawar. He prepared to resist the royal forces. He was besieged 14 months at Bam, a town in the province of Kirman, about 120 miles south-east of the city of Kirman on the western edge of the great salt desert, Dasht-i Lut.

In a dispatch to Palmerston, the British minister Sir J. McNeill (1838-1841) from Tehran reported on September 28, 1837 that, 'The Aga Khan continues to hold out in the fortress of Bam, near Kerman, and had made some successful sorties against the besieging force', vide 'Correspondence Relating to Persia and Afghanistan' (London, 1839, p. 64). In January, 1938 the Aga Khan moved slightly in the south and occupied the fort of Kaheen, half way between Bam and Kirman. During the encounter, Muhammad Bakir Khan was seriously wounded and taken prisoner. On Faridun Mirza's intercession, who was then the governor of Fars, the Aga Khan emerged from the citadel of Bam, but he was arrested and his possessions had been sacked. He and his family members were transferred to the city of Kirman, where they remained for 8 months.

Thus, the Aga Khan was detained to house-arrest in Kirman, and during which time, he continued to see his followers of Badakhshan, Khorasan and India. H.B.E. Frere (1815-1884) cites an account of the Indian pilgrims in 'The Khojas: the Disciple of the Old Man of the Mountain' (MacMillan Magazine, vol. 34, 1876, p. 432) that, 'One witness in the Bombay trial gave a narrative of the pilgrimage of this kind that he made in 1836-37 to Kirman, where the Aga Khan at that time happened to be residing. The witness, his father and mother, a brother and two sisters, with a party of about 100 other Khoja pilgrims, sailed from Bombay to Bunder Abbas, a port on the Persian coast, near the outlet of the Persian Gulf. They had offerings with them, in money and rich stuffs, to the value of about 2000 sterling. They stayed some time at Bunder Abbas, waiting for other Khojas to collect them from other quarters before starting on their tedious and somewhat perilous journey of 21 days across the mountain ranges of southern Persia from Bunder Abbas to Kirman. At length, about 500 Khojas having collected from all parts at Bunder Abbas, the caravan was formed and they made their way to Kirman. There they were lodged, at the expenses of the Imam, in a large rude building, built round three sides of a great open court. They stayed in Kirman about a month or six weeks, during which period, having first made their offerings, they were admitted ten or twelve times to the presence of the Imam.' The Aga Khan, says the witness, 'sat on his musnud (seat), we beheld his face, kissed his hand, and retired.'

Ismaili History 803 - Mission in Yasin and Punial

It is recounted that an Ismaili dai, Sayed Shah Zahur, the son of Sayed Karamali Shah visited Kirman from Yasin, and reported the Imam the services rendered by his father in Yasin and Punial. The Aga Khan I granted him a sealed letter, authorizing him to continue the mission after his father. Hence, he returned to Yasin, whose ruler was Mihtar Suleman Shah. With his untiring effort and efficiency, a large number of the people embraced Ismailism in Yasin and Punial. He was followed by his son, Sayed Bakir Shah during the rule of Gohar Aman (d. 1860), who was deadly against the Ismailis. His relation with Sayed Bakir Shah was also strained, therefore, the latter had to migrate Shagnan in 1829. Sayed Bakir Shah however continued his mission in Shagnan and Yarkand. Mir Shah, the ruler of Shagnan, however, stemmed his mission and killed him and his son, Sayed Karim Hyder, known as Sayed Shah Kalan. Both had been interred in Badakhshan.

Ismaili History 804 - Mission in Gilgit and Hunza

It appears from different traditions that the virtual penetration of the Ithna Asharism in Gilgit took place around 955/1548, and we have observed hitherto that Raja Mirza Khan (1565-1600), the 7th ruler of Trakhan dynasty in Gilgit, had espoused Ithna Asharism. Later on, Mir Ayesho Khan II assumed the power and married to Shah Khatoon, the daughter of Abdal Khan of Skardu and Baltistan. Thus the matrimonial tie engendered close relation and communication between the people of Hunza and Baltistan. From the time of Mir Ayesho Khan II down to the period of Mir Saleem Khan II, the inhabitants of Gilgit and Hunza adhered to the Ithna Asharism for about 300 years. Mir Saleem Khan II is reported to have embraced Ismailism by the hands of a certain Ismaili dai of Badakhshan, called Sayed Shah Ardbil. Mir Saleem Khan however did not divulge his new faith and exercised taqiya for some political reasons until his death in 1240/1823. His son and successor, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan is said to have invited another Ismaili dai from Badakhshan, called Sayed Hussain Ardbil, the son of Sayed Shah Ardbil, so that the Ismailism could be thoroughly penetrated in Gilgit and Hunza during his period.
In 1255/1838, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan dispatched his emissary, Akhund Turab Ali to Badakhshan to bring Sayed Hussain Ardbil in this context. He also sent his vizir, Zinat Ali Shah to receive Sayed Hussain with great pomp at the outskirts of Hunza. The tradition has it that Zinat Ali Shah feted warm welcome to the Ismaili dai and became the first convert publicly. It however reprobated Akhund Turab Ali, who rushed back to Hunza quietly and aroused Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan that the ruler should be enlisted as a first convert. Thus, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan did not embrace Ismailism and restricted the missionary activities of the Ismaili dai in his region. Sayed Hussain found the atmosphere not congenial, therefore, he quietly returned to Badakhshan.

In the meantime, Sayed Yaqut Shah, the son of Sayed Shah Abdur Rahim visited Kirman to see the Aga Khan I. His ancestors had propagated Ismailism in Badakhshan for considerable period, and some of them also ruled Wakhan and Zebak. Sayed Yaqut Shah disclosed a plan of his proselytising mission in Gilgit and Hunza, which met the approval of the Imam. At length, he arrived in Hunza in 1254/1838 after passing through Herat, Kokand and the valley of Sirikol. This time, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan treated the Ismaili dai with due consideration and embraced Ismailism. He was followed by his attendants and the inhabitants of Hunza. Sayed Yaqut Shah strode a brisk mission at full swing. Since his mission was spread over the territories of Turkistan, Badakhshan and Chitral, he was unable to prolong his stay in Hunza, and after 25 days of his arrival, he returned to his native land. He had however left behind some responsible elders in each village, known as the khalifa, who imparted the cardinal principles of the Ismaili doctrine to the new converts.

Meanwhile, Sayed Ghulam Ali Shah, the son of Sayed Hussain Ardbil also arrived in Hunza and joined the mission work spread by Sayed Yaqut Shah. He was also followed by other well-known dais, such as Khwaja Shah Talib, Mirza Ismail, Khwaja Shahid, etc.

Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan died in 1281/1864 and was succeeded by his son, Mir Muhammad Ghazan Khan I, whose successor Mir Safdar Ali Khan had to take refuge in Shagnan during the British invasion in 1308/1891. The British commissioned his half-brother, Mir Muhammad Nazim Khan as the ruler of Hunza. He was followed by Mir Muhammad Ghazan Khan II and then Mir Muhammad Jamal Khan, the last Ismaili ruler of Hunza, who died in 1976. It must be known on this juncture that the entire area, including Gilgit, Hunza and Baltistan was known as Gilgit Agency till 1947. Sandwiched between the high peaks of Hindukush and Karakorum on the north and those of western Himalaya on the south, is called now the Northern Areas of Pakistan, which might also be called the Trans-Himalaya Districts of Pakistan. It covers an expanse of about 27,188 square miles, thickly populated by the Ismailis.

Ismaili History 805 - Meeting of the Aga Khan with Muhammad Shah

Meanwhile, Muhammad Shah returned from his unsuccessful campaign against Herat in 1254/1838, therefore, the Aga Khan was allowed to proceed to Tehran towards the end of 1254/1838. He presented his case before the king with innumerable evidences of his loyalty. T. MacKenzie, the British envoy, however, reported from Kharrak to the Secret Committee that, 'The Aga Khan was induced to surrender himself under solemn promises which were shamefully violated by the Persian government, and instead of being restored to his government, he was kept a prisoner at Tehran at the king's camp.' Finally, the Aga Khan was made free provided he retired peacefully to his family lands at Mahallat. It should be known that Mahallat means mahallas (quarters) of a town, which consisted of three separate villages. After a brief stay in Qumm, he did retreat to Mahallat, where he built a large fortified residential compound for his family and numerous dependents and pages.
Assured of his safety, the Aga Khan however found that he was being socially ostracised by the orders of his implacable enemy, Mirza Aqasi, and had to fight even for food. This fresh provocation embittered the situation. In the meantime, once again the cloud of rumours began to thicken in Tehran that the Aga Khan had built a palace with a huge army to extend his influence in southern Iran. It was exaggerated and ultimately took the shape of a report that the Aga Khan intended to rebel against the Qajarids. The Aga Khan, however, led a tranquil life at Mahallat for about 2 years following his dismissal from the governorship in Kirman. Early in 1256/1840, Muhammad Shah himself went to Dalijan near Mahallat on the pretence of recreation, to verify the truth of the rumours. At that time the Aga Khan was out of Mahallat for hunting. He however, sent his messenger to Mirza Aqasi, requesting for royal permission to proceed to Mecca for pilgrimage. Permission was granted and a first batch of Aga Khan's family including his mother and son were sent to Iraq. He himself then moved from Mahallat for ever in Rajab, 1256/September, 1840 with his brothers, nephews, and a number of relatives, dependents and followers.

The Aga Khan reached Yazd after leaving Mahallat. It is reported in Riach's diary of September 25, 1840 that, 'Bakhsh Ali Khan from Shiraz came to siege the Aga Khan, but he was defeated by the followers of the Aga Khan. Muhammad Shah, the king who was at that time in Ispahan, also sent two messengers to arrest the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan ordered both hands of one of them to be cut off which was done, the other by entreating mercy was not injured.' When the Aga Khan was on the borders of Kirman and Yazd, Bahman Mirza Baha ad-Dawla, the governor of Yazd, and the brother of the king, attacked with the royal force on Aga Khan's caravan, but was defeated in his incursion. Robert Grant Watson writes in 'History of Persia' (London, 1866, p. 333) that, Bahman Mirza had divided his force into three parts and thus gave an opportunity to the Aga Khan to defeat each detachment in detail. Among the first troops of Bahman Mirza, there were many who secretly held the tenents of Ismailis, the rest was that in the action which ensued, they went over in a body to Aga Khan, and their leader Isfendiar, was killed.

Several other skirmishes were also won by the Aga Khan before he arrived in Shahr-i Babak with the help of the local Ismailis. The citadel of Shahr-i Babak was in the hands of Kuhindil Khan of Kandhar, the governor of Shahr-i Babak, who had sought refuge in Iran in 1839 after the British invasion of Afghanistan. The Aga Khan, reinforced by a bulk of Ataullahi Ismailis, besieged Shahr-i Babak, forcing the Afghans to surrender.

By the end of 1840, the southern Iran had become a bed of hatching rebellions. It was however rumoured that an Iranian prince Suleman Mirza, residing at Baghdad, had arrived in Kirman to assist the Aga Khan. Even Ali Shah, the king's uncle, who was spreading his influence in the mountains of Fars, was also in contact to this effect with the Aga Khan. Muhammad Taki Khan, the chief of the Bakhtiyari tribe, and the governor of Khuzistan, also generated close ties with the Aga Khan with a view to help him against the Iranian empire. Meanwhile, Muhammad Shah failed to get his revenue in advance from Muhammad Taki Khan, and accused him of having supplied the Aga Khan with his means and resources, therefore, he was replaced by Ali Naqi Khan to the governorship. A.H. Layard, on the other hand writes in 'Early Adventures' (London, 1887, p. 322) that, when he was in the mountains, he received news that the Aga Khan was also supported by the British government. In sum, there is no foundation to believe that the Aga Khan had ever acquired aids from the rebellions of the southern Iran, or the British authority to engineer the so called rebellion against the Iranian empire. In December 31, 1841 after resuming his office in Tehran, the British agent McNeill had written to Aberdeen that, 'It may be almost unnecessary for me to add that the charges brought against the British government or its agents, of having secretly aided the Aga Khan, are without foundation, and the Persian government must have been deceived by its informants.'

Ismaili History 806 - The Aga Khan I left Iran

The Aga Khan sent his brother Muhammad Bakir to Sirjan to acquire provisions, and himself retreated to Rumni, a village near Shahr-i Babak. After four days, a message arrived from Muhammad Bakir Khan that he had been encircled in the fortress of Zaydabad at Sirjan by a large Qajarid force under the command of the beglerbegi of Kirman, Fazal Ali Khan Qarabaghi. The Aga Khan set out at once and succeeded to relieve his brother.
In 1257/1841, the Aga Khan defeated the royal forces of 4000 at the command of Isfandiyar Khan, the brother of Fazal Ali Khan near Dashtab. In the interim, Fazal Ali Khan had collected a force of 24000 to compel the Aga Khan to flee from Bam to Rigan on the border of Baluchistan and followed the Aga Khan close upon his heels like a shadow, and blockaded the way to the Bunder Abbas. The Aga Khan found himself between the horns of a dilemma on that juncture and finally decided to move to southern Khorasan to Afghanistan. Starting at Rawar, he transversed the arid Dasht-i Lut to Qain. In June, 1841 Muhammad Shah sent Abdullah Khan, the commander of his artillery from Tehran with orders to burn and demolish the towns and villages that were suspected of assisting the Aga Khan. He also sent Khan Ali Khan, the governor of Lar against the campaign. In the meantime, Habibullah Khan, the governor of Yazd also came out to fight with the Aga Khan, with eight guns and a body of troops. Thus, the Aga Khan had been embosomed on all sides by his enemies. In a battle with Khan Ali Khan, he was repulsed, and had to fly to the mountains of Baluchistan. During the night, however, the Aga Khan returned the mountain with reinforcements and surprised the troops of Khan Ali Khan in ambushing upon them at full gallop and turned them back.

Accompanied by his brothers and many soldiers and servants, the Aga Khan proceeded eastward, and after having adventured on a long perilous journey through central Iran, he crossed the borders, and arrived at Lash in Afghanistan in 1257/1841, marking an end of the longer Iranian period of Ismaili Imamate. In sum, after facing heavy odds and finding himself out-numbered, the Aga Khan I forced his way through the king's army and reached Afghanistan. Naoroji M. Dumasia writes in 'The Aga Khan and his Ancestors' (Bombay, 1939, pp. 27-28) that, 'His exile from Persia was a loss to that country, but Persia's loss was the gain of the British Empire, and his comradeship in arms with the British army cemented the ties of friendship.....The part which the Aga Khan played as an ally of the British in that disastrous war was in every way worthy of the heroic deeds of the great martyrs of Islam whose blood flowed in his veins.'

Ismaili History 807 - The Aga Khan I in Afghanistan

The British had grown to be a paramount power in India in the course of the 18th and early 19th century. About the time that the Aga Khan was having troubles in Iran, the British were deeply involved in Afghanistan, and their efforts were aimed at establishing in Kabul a rule that would be friendly to Britain, and prevent the Russian influence penetrating the borders of India, that would possibly threaten the existence of British empire. The First Anglo-Afghan War, or First Afghan War (1255/1838 to 1258/1842), which is called for heavy sacrifices and untold hardship and suffering, was undertaken partly to counter the Russian advance in Central Asia and partly to place on the throne at Kabul the dethroned ruler, Shah Shuja, in place of Dost Muhammad (1791-1863). Thus, the British occupied Afghanistan on August 7, 1839, and placed Shah Shuja (1780-1842), the amir of Sadozai tribe on the throne of Kabul and Kandhar. Sir William MacNaghten (1839-1891) was designated as the British envoy at the court of Shah Shuja.
By the end of 1840, the signs of revolts among the Durrani and Gilzay tribes became apparent against the presence of the British in Afghanistan, and the puppet rule of Shah Shuja. Yar Muhammad Khan, the ruler of Herat also contemplated an attack on Kandhar, and had sent a secret mission to the Iranian governor of Mashhad for acquiring aids to expel the British from Afghanistan. Thus, the position of the British envoy, Major Elilliott D'arcy Todd (1808-1845) became impaired in Herat in spite of the treasures he had given to the ruler. In January, 1841 Yar Muhammad demanded further money which, Major Todd knowing his intrigues, refused to pay a penny more until Yar Muhammad gave him guarantee of good conduct, such as admitting a British garrison to Herat. Yar Muhammad refused and insisted on payment of the British subsidy as usual. Thus, Todd himself withdrew from Herat on February 10, 1841, resulting the British mission to Herat ended in failure. The internal risings in Kandhar however were put down by the British commander, General Nott in consultation with Major Henry Rawlinson (1810-1895). The British position in Kandhar, nevertheless, was yet insecure.

Inside Afghanistan, the Aga Khan began to trek from Girishk to Kandhar. On August 6, 1841 the intelligence from Girishk reached Rawlinson, reporting the arrival of the Aga Khan and his hundred horsemen. Rawlinson in turn informed to MacNaghten of the Aga Khan's influence and of his importance as an Iranian refugee in Afghanistan. Henceforward, a close relation developed between the Aga Khan and the British. From Girishk, the Aga Khan had reported his arrival to Muhammad Taymur, the Birtish appointed governor of Kandhar, and also to Major Henry Rawlinson. Soon after his arrival in Kandhar, the Aga Khan sent a letter on October 21, 1841 to Sir William MacNaghten (1839-1891), the British envoy at Kabul, expressing his reasons for leaving Iran that, 'Since the conduct of the Iranian government has been so opperssive that all the respectable people and nobles of Iran, particularly those of Iraq, Fars and Kirman have been reduced to vexatious misery, the whole body of the learned men, governors and chiefs induced to throw off the yoke of the Iranian allegiance and protect the wretched people.' The Aga Khan stayed on as a guest of Muhammad Taymur at Kandhar. He lived very extravagantly in a large house with all his horsemen and servants, and received his allowances monthly from the Afghan revenues, that is 500 rupees for himself and 25 rupees for his each horseman. The number of horsemen he had brought with him was hundred, but later on the number was increased to three hundreds.

The internal revolts in Kandhar were put down by October, 1841 by Nott, in which Akram Khan, the chief of Durrani tribe was executed, resulting a disaffection among the other tribes, and a very serious outbreak took place at Kabul too in November, which gradually spread to Kandhar. The British position became critical and in the ensuing struggle, the Aga Khan as the ally of the British, was necessarily involved. Rawlinson also made use of the Aga Khan's influence among the Shiite group, to bring about the success.

In November, 1841, the eastern Gilzays broke into revolt near Kabul in protest against the reduction of their allowances, and occupied the passes on the road to Jalalabad, plundered and cut off the communications of Kabul. On November 2, the insurrection broke out in Kabul and Sir Alexander Burnes (1805-1841), MacNaghten's deputy was murdered. The British lost control of Kabul. MacNaghten tried to negotiate with the raiders, but on December 23, he was too murdered and the condition of the British at Kabul became very critical.

The insurrection spread slowly towards Kandhar. Muhammad Ata Khan was sent by the Kabul party to win the Durranis, and thereby raised an insurrection in Kandhar. To encounter this move, Rawlinson also tried to win the favour of the Durranis against the revel Barakzais. But on December 27, a force of Janbas murdered their British officer, Lieut. Colding at Kandhar. Meanwhile, Safdar Jang, a brother of Muhammad Taymur also joined the Durranis. To put down the rising, William Nott (1782-1845) on January 12, 1842 fought with the rebels and defeated them. The Aga Khan had also joined Nott and Rawlinson in the skirmish of Killashek with his 100 horsemen. One of the Aga Khan's men was killed and few others were wounded. Rawlinson, in his report on the Aga Khan mentioned, regarding the event of January 12, that, 'On this occasion, Agha Khan, having volunteered the services of his hundred men, was present and was engaged in skirmishing with the enemy.'

After two months, the rebel group near Kandhar, prepared for a big incursion under the direction of Mirza Ahmad. The British were in a difficult state. Money was scarce and so was fodder for the cattle. There were no medicines for the wounded in the camp. On March 7, 1842, Nott resolved to give a severe blow to the rebels. On this occasion, Rawlinson in consultation with Nott formed a Parsiwan troop, with the horsemen of the Aga Khan and other Shia chiefs, Nabi Khan and Mirza Ibrahim and placed altogether 300 cavalry under the command of the Aga Khan. Nott with his forces marched out of Kandhar in pursuit of the enemy and some small skirmishes took place on March 9. On the following day, Nott continued his onwards marching. Captain Neill, an eye-witness, in his book, 'Recollections' (p. 179) mentioned, 'A small body of cavalry, commanded I believe, by Meerza Ahmed, who was kept out to employ and deceive us, molested our rear for a short time; they were, however, driven back by Aga Khan, a Persian refugee Prince, who with about two hundred (it was 300) followers, had accompanied our force from Candahar, and rendered our rearguard some very valuable assistance.' Rawlinson in his report, dating December 20, 1842 to Governor General, also mentioned that the services at that time of the Aga Khan were such consequence, 'that the general thought him deserving of special notice in the report that was forwarded to the government on the occasion.' As the year 1258/1842 progressed, the state of Afghanistan still remained more critical. In July, Kandhar and Jalalabad were still under the British advanced posts, and the intervening valleys and defiles were in the hands of the Afghans.

Meanwhile, Lord Ellenborough (1841-1844), the Governor-General had arrived in India in succession to Auckland and he decided that the British troops should evacuate Afghanistan. In July, 1842 the Aga Khan too learned the evacuation programme of the British. Nott with his troops retreated via Ghazna, Kabul and Jalalabad, and the remaining troops were to return to India via Quetta and Sukkur. The charge of Kandhar was left in the hands of Safdar Beg. The Aga Khan also proposed to accompany the forces retiring to India.

Ismaili History 808 - The Aga Khan I in Sind

The Aga Khan I in SindAfter the departure of the British forces from Kandhar on August 9, 1842 for Quetta, the Aga Khan stayed on in Kandhar for about six weeks with Sardar Sherdil Khan. Rawlinson who sympathised with him, had advised him to retreat to India. Hence, the Aga Khan reached Quetta on October 5, 1842 and then went to stay with the Khan of Kalat, Mir Shahnawaz Khan for more than a month. Before he left, he had been given a letter of recommendation to Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853) by MacNaghten. By the end of November, the Aga Khan reached Sukkur and met Sir Charles Napier, who had been commissioned a general officer to the supreme civil, political and military control of both upper and lower Sind by Lord Ellenborough on August 26, 1842. In January, 1843, the Aga Khan went with Napier to the British camp at Bhiria and then to Hyderabad with his sixty horsemen. In Hyderabad, he was employed in the British service during the battles of Miami and Dubba.

Sind, about 50,000 square miles in extent, had a population of little over a million in the time of the Mirs. H.T. Lambrick writes in 'Sir Charles Napier and Sind' (London, 1952, p 14) that, 'The great majority of concurred in the opinion that Sind was crushed by the oppressive government of the Mirs, a selfish, ignorant, and bigoted despotism, delibrately calculated to prevent that development of the country which its great natural resources deserved.' During the Anglo-Afghan War, the Mirs of upper and lower Sind had allowed the British forces to pass through their territories. In 1840, James Outram was appointed as the British political agent to the Mirs of lower Sind in place of Henry Pottinger. Outram was also made political agent of upper Sind in place of Ross Bell in 1841. Sir Charles Napier held many meetings in December, 1842 and January, 1843 with the Mirs for the negotiations. However, on January 11, 1843, Napier stormed the deserted fortress of Imamgarh. The Baluchi tribes of one of the Mirs were embittered and on February 14, 1843, attakced the British residency in Hyderabad. On February 17, Napier marched with his forces on Hyderabad and defeated the Mirs of Hyderabad, Khairpur and Mirpur in the battle of Miami. The Mirs of upper and lower Sind surrendered except Mir Sher Muhammad of Mirpur. On March 26, 1843, at the battle of Dubba, Napier defeated Sher Muhammad, and the annexation of Sind to the British territories was formally announced on August, 1843. In Sind, the Aga Khan placed his cavalry at the disposal of the British, and tried to convince Nasir Khan, the then Talpur amir of Kalat, to cede Karachi to the British. Nasir Khan refused to cooperate, the Aga Khan disclosed his battle plan to James Outram. As a result, the British camp was saved from a night attack. For his valuable services, the Aga Khan was granted an annual pension of

Ismaili History 809 - The Aga Khan I in Jerruk

After the conquest of Sind in 1259/1843, the British attempted to subjugate neighbouring Baluchistan, in which the Aga Khan again helped them militarily and diplomatically. From Jerruk, where the Aga Khan was staying after February, 1843, he contacted the various Baluchi chieftains, advising them to submit to the British rule. He also sent his brother Muhammad Bakir Khan together with a number of his horsemen to help the British against Mir Sher Khan, the Baluchi amir. Soon afterwards, the Aga Khan I was given a post in Jerruk to secure the communications between Karachi and Hyderabad. Charles Napier writes in his diary on February 29, 1843 that, 'I have sent the Persian Prince Agha Khan to Jherruk, on the right bank of the Indus. His influence is great, and he will with his own followers secure our communication with Karachi. He is the lineal chief of Ismailians, who still exist as a sect and are spread all over the interior of Asia.'
H.T. Lambrick writes in 'Sir Charles Napier and Sind' (London, 1952, p. 157) that, 'Bands of Baluchis had plundered most of the wood and coal stations on the Indus, interrupted the mail route to Bombay via Cutch, and also the direct road to Karachi, whence supplies and artillery had been ordered up. With a view to reopening communications with Karachi, Sir Charles sent the Agha Khan to take post at Jherruk with his followers, some 130 horsemen.' On March 23, 1843, the Aga Khan and his horsemen were attacked by the Jam and Jokia Baluchis, who killed some 70 to 72 of his followers, and plundered 23 lacs of rupees worth of the Aga Khan's property. Napier, in April and May, 1843, sent warnings to the Jam and Jokia Baluchis, asking to return the plunder of the Aga Khan and surrender. In May, 1843, Napier ordered his commander at Karachi to attack and recover the property of the Aga Khan, which was done.

The encounter of Jerruk had been equated by the Aga Khan I, according to the native informations, with that of the event of Karbala. In Jerruk, some 70 to 72 Ismaili fidais had sacrificed their lives in fighting with the enemies of their Imam, and their dead bodies were buried on that spot. According to the report of 'Sind Observer' (Karachi, April 3, 1949), 'Seventy dead bodies of Khojas buried 107 years ago at Imam Bara in Jherruck town, 94 miles by road north-east of Karachi, were found to be fresh on being exhumed recently in the course of digging the foundation for a new mosque for the locality, a Sind government official disclosed on Saturday. The bodies which lay in a common grave were again interred another site selected for the mosque. The Khojas were believed to have been murdered in a local feud 107 years ago according to local tradition in Jherruck.'

It was with the approval of the British government that in 1260/1844, the Aga Khan sent Muhammad Bakir Khan to capture the fortress of Bampur in Iranian Baluchistan. Later, he also sent his other brother, Sardar Abul Hasan Khan, who finally occupied Bampur and won other successes in Baluchistan, while Muhammad Bakir had been relieved to join the Aga Khan in India.

The Aga Khan built his residence at Jerruk, resembling the style that of the Mahallat. Jerruk, a town about 89 miles and 2 furlongs from Karachi via Gharo, Thatta and Soonda; is 150 feet high from the Indus level, having two hills blanketing the town from two sides. About 300 to 350 Ismailis lived in Jerruk, and the Aga Khan I made it his headquarters.

Meanwhile, the Aga Khan quitted Jerruk, and proceeded to Kutchh via the port of Karachi on Ramdan, 1260/October, 1844, which was his first marine trip. Maharao Shri Deshalji, the ruler of Kutchh feted him with due consideration at Kutchh Mandvi, and took him to Bhuj and gave him a state bungalow for his stay. The Aga Khan then moved to Kathiawar, where Jam Saheb Shri Ranmalji received him in Jamnagar. For a year, thereafter, he travelled through Kathiawar and came to Bombay via Surat and Daman on December 16, 1845 and was well received with the cordial homage of the whole Ismaili population of the city and its neighbourhood.

Ismaili History 810 - The Aga Khan I in Calcutta

Soon after his arrival in Bombay, the Iranian government demanded Aga Khan's extradition from India, citing the Anglo-Persian Treaty negotiated between Iran and India on November 25, 1814, which reads: 'Should any Persian subject of distinction showing signs of hostility and rebellion take refuge in the British Dominions, the English Government shall, on intimation from the Persian Government, turn him out of their country, or, if he refuses to leave it, shall seize and send him to Persia.' The British India was placed on the horns of a dilemma. It could not, on the one hand, risk a breach of the friendly relation established with Iran, and on the other, surrender to his enemies one who regardless of personal losses and risk of life, had stood by the British as a faithful ally in their greatest hour of trial. At length, however, through the intervention of the British envoy, it was agreed that the Aga Khan should be allowed to remain in India provided he stayed at Calcutta from where he could not be a menace to the Iranian government as from Sind. The government of India wrote to Superintendent of Mysore Princes and ex-Amirs of Sind, a letter which reads:- 'It having been determined upon political considerations that the Persian nobleman Aga Khan Mahallati, shall be required to reside for the present in Bengal. I am directed to inform you that the President in Council considers that it will be expedient to fix the Aga's residence in the vicinity of Calcutta and to place him under your care. Aga Khan of Mahallati is a nobleman of high rank and allied to the royal family of Persia. He is in the receipt of an allowance of Rs. 3000 per mensem from the British government for services rendered in Afghanistan and in Sind.'Thus, the Aga Khan was naturally reluctant to go to Calcutta on April 19, 1847 with his 52 followers. After crossing Poona, Ahmadnagar and Khandesh, he reached Indore on June 1, 1847. The British railway had not yet come to India and the journey from Bombay to Indore was overland. The Aga Khan's men suffered terribly; three died on the way to Indore. Seven arrived at Indore with severe fever and two died there. The Aga Khan also underwent an eye operation at Indore, and left it on June 18, 1847 for Agra, where he procured boats for Calcutta, and reached there some time in August.

Sir Orfeur Cavenagh (1821-1891) had arranged for a house at Dumdum (where the city's airport is now) in Calcutta under the care of Bengal Presidency. The Aga Khan I was however in a new city surrounded by strangers. In June, 1848, the Aga Khan I fell ill, and was sent to hill station, and in July, the residence of the Aga Khan was shifted to Chinsurah in Calcutta. He had to stay in Calcutta for 18 months until the death of Muhammad Shah in 1264/1848. He learnt of this after one month, and immediately approached Maddock, that he should be allowed to return to Iran. The reason for enforcing his detention was now virtually at end. The Aga Khan I desired to be furnished with facilities to return to Bombay. On December 6, 1848, the Indian Government agreed to send the Aga Khan to Bombay. He quitted Calcutta on December 8, 1848 with his wife and a suite of 40 retainers, in the Peninsular and Oriental Steamer, Lady Mary Wood, which sailed from Calcutta and reached Bombay on December 26, 1848.

Ismaili History 811 - The Syrian Ismailis

In the meantime, Amir Ismail bin Ahmad of Kadmus, the local Ismaili leader in Syria, had been permitted by the Ottoman authorities to settle permanently with his people in an area east of the Orontes river. These arrangements were evidently confirmed by a decree of Sultan Abdul Majid I (1255-1277/1839-1861), dated Shaban, 1265/July, 1849. Amir Ismail bin Muhammad chose the ruins of Salamia as the site of his new Ismaili settlement. In 1266/1850, the Ottomans granted a further favour to the Ismaili settlers and exempted them from military conscription and taxation. An increasing number of Ismailis from the western mountains gradually joined the original settlers in Salamia, attracted by the prospect of receiving free land in a district where they would furthermore be neither taxed nor conscripted. By 1277/1861, it had become a large village.

Ismaili History 812 - Permanent Residency of the Aga Khan I

On arriving in Bombay, the British made a fresh effort to win permission for his return to Iran, while the Aga Khan had also written a letter about it to the new Iranian king, Nasiruddin Shah's chief minister, Amir Kabir, who proved less responsive than his predecessor, insisting that the Aga Khan would be arrested at the borders as a fugitive. After the execution of Amir Kabir in 1268/1852, the Aga Khan made a final plea to return to his homeland, and sent Nasiruddin Shah an elephant and a giraffe as gifts. He also sent gifts to Amir Kabir's successor, Mirza Aqa Khan Nuri, who was a personal friend of the Aga Khan. Some of the Aga Khan's family estates in Iran were then restored to the control of his relative, but the new minister was unable to arrange for his return. Meanwhile, the Bombay Government approached the Aga Khan to get a definite answer regarding his stay. On September, 1850, the deputy Secretary in the Iranian Department of Bombay personally asked the Aga Khan, who stated that he was willing to stay in Bombay. The members of the India Board also approved it on January 22, 1851. In April 17, 1851, the Bombay Government apprized the Aga Khan of the decision of the court directors. The Aga Khan on April 18, 1851 wrote a letter to Bombay Government, expressing his gratitude.
In India, the Aga Khan retained his close relation with the British empire. On a rare occasion, the Aga Khan was visited in his Bombay home, the Aga Hall, by the Duke of Edinburgh, the future king Edward VII (1901-1910), as Prince of Wales, during a state visit to India, and held a long talk with him. The two sat in front of a portrait of Shah Fateh Ali, the emperor of Iran, whose daughter the Aga Khan had married. The Prince of Wales inspected the Aga Khan's cups won on the Indian turf and his son's trophies of the Indian chase, and talked over some of the events of a life as varied and adventurous as that of the Aga Khan's ancestor, who seven centuries ago wrote to Leopold, Duke of Austria, urging the release of Richard Coeur de Lion, then a prisoner in the hands of Leopold at the time of the Crusades. In sum, it was an honour which, with the exception of the leading ruling princes, was accorded to no other nobleman and was acknowledged of his princely birth and the admirable services he had rendered to the British government. Writing on the historic visit, Sir Bartle Frere said, 'There can be little doubt that the visit has been described and discussed in many a meeting of the Aga Khan's followers in India, Persia and Arabia - on the remote shores of Eastern Africa, and in still more inaccessible valleys of Central Asia, and it will doubtless find a place in the annals of this singular sect for many centuries to come.'

The Aga Khan thus received government protection in British India as the spiritual head of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, which solidified his position and helped him in the exercise of his authority. During three decades of residency in Bombay, he exerted a great deal of direct control over the Ismaili community, and organised the community more progressive under the network of leaders and officers.

Kutchh in the meantime, reported to have gripped in a dust bowl, followed by a terrible famine, and as a result, a retinue of ten thousand Ismailis tracked down in Sind. On the instructions of Governor General, Sir Charles Napier granted them permission to settle down at Mullah Khatiar (Matli), and most of the Ismailis also migrated to Karachi.

Ismaili History 813 - Sayeda Imam Begum

Bibi Tahira, commonly known as Sayeda Imam Begum was the last known member of the Kadiwal family during the period under review in India. She was born most probably on 1199/1785 in Kera, Kutchh. She made her first public appearance when Bibi Sarcar Mata Salamat (1744-1832) visited India in 1245/1829 and is reported to have joined her from Karachi to Jerruk and Bombay. Sayeda Imam Begum at length chose to settle in Bombay in 1246/1830. She used to organise the gathering of the Ismaili women in the jamatkhanas to discuss on the ginans. She also visited Kutchh and Sind around 1253/1837 and resided at Karachi. She is also reported to have visited Bombay in 1257/1841 and had an audience of the Aga Khan I in 1261/1845. It is recounted that she again came to Karachi in 1276/1860, where she died in 1282/1866. Sayeda Imam Begum was famous for her piety and learning and composed many ginans, and was the last among the ginan composers in India. For further detail, vide 'Sayyida Bibi Imam Begum' ('Hidayat', Karachi, July, 1989, pp. 16-21) by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin S. Ali.

Ismaili History 814 - The Aga Khan Case - 1866

The Aga Khan I had to face periodical troubles from certain dissident members of his community. In 1243/1827, while the Aga Khan was in Iran, a group led by Habib Ibrahim in Bombay refused to pay tithe and forced others to do so. The leaders of the Bombay jamat made a report to the Aga Khan in Iran about it at the end of 1244/1828. The Aga Khan, in order to overcome this opposition, sent to Bombay as his agent, Mirza Abul Kassim, who was accompanied by the Aga Khan's mother, Bibi Sarcar Mata Salamat (1744-1832) in 1245/1829. It was in the course of these proceedings that Mirza Abul Kassim filed a suit on behalf of the Aga Khan against the dissidents in Bombay High Court. The suit, however, was not processed and withdrawn on July 22, 1830. The recusants were summoned in the jamatkhana, which proved no responsive, and as such, Habib Ibrahim and eleven other persons had been outcast from the community in 1246/1830, who were then known as Bar Bhai (twelve brethren). After five years, in 1251/1835, they were re-admitted conditionally, who had however laid a root of a dissident group.
The Aga Khan arrived in Bombay on December 16, 1845. He had to leave Bombay for Calcutta, and returned to Bombay on December 26, 1848. Consequently, the Aga Khan's absence for 18 months emboldened the dissident gang to engineer propaganda against him. When the Aga Khan was yet in Calcutta, a fresh litigatiion, known as Sajan Mehr Ali Case was carried in 1263/1847, in which the question of the rights of female inheritance among the Ismailis was brought before the Supreme Court of Bombay. Sir Erskine Perry (1821-1893), the Chief Justice presided over the Khoja Inheritance Case of a certain Hirbai and Sonabai. In this case, the Aga Khan was represented by his brother, Muhammad Bakir Khan (d. 1296/1879), who endeavoured to uphold the rule of inheritance according to the Holy Koran. The dissident group, Bar Bhai was active in supporting the argument of the defendant. This case led to fresh feuds among the community. The Bar Bhai group began to broadcast aggressive propaganda against the Aga Khan, and in view of their unwillingness to acknowledge the Aga Khan's spiritual authority, they had been ex-communicated in 1264/1848. Henceforward, the basic issue of the tithe originated in 1243/1827 became submerged by the petty quibbles. The other issues challenged the Aga Khan's authority, and claimed themselves as the Sunni Khojas, stressing that the Ismaili Khojas had been Sunnis since their conversion to Islam by Pir Sadruddin. They also built their own separate prayer-hall and grave-yard in 1266/1850.

On November 13, 1850, a tragic event arose between the Ismailis and the Sunni Khojas in the prayer-hall in Bombay. On the last day of the commemoration of Muharram, four Sunni Khojas were killed, 19 of the Ismailis were tried in the criminal court and four were hanged on December 18, 1850.

On October 20, 1861, when the dissenting Khojas publicly joined the Sunni fold, the Aga Khan issued a decree in which he expressed his desire to bring the Ismailis to conform to the practices of the Shia Imami Ismaili creed of his holy ancestors, regarding marriage ceremonies, ablutions, funeral rites etc. The decree ended thus, 'He who may be willing to obey my orders shall write his name in this book that I may know him.' Copies of the decree were kept at the house of the Aga Khan's son in Bombay for signatures and were circulated in Sind, Kathiawar, Kutchh and Zanzibar. Except for a handful persons in Bombay and Kathiawar, an almost unanimous acceptance was received from the Ismailis. The loyalty of the Ismailis for their Imam can be gauged from the reaction of the Bhuj jamat at Kutchh, who sent a letter dated January 2, 1862 in reply to the communication sent by the plaintiffs as illustrated by E.I. Howard to the Hon'ble Court. It reads: 'We are upon the right side, but should His Lordship Aga Khan ask for the signatures, we are ready to give thousand times a day. Whatever order comes from him, we are bound to obey.' Observing the above letter, Justice Sir Joseph Arnold (1814-1886) remarked: 'This is a very decided letter; at any rate, there can be no mistake about that.' (cf. 'The Shia School of Islam and its Branches', Bombay, 1906, p. 93).

In the meantime, Mukhi Alarakhia Sumar and Kamadia Khaki Padamsi (d.1877) called a meeting in Bombay Jamatkhana on August 16, 1862. Habib Ibrahim and his son Ahmad Ibrahim and few others were also summoned, but none of them attended the meeting. Thus, a notice of 21 days was served to them, effective from August 23, 1862 but of no avail. At length, they all had been expelled from the Khoja Ismaili community for ever.

The seceders formed a group, called The Reformers' Society, who refused to acknowledge the Aga Khan as their religious head and tried to withhold from his properties dedicated to him by his followers, and finally filed a suit in April, 1866 against the Aga Khan in the Bombay High Court. This case, generally known as The Aga Khan Case or The Khoja Case was heard by Sir Joseph Arnold (1814-1886). The Plaintiff of the case were Daya Mahomad, Mahomad Saya, Peer Mahomad Kassim and Fazal Ghulam Hussain with H.M's Advocate General as nominal complainant. The Defendants were the Aga Khan I, Mukhi Alarakhia Sumar, Kamadia Khaki Padamsi, Mahomad Peer Bhai, Nur Mahomad Rajpal, Ali Bhai Jan, Habib Ibrahim, Muraj Premji, Dharamsi Punja, Aasu Gangji, Dossa Ladak, Nanji Alloo and Mahomad Yousuf Murgay, Qadi of the Mahomadans of the Town and island of Bombay. The court's proceedings lasted for 25 days after which the Judge settled down to examine and study the mountain of evidences and seek enlightenment in history. Sir Joseph Arnold had indeed a hard task sifting the evidence, separating facts from a lot of legal chaff. On November 21, 1866, Justice Arnold rendered a detailed verdict against the plaintiffs. The result was a lengthy and well argued judgment which decided, once for all, that the Khoja community 'is a sect of people whose ancestors were Hindu in original, which was converted to, and has throughout abided in, the faith of the Shia Imami Ismailis, which has always been and still is bound by ties of spiritual allegiance to the hereditary Imams of Ismailis.' This judgement unequivocally confirmed the Aga Khan as the spiritual head of the Khoja Ismaili community and legally established the Islamic root and identity of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

During the Aga Khan case at Bombay, some eminent Ismailis had rendered valuable services to the community in all affairs, the most prominent among them were Ismail Kherraj, Sharif Gangji, Mukhi Alarakhia Sumar, Kamadia Khaki Padamsi etc. The Aga Khan I recognised them as Ismaili fidais and Ismaili soldiers. They were known as the Panje Bhai (one who shakes hand) to distinguish them from the Bar Bhai (twelve brethren) and originated the tradition of Panje Bhai Club in the community.

The Aga Khan I seems to have left behind his memoirs in Persian, entitled 'Ibrat-i Afza', relating to the events of the youth and his encounters with the Qajarid regime in Iran, also covering his migration to Afghanistan and then to India down to the period of 12th Safar, 1262/January 29, 1846. According to W.Ivanow (1886-1970), it was actually written on behalf of the Aga Khan I by Mirza Ahmad Wiqar Shirazi (1820-1881), the son of the famous poet Visal (d. 1262/1846), who stayed briefly with the Aga Khan in Bombay in 1266/1850. It was lithographed in Bombay in 1278/1862, and reprinted with the numerous typographical errors by Bawa Nazar Ali Karimdad, who got its translation into Urdu, and made its Gujrati translation in 1281/1865. The unedited Persian text was published by Hussain Kuhi Kirmani at Tehran on 1325/1946, and was also published in 'Aga Khan Mahallati wa firqa'i Ismailia'by M. Sa'i in Tehran in 1329/1950. Hence, the originality of the book seems to have been completely lost due to the alterations made by the partisans of Nimatullahi order, and the accessible printed copies attributed of being a genuine work of the Aga Khan I is the remotest.

The fact that the Aga Khan I had a large following outside India was brought to light by Sir Thomas Douglas Forsyth (1827-1886) in 'Report on a Mission to Yarkand, Calcutta, 1875', who in the time of Lord Richard Southwell Bourke Mayo (1822-1872), had led a deputation from Lahore to Yarkand in 1869, and he was also sent to the mission of Kashgar in 1873. The members of Sir Douglas Forsyth's mission ascertained that these Ismailis formed the whole of the sparse population in many of the valleys leading down from the Pamir, the elevated 'roof of the world', on the banks of the higher Oxus, and its affuents - in Chitral, Gilgit, and in remote valleys between Kafristan and Badakhshan.

The Aga Khan I spent his final years peacefully in Bombay, with seasonal stay in Poona, and sometime in Banglore. While on visits to Banglore, he had formed a friendship with the then ruler of Travancore, and subsequently represented that important state in Bombay. He used to visit the Indian communities all over India. He invariably attended the Jamatkhana every morning at Bombay and lectured on the moral and religious precepts they should follow. He used to recite some passages of the Holy Koran in Arabic and then explain them in Persian. Next to him would stand a man who understood Persian but also knew Sindhi, who would translate the Imam's words into Sindhi. With a taste for oriental splendour, he established an imposing residence on Malabar Hill overlooking the sea and installed his family in equally sumptuous houses around him. The affairs of the community were conducted from Aga Hall, a magnificent palace with separate library and staff quarters, set in fine parkland and enclosed by a high wall.

Apart from his three wives, four sons and six daughters, the Aga Khan I also looked after a thousand or more relatives and retainers who had come with him from Iran. His elder son was Aqa Ali Shah, who succeeded him. The second son was Aga Jhangi Shah (d. 1314/1896), whose sons were Zayn al-Abidin Shah, Shamsuddin Shah and Shah Abbas; and Haji Bibi and Shahzadi Begum were his daughters. The third son of the Aga Khan I was Aga Jalal Shah (d. 1288/1871), who had two sons, viz. Muchul Shah and Kuchuk Shah, and two daughters, Shah Bibi and Malek Taj Begum. Akbar Shah (d. 1322/1905) was the fourth son, whose two sons were Shah Rukh Shah and Furukh Shah.

The Aga Khan I died in the night of April 12, 1881. He was buried at Hasanabad on Mount Road, Mazagon, on the site of the Eden Hall, where a splendid mausoleum was built at the cost of rupees three lacs. His funeral was attended by thousands of the Indians and Europeans, and all the communities, including the Consuls for Iran and Turkey and high officials of the government. The Aga Khan I was succeeded by his son, Aqa Ali Shah, the Aga Khan II.

His wife Sarv-i Jahan Begum, the daughter of Shah Fateh Ali also died in the following year at Bombay.

Ismaili History 815 - AQA ALI SHAH AGA KHAN II (1298-1302/1881-1885)

Aqa Ali Shah, His Highness Aga Khan II was born in 1246/1830 at Mahallat, where he spent the first decade of his age. In the outset of 1256/1840, Aqa Ali Shah had been taken to Iraq, where he stayed a few years with his mother. Under the instruction of Iranian and Arab teachers, eminent for their piety and learning, he had been taught the oriental languages, and he achieved a reputation as an authority on Persian and Arabic literature, as a student of metaphysics and as an exponent of religious philosophy. He mostly spent his time at Baghdad and Karbala in hunting expeditions with the Iranian princes, notably in compnay with Zill al-Sultan, the eldest son of Shah Fateh Ali, who ruled for forty days in Iran.
During the late 1256/1840, Aqa Ali Shah had been permitted by the Qajarid regime to take up temporary residence in Iran. His first marriage actualized with Marium Sultana in Iraq, which had been opposed by certain local ulema, but the Aga Khan's close friend, called Safi Ali Shah (d. 1316/1898) had made the marriage possible after winning the approval of the ulema. From Karbala they had gone to Baghdad where they had a friendly meeting with Major Henry Rawlinson (1810-1895), the then British political agent in Turkish Arabia. He decided to take the Aga Khan's family under his protection.

Aqa Ali Shah and his mother Sarv-i Jahan Khanum (d. 1299/1882) and his wife Marium Sultana, joined Hasan Ali Shah Aga Khan I in Bombay in 1268/1852. The old book of Bombay Jamatkhana records an entry that he attended the marriage of a certain Ismaili on June 17, 1852 at Bombay and was given a cash prize. Henceforward, Aqa Ali Shah regularly visited different Ismaili communities in Sind, Kutchh and Kathiawar, and lived for some time in Karachi. He had been appointed a member of the Commission in 1874 which was constituted to submit proposals for amendments of law relating to the Ismaili community.

On succeeding to the Imamate in 1298/1881, Aqa Ali Shah Aga Khan II maintained the friendly relation with the British India that had been cemented by his father. He was granted the title of His Highness by the British government, which was officially informed to him by the then governor of Bombay on August 9, 1882 on behalf of the Governor General.

The Qajarid king of Iran, Nasiruddin Shah (d. 1313/1896) had sent a message of condolence and sympathy to the Aga Khan II on the occasion of his father's death. Later on, a robe of honour and the emblem of Iranian crown studded with diamonds were sent by the king to the Aga Khan in Bombay as a sign of his relationsip with the Aga Khan's family.

He was appointed to the Bombay Imperial Legislative Council from 1880 to 1885, when Sir James Fergusson (1808-1886) was the governor of Bombay. According to Naoroji M. Dumasia in 'The Aga Khan and his Ancestors' (Bombay, 1939, p. 61), 'The nomination to the Council in those days was a rare distinction bestowed only on men of outstanding ability and high social position.' He discharged his responsibilities and onerous duties in a manner which drew admiration of all. He was also the President of Mohammadan National Association at Bombay, and an honorary patron of the Western India Turf Club.

During Lord Ripon's regime a peculiar case arose in 1882, when Sir Courtney Ilbert framed and introduced a Bill, known as Ilber Bill. It intended to invest district magistrates and sessions judges with a limited jurisdiction to try European British subjects, and to empower local government to extend the powers to other officials of certain specified classes. The Ilbert Bill was opposed by the Indians, and a public meeting was held on August 27, 1883, with the participation of the Aga Khan II and other eminent persons. In the history of the nation-building of India, this meeting on the Ilbert Bill was justly regarded as most important, and indeed an epoch making event. In its resolution, a body of distinguished citizens was made in a deputation to Sir C. Baring to present the public opinions. This deputation included the Aga Khan II, Badruddin Tyab Ali (1844-1906), Feroz Shah, Telang, Mandlik, Sir Mangaldas Nathubhai and Premchand Roychand. The storm round the Bill however continued, and at length, the Bill had been amended and was passed on January 25, 1884.

He was also well concerned about the welfare of the Ismailis in India, and assisted the needy followers in Sind, Kutchh and Kathiawar. Recalling the events of his childhood, his son and successor the Aga Khan III once said: 'My first recollection is of camping in tents and of travelling with my father. We went through Kutchh, Kathiawar and Sind, and I can never forget the memories of those days when we had to halt every two or three hours in order not to tire the horses and mules and donkeys and camels that carried our luggage. Now, looking back, it seems to me that we led the life of gipsies; we were almost a gipsy family. We carried our food about, as very often we could not get it at the places through which we passed. Even water for drinking was brought, sometimes from Bombay or Karachi, in the form of soda water.'

Ismaili History 816 - The first Khoja Ismaili School

It seems that the British Parliament almost lost the interest in Indian education between 1854 and 1902, and as a result, the education could not secure liberal and ever-increasing grant. In 1882, however, the Indian Education Commission was appointed by the orders of the Central Government, but it procured no sound result. The population of British India was about 200 million in 1882, in which at 15% the number of school-going children was hardly 300 lacs. It is also remarkable that in 1882, only 1.17% of funds were used by the Municipalities of Bombay from its income. Thus, the Aga Khan II came forward to open The Khoja Ismaili School for the first time at Bombay and elsewhere in 1882. It was perhaps a veritable beginning of a renaissance in Indian Ismaili community, whose tradition is continued upto now in the world.
The Aga Khan II also generated his close contact with the Ismaili communities in Upper Oxus districts, Badakhshan, Samarkand, Burma and East Africa. The growing prosperity of the Ismailis and his own towering position, earned his prestige among the Muslim population of India. He promoted educational and philanthropic institutions for the Indian Muslims with the cooperation of a certain Rahimtullah Muhammad Sayani, a most enlightened member of the community. He spared no pains in raising the social status of his followers. Destitute members of the community received generous help from time to time at his hands.

It must be remembered on this juncture that Abdul Hadi bin Abdul Attash (1320-1383), whose kunya was Jamiyal Shah with the titles, Aqa and Datar, known as Aqa Jamiyal Shah Datar, was an eminent Sufi saint in India. He mostly preached the Hindus in Girnar at Junagadh. He is said to have retired in the mountain of Girnar, known as the 'Mount Datar' (datar'no pahad). He converted a large number of the Hindus of the Aghori tribe. His shrine is located in Junagadh, which is visited by the Muslims and Hindus. It is said that a group of the Ismailis also venerated the saint and visited his shrine. During his visit to Junagadh in 1882 after assuming the Imamate, the Aga Khan II had warned his followers not to visit the shrine of Jamiyal Shah, saying that there was no Aqa (Lord) and Datar (Bestower) on earth except the Imam of the Age. Since then, the Aga Khan II is also called as Aqa Ali Shah Datar (Lord Ali Shah, the Bestower) in the Ismaili orbits.

The Aga Khan II used to visit interior Sind, notably in district Thatta. He liked the climate of Karachi, where he lived in Honeymoon Lodge, lying on the hill near the railway workshop, called Honeymoon Hall. It was bought by the British India in 1859 on the account of the Kolahpur State as a residence for Cheema Saheb, the former Raja of Kolahpur. The government sold it to Mr. Noonan in 1860, and he afterwards sold it to the Aga Khan I, who used it as his residence, known as tekari (hill). After his marriage with Lady Ali Shah in 1867, the Aga Khan II moved to Karachi most probably in 1871-72, where his son and successor was born in 1877. The Aga Khan also built a palace for his another residence at Karachi in garden zone, known as pir'ji wadi (the fertile tract of the pir), which was converted to Aga Khan Gymkhana in 1940 by the Aga Khan III. The palace faced the park, then known as Government Garden, and later it came to be known as Mahatama Gandhi Garden. He sought permission from Heavy Napier Bruce Erskine, the Commissioner in Sind (1879 to 1887) to build a gate of the park in 1882. The Aga Khan II bore its cost, where an existing plate indicates the donation of the space for the gate by him.

Like his father, the Aga Khan II was closely associated with the Nimatullahi Sufi order. Before going to India, he had generated close ties with Rahmat Ali Shah, the head of the Nimatullahis, who had been the guest of the Aga Khan I in Mahallat in 1249/1833. Subsequently, the Aga Khan II maintained his relation with Rehmat Ali Shah (d. 1278/1861). He also maintained relations with Munawwar Ali Shah (d. 1301/1884), the uncle and the successor of Rehmat Ali Shah. The Aga Khan II also entertained several notable Iranian Nimatullahis in Bombay, including Rehmat Ali's son, Muhammad Masum Shirazi, Naib al-Sadr (d. 1344/1926), the author of the 'Tara'iq al-Haqa'iq', who visited Bombay in 1298/1881 and stayed with the Aga Khan for one year. Safi Ali Shah (d. 1316/1898), an eminent Nimatullahi also enjoyed the Aga Khan's hospitality in 1280/1863.

The Aga Khan II had wedded with Marium Sultana in Iraq, who died at Bombay after leaving behind two sons, Pir Shihabuddin Shah (1268-1302/1851-1885) and Aga Nur Shah (1272-1302/1855-1885). These two sons had been brought up in Hasanabad at Bombay. Aga Nur Shah, aged 30 years, was a good sportsman. He once fell down from his horse while riding, and sustained serious injuries, which proved fatal, and his death took place three months before the death of his elder brother. The Aga Khan II had appointed his elder son, Pir Shihabuddin Shah as a pir on 1299/1882. He was a learned scholar, a good philosopher, and is best known for his piety. He died at the age of 33 years on December 15, 1885 due to chest disease at Poona, and was buried at Karbala. 'On the day he heard of the death of my elder half-brother, Aga Shihabuddin Shah,' says the Aga Khan III while recollecting his memory of childhood, 'my father was terribly shaken and , though he tried to hold his own, as a man in his position would do, so great was his grief that I think it led to his early death a few weeks later. I honestly believe that it was the death of my two half-brothers that brought about my father's end when he was apparently in good health.' For his further biography, the readers may refer 'Pir Shahabu'd-Din Shah al-Husayni' (cf. 'The Great Ismaili Heroes', Karachi, 1973, pp. 100-1) by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin Sadik Ali.

The second wife of the Aga Khan II belonged to a Shirazi family, and after her death, the third marriage was solemnised with Shamsul Mulk Lady Ali Shah, the mother of the Aga Khan III.

The Aga Khan II was a skillful rider and great sportsman. He was very fond of hunting, but never made use of shelters in the hunting field for big game. Standing exposed to danger he took a sure and steady aim at wild animals. In this way he had bagged no less than forty tigers.

Ismaili History 817 - Death of the Aga Khan II

He died on August 17, 1885 of pneumonia contracted in a day's hunting near Poona. Writing the causes of the death of the Aga Khan II, his son and successor states in 'The Memoirs of the Aga Khan' (London, 1954, p. 11) that, 'My father's death was occasioned not by any mishap when he was out after tiger, but by a long day's water-fowling near Poona in August 1885. There were several hours' heavy rain, the going underfoot was heavy and wet, and my father was soaked to the skin. He caught a severe chill which turned swiftly and fatally to pneumonia. He was dead eight days later.'

Ismaili History 818 - Interment in Najaf

The body of the Aga Khan II was brought to Bombay by train and shipped for interment in Najaf. Mukhi Kassim Musa (d. 1314/1896), the then estate agent, was entrusted its responsibilities from Bombay to Najaf. He left behind a very important description of 25 days' journey, and his manuscript was copied by Itmadi Hussain Ali Kassim Ali Javeri of Surat. The narrator describes that the ship Mobalo of the Persian Navigation Co. carrying the coffin of the Aga Khan, sailed from Bombay on October 28, 1885 with 50 persons belonging to Aga Khan's family headed by Mukhi Kassim Musa and Nur Muhammad Ratansi. The ship anchored at Karachi, Gwadar, Port Abbas, Linga, Bushire and Basra. The caravan proceeded from Basra to Kazamain by a steamboat. The Turkish authority issued a special order that the bier must be accorded royal salute and honour at the port of Kazamain, and accordingly, about 500 soldiers paid tribute with musket shootings. Tajmah, the Aga Khan's sister had also come at the port with her people. The Iranian ambassador of Baghdad also attended with his staff. The processional crowd of over 15 thousand people trudged with the bier, and pursued the road leading to Karbala. A huge multitude of people flocked from the opposite side and joined the procession at a distance of five miles from Karbala. The narrator writes that the bier began to sail as if a vessel on the heads of the people. Prince Amyn, the nephew of the Aga Khan also joined with his sons in Karbala. The narrator describes that he had seen a school in Karbala, conducted with the funds of the Aga Khan for the education of the poor Sayed children, who got free scholarship and provision. The students and other people of Iraq also joined the procession. They alighted at Karbala for seven days, and the bier was placed in the shrine of Hazrat Abbas, then of Imam Hussain and finally it was carried to the courtyard of the tomb of Aga Khan's son, Aga Nur Shah, where the funeral service was offered. Thence, the caravan proceeded for Najaf, accompanied by a thousand people and 300 Turkish soldiers. Tajmah, the father-in-law of Pir Shihabuddin Shah, the people of Sayed Jawad Mutawali and Aga Mustapha Khan also joined the caravan. When they alighted at the vicinity of Najaf, a huge crowd dashed all of a sudden to receive the bier alongwith the guardians and Mujtahid of Najaf. The funeral rites were offered at the outskirts of Najaf. The narrator mentions that the whole business and transaction in Najaf were totally closed, where the multitude was more than that of Karbala. The bier was placed in the vault of Pir Shihabuddin Shah's shrine, and afterwards was buried with great honour. Writing about the shirne of the Aga Khan, the narrator adds that it had been built in advance. It was walled by the Chinese moulds with golden grating and a dome. The local cupolas and chandelier were hung in the middle, and the floor was fully matted with the Iranian carpets. It resembled the shrine of Imam Hussain and surmounted by an elegant workmanship. The narrator also describes the shrine of Hazrat Ali and its workmanship. He also describes a list of the graves of Aga Khan's relatives, such as Bibi Sarcar Mata Salamat, Shah Abul Hasan Shah, Imam Shah Khalilullah Ali, Aga Shuja, the brother of the Aga Khan, Pir Shihabuddin Shah and his mother and Sardar Aga Abul Hasan Shah etc. Mukhi Kassim Musa concludes his travel-account in these words: 'We tarried for 25 days in Najaf and made secret charity of the bags of gold and silver coins in the name of Aga Ali Shah. About 30,000 townsfolk were repasted on the last day. Rs.70,000 incurred from Bombay to Najaf, and we returned after a voyage of 25 days.'

Ismaili History 819 - Shamsul Mulk Lady Ali Shah

Shamsul Mulk, the daughter of Mirza Ali Muhammad Nizam ad-Dawla, the grandson of Muhammad Hussain Khan Ispahani, the Prime Minister of Shah Fateh Ali Qajar (d. 1250/1834) of Iran; was born in Ispahan. Khurshid Kulah, the mother of Shamsul Mulk was the daughter of Shah Fateh Ali through one of his queens, Taj ad-Dawla Ispahani by name. Lady Ali Shah was thus related to the Iranian royal family through her mother. Queen Taj ad-Dawla was educated under the care of Motamid ad-Dawla Abdul Wahab Khan Nishat Ispahani, an eminent scholar of her time and her daughter and grand-daughter were equally recipients of a select and high education.The Aga Khan II had married Shamsul Mulk in 1867, who became known as Lady Ali Shah. Soon afterwards, they came to Karachi, where their son, Aga Khan III was born in 1877. She used to give names to the newly born babies in the Jamatkhana mostly in Karachi. It is worthwhile to illustrate that on December 25, 1876 a child was born in Karachi in Poonja family. The parent took him to Lady Ali Shah, who held court in the Kharadhar Jamatkhana. In keeping with Ismaili norms, Lady Ali Shah blessed the newly born child with the name of Mahomed Ali by alphabetizing the two words in English in the anglicised form. He was Mahomed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, who, throughout his lifetime, adopted the same spelling of his name that was on the record of the Jamatkhana. Lady Ali Shah had been in Bombay in 1881 with her son on the death of the Aga Khan I, and then made her residency at Poona.

Lady Ali Shah took the reins of the Ismaili community affairs during the time his son ascended as 48th Imam, and she administered the affairs efficiently through a Council, consisting of the prominent members of Kutchh, Kathiawar, Gujrat and Sind, until the Aga Khan III attained puberty in 1893.

Lady Ali Shah was indeed a benevolent woman, and famous for her charity and generosity, and her fame reached the fringes of the Muslim lands. In 1880, she had established a school in Karbala for the education and welfare of poor orphans of Sayed families. She also donated a land of 3000 square meters and constructed a building for the Iranian residents at Kazamain. In 1905, she had gone on pilgrimage to Mecca, and on that occasion, she was lavishly charitable that the people forgot all that they had heard of the charities of persons of high rank.

Lady Ali Shah gave a historical evidence in the Bombay High Court during the proceeding of Haji Bibi Case of 1908 before Justice Louis Pitman Russell, who was greatly struck by her evidence. As he observed in his judgement, she displayed an extraordinary memory.

While the Aga Khan III was away from India during the World War (1914-1919), Lady Ali Shah was tremendously active in his stead. Reference has already been made to her command and ability for organization; she now developed this to the fullest extent by adding to her work of keeping in touch with the Ismaili community. She also placed her services at the disposal of Lord and Lady Willingdon and under her direction, the Ismaili and Iranian ladies rendered great services to the wounded soldiers brought to Bombay from Iraq during the first World War. Under her inspired leadership, the community was able to collect large funds and procured necessary supplies. She kept in constant correspondence with the ruler of Hunza and the influential Iranians, advising them to help the Britain during War. Her nephews and relatives fought on the side of the Allies in Iraq, and one of them notably was Aga Hamid Khan, who was ranked C.I.E.

In 1917, His Majesty, the King was graciously pleased to grant Lady Willingdon the Order of the Crown of India. On that occasion, the historic house of the Aga Khan at Nesbit Road, Bombay was the scene of a very influential and picturesque gathering of the Muslim ladies, when an address of congratulation was presented to Lady Willingdon under the leadership of Lady Ali Shah. It was a unique gathering when she read the address to Lady Willingdon in Persian. She also had a nice meeting with Lady Wilson on February 9, 1924.

On the recommendation of Lord Willingdon, the honour of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India was conferred upon Lady Ali Shah in 1932. She visited Beirut in the same year for treatment, where she was well received by the Syrians. She had also gone to Palestine, Damascus and other holy cities, and returned to Bombay on October 3, 1930. On November 30, 1930, she inaugurated the conference being presided by Lady Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah at Poona, being attended by the Muslim ladies of Bombay and Sind.

Being an ardent Iranian scholar and well grounded in oriental history, Lady Ali Shah was a woman of great piety. She was universally respected through the Muslim world. In 1934, she visited Syria with her grandson, Prince Aly S. Khan. When she had visited Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi was the vizir and commander-in-chief. By his order, she was accorded warm welcome befitting a grand-daughter of Shah Fateh Ali. He presented her two Iranian carpets, which she gifted to His Highness of Dharampur.

Lady Ali Shah encouraged the Ismaili girls to take education and it was through her influence that the social reforms were introduced in the community. So profound was her wisdom and so great the confidence in the soundness of her opinion that several Indian princes sought her advices. The Begum of Bhopal was an intimate friend of Lady Ali Shah. She also came in close contact with Lord Reay and other governors and their wives, and also with the Earl of Dufferin and the Countess of Dufferin, who entertained a very high opinion of her. In 1934, she intended to visit Iran after meeting with Lord and Lady Willingdon at Karachi, but her sudden illness prevented her to make tour, and under medical advice, she made a second visit to Europe. Despite her impairing health, she continued to serve the community. She had an honour to inaugurate the All India Golden Jubilee Committee on October 16, 1935 at Bombay.

Lady Aly Shah was taken seriously ill in November, 1937. The Aga Khan III hurried to India by air and landed at Jodhpur, and after greeting His Highness Maharaja Umedsinhji, he left for Bombay by train. As doctor had anticipated, his presence acted as a tonic on Lady Ali Shah and she recovered from the serious illness. She left for Iraq in January, 1938. She proceeded to Baghdad via Karachi and Basra by S.S. Vasna which sailed from Bombay on January 27, 1938. She, realizing that her end was near, told to Kamadia Khan Bahadur: 'Send my love to all the members of the Ismaili community. I may not return to India, but wherever my spirit be I will eternally watch their peaceful progress and prosperity, as I have done all my life.' The Aga Khan III had made every arrangement for his mother's comfort at Baghdad, and for that reason, he took with him Kamadia Khan Bahadur's son, Hussain Ali, by air to Basra, where, under Aga Khan's instructions, he made all possible arrangements for a quiet landing. A saloon car was ready to convey Lady Ali Shah from Basra to Baghdad, where a bungalow, belonging to her nephew, Aga Hamid Khan, was placed at her disposal. She arrived at Baghdad on February 4, 1938 at 1 pm. True indeed it is, that the Aga Khan III's association with the West increased, causing his longer stay away from India. His mother had felt the pangs of this separation, and once she said to her son: 'Death is inevitable, but if it comes to me in your absence, it will be unendurable.' The Aga Khan's reply brought her great solace, who said: 'Do not worry. You will breathe your last with your head in my lap.' Consequently, the Aga Khan III and his wife reached Baghdad by air from Cairo on February 5, 1938 at 3 pm., and Lady Ali Shah passed away at 5.15 pm on the same day, breathing her last in the lap of her son. She was buried on the evening of February 6, 1938 at Najaf next to the tomb of her husband as per her will in presence of thousands of people. Her death occasioned deep grief not only among the Muslims, but in all other communities in India among whom she was very popular. Reference to her death was made at the meeting of Bombay Municipal Corporation on Monday, the February 7, 1938 and as a mark of respect to her memory, the House adjourned without transacting any business.

In the course of an intimate sketch of her life, the 'Daily Mail' of London published the following description of her, only a few days before her death.

'For all her burden of years, she is still one of the most vital personalities in India; clear thinking, forth-right, imperious - a strict warden of the past, who sees little that is worthy or desirable in the fruits of the present.'

'I do not mingle with the world of today, but I am not ignorant of it,' she has often said.

'Her physical vitality has been as remarkable as her strength of mind. In her home she wears always the silken trousers and soft draperies such as the women of Persia wore centuries ago. And although that home is a palace famed for its splendour, her way of life has been as simple as that of the humblest of the Prophet's followers. Her fare is frugal, her drink water. She fasts.'

The Aga Khan III was deeply affected by the death of his dear mother. 'In this difficult and saddest moment of my life', wrote the Aga Khan to a friend, 'the consolation I have is that the sadness and sorrow is tempered by the fact that she lived to be, at least 90 years of age. She had a large and happy family and very happy grand-children whom she always wanted. She died where she wanted to die. She had the satisfaction of seeing her grand- children happy and prosperous in day when prosperity is getting rare. But all this does not reconcile me to losing her. She had been to me more than father and mother combined, since I lost my father at the age of 8. No loss, not even that of my son who died in infancy which was a terrible blow to me as a father, has been quite so terrible as this.' Such was the deep affection between the Aga Khan and his mother. To mark his devotion, he had heretofore dedicated his book 'India in Transition' to his beloved mother in 1918.

Ismaili History 820 - SULTAN MUHAMMAD SHAH AGA KHAN III (1302-1376/1885-1957)

His name was Muhammad Sultan, also known as Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, the Aga Khan, G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.C.M.G., LL.D., was born at Honeymoon Lodge in Karachi on Friday, the 25th Shawal, 1294/November 2, 1877 at 5:30 pm. When the news of his birth was routed to the Aga Khan I in Bombay, he said: 'Name him Muhammad Sultan. He would be a Sultan (emperor) in the world. His period would see wonderful events, and would earn distinguished position in the world.'
He grew up under the substle care of his mother. His father had declared him as his successor for the first time in Kamod, a village near Ahmadabad in 1884 before the local Ismailis. About three months before his death, it is learnt from the old manuscript of a certain Khoja Hansraj Sunderji that on May 14, 1885, the Aga Khan II had said to the Bombay jamat that: 'You adore Aga Sultan Muhammad same as you adore me. There is no difference between me and him. We both are from one light (noor), and you believe it as one, so that your worship be accepted in dooms-day. Do not consider us different, both are from one light.'

After his father's death, the Aga Khan III ascended the throne of Imamate at the age of 7 years, 9 months and 16 days on 6th Zilkada, 1302/August 17, 1885. The British empire awarded him the title of His Highness in 1886 in the time of Lord Reay, the then governor of Bombay. On that occasion, the Iranian king had sent him a sword and an ivory stick as presents.

The Aga Khan III as a child, almost from the time he could walk, took a keen interest in various games. He also showed an extraordinary affection for animals and was in the habit of feeding dears, stags and ponies in his home park, often leading them about with a string round their necks. He took great pleasure in riding a wooden horse.

Until the age of 18 years, the Aga Khan III received education in Bombay and Poona. He was deeply indebted to his learned and wise mother, Lady Ali Shah, to whom he owed his liberal and extensive education. Though deprived of the paternal solicitude of his father at the age of 8 years, his mother took abundant parental interest in his education. Besides oriental languages like Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Hindi, he also developed command over English, French and Germany. Alongwith Islamic education, he also studied western thought, sciences, metaphysics, astronomy and mathematics from his three European tutors. Like his mother, he also took interest in the poetical works of Rumi, Hafiz, Sa'adi, Firdausi and Umar Khayyam. Recollecting memory of his childhood, the Aga Khan once said: 'As a child I was very much interested in philosophy and poetry, because anyone who knows Persian literature is naturally inclined to those subjects by the wonderful power, charm and grace of our Persian poets. I came under the influence of Hafiz, Maulana Rumi and others at an early and impressionable age, and they opened my eyes to the wonders of the universe and to the need of constantly keeping abreast of scientific and philosophic speculation and discovery. I have never since lost my interest in these subjects and have tried, as far as one can in the midst of a busy life, to read all the most recent theories and the arguments on which they are founded.'

The Aga Khan III was fortunate to have a gifted and farsighted mother, Lady Ali Shah, who engaged best scholars to teach him Koran, Hadith and oriental languages. She also played a seminal role in the administrative affairs of the Ismaili community through a council. Dr. G.W. Leitner writes in 'Legends, Songs and Customs of Dardistan' (London, 1889, pp. 250-1) that, 'His Highness, Agha Sultan Muhammad Shah is the present hereditary spiritual head. His authority extends from the Lebanon to the Hindukush and wherever else there may be Ismailians, who either openly profess obedience to him, as do the Khojahs in Bombay; or who are his secret followers in various parts of the Muhammadan world in Asia and Africa. The present young, but enlightened, Chief is, as his father and grandfather, likely to exert his influence for good.'

The Aga Khan III started visiting the Ismaili communities outside Bombay in 1312/1894. He made his debut as an educational reformer, and visited The Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College in Aligarh (high fort), about 79 miles south-east of Delhi, on November 22, 1896 and had a productive meeting with Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), who was a great educationist and socialist. Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan had founded the Aligarh College on November 1, 1875, and was the vice-President of the College Fund Committee as well as its Honorary Secretary. Qayyum A. Malick quotes in his 'Prince Aga Khan' (Karachi, 1954, p. 47) Sir Muhammad Yaqub as saying: 'I happened to see His Highness for the first time in 1896, when the young Khoja leader started his public career by making a pilgrimage to the M.A.O. College Aligarh, the great symbol of Muslim renaissance, and made his acquaintance with the founder of the institution, the late Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan, who was then the foremost Muslim leader of the day. It was perhaps this inspiring inauguration of the Aga Khan's public life which kindled in his heart an unabating fire for the service of his community. The late Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk, who arranged this historic meeting, had already perceived the germs of great talent in His Highness, and brought him closer to the Aligarh movement, and the Aga Khan soon appeared on the horizon.' Willi Frischauer also writes in 'The Aga Khans' (London, 1970, pp. 56-7) that, 'How wonderful if Aligarh could become a full university to bring up a generation of young leaders and advance the cause of Islam. Here was a chance to follow in the footsteps of his ancestor who had founded al-Azhar, the first Muslim university, which greatly appealed to the young Aga Khan. He decided to put up money for the cause and persuaded wealthy friends to contribute. It was a long struggle but he missed no opportunity to plead for this cause and when Aligarh finally became a university two dozen years later, it was more to Muslims than a seat of learning. In retrospect it was recognised as the intellectual cradle of independent Pakistan and the Aga Khan's enthusiasm and support which made it possible earned him a place among Pakistan's founding fathers.'

In 1315/1897, a terrible famine had badly shaken the Bombay Presidency, therefore, the Aga Khan III supplied food and seed, cattle and agricultural tools to the needy people, and in order to provide job opportunities, he started the construction of his Yarroda Palace at Poona. In Bombay, a large camp was pitched at Hasanabad, where thousands of people were daily fed at his expense; and to those who were ashamed openly to participate in this hospitality, the grain was provided to them privately for about six months. The famine was followed by the epidemic of bubonic plague and the superstitious people of India refused to be vaccinated against the disease. The Aga Khan III obtained the service of an eminent bacteriologist, Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Wolff Haffkine, the Director-in-Chief of the Government Plague Research Laboratory, Bombay. The Aga Khan was a crusader against meaningless supersitions and traditions, when soon after famine came plague, the people were in a panic and there was a hue and cry against inoculation with anti-plague serum. He therefore collected the people at his Khusaro Lodge, where the doctor was staying and addressed meetings explaining the benefits of inoculation. In front of this gathering he got himself inoculated, so as to dispel their superstitious fears, and strengthen their confidence in scientific methods of cure. This prompted others to follow and many lives were saved as a result. In the meantime, it had been proposed to give a public dinner to the Aga Khan III in Bombay in view of his outstanding services. When he had been informed of it, he wrote to the Secretary of the Reception Committee a letter, which showed his innermost feeling evoked by the distress of the poor people. He wrote: 'I cannot accept any entertainment when thousands of people are dying of starvation. It is almost wicked to waste money on rich food when thousands of people are starving. I would urge that every rupee that could be spared should be given for the relief of sufferers by famine instead of wasting it on the entertainments.'

Ismaili History 821 - First visit of Europe

In 1316/1898, the Aga Khan III set out from Bombay on his first journey to Europe, and visited France and Britain, where he had an audience with Queen Victoria at Windsor Palace. In the state banquet at Windsor Palace, he was sitting next to the Queen on her right side. No ruling prince from India who held great temporal power would have been treated with greater honour and respect like the Aga Khan. He was invested the honourable title of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire (K.C.I.E.). He also met the future king Edward VII. The 'Saint Gazette' (London, dated July 22, 1898) published the following report to this effect:-
'Her Majesty Queen Victoria had held a Levy, which was attended by Consuls of all countries, and His Highness the Aga Khan was also invited at the occasion. When the Aga Khan went there, the Queen herself went to receive him at the door and welcomed him with great respects and made him sit on the Throne of their Pope. As soon as the Aga Khan sat on the Throne, the Queen said to all the Consuls, 'What is the reason of your surprise, and what you all are thinking of?' The Consuls replied, 'Upto now, many Indian Kings have come to Europe, but you have given more honours to Aga Khan, and even made him sit on the Throne of our Pope; what is the reason of this?' The Queen in reply said, 'You are all wise, prudent and learned, and you know better than I the reason of this. In short, I must tell you that we have never seen our religious leader Jesus Christ, and without doubt, the Aga Khan is our same leader, and considering this, I have made him sit on our Pope's Throne.' On hearing this, all Consuls were greatly surprised, and wired to their respective countries about the above fact. Consequently, the Rulers of France, Germany, Italy, Belgium etc. sent telegrams to Aga Khan from all over, requesting him to give them honour of visiting their countries, which the Aga Khan accepted.'

Ismaili History 822 - First visit of East Africa

The Aga Khan III paid his first visit to East African countries in 1317/1899, where the Sultan of Zanzibar granted him the title of Brilliant Star of Zanzibar. On his second visit to Europe in 1900, the Aga Khan III held a meeting with Muzaffaruddin Shah Qajar (1313-1324/1896-1907) of Iran in Paris, who awarded him the title of Shamsul Hamayun or Star of Persia. He had also a meeting with Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II in Istanbul, who granted him the title of Star of Turkey. The German emperor Kaiser William II also awarded the title of First Class Prussian Order of the Royal Crown at Potsdam.
On January 22, 1901, the Queen Victoria expired, therefore, the Aga Khan III attended the funeral at London on February 2, 1901. He was the personal guest of emperor Edward VII at his coronation in August 2, 1902, who promoted the Aga Khan from the rank of Knight (K.C.I.E.) to that of Grand Commander of the Order of Indian Empire (G.C.I.E.). He returned to India in November, 1902. The viceroy of India, Lord Curzon appointed him to a seat of his Legislative Council of India.

Ismaili History 823 - Movement of Aligarh University

The Aga Khan believed that the root cause of Muslim backwardness in India was illiteracy, and therefore, education was the panacea for their ills. He thought that education should be a medium of service to others and a tool for modernization. He also considered the aim of education to be character building. According to Islamuddin in 'The Aga Khan III' (Islamabad, 1978, p. 22), 'It was he, who, translated the dream of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan into reality, by raising the status of Aligarh College into a great Muslim University.' Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah states in 'The Prince Aga Khan' (London, 1933, p. 65) that, 'It was Sir Syed Ahmed who founded Aligarh College, but it was the Aga Khan, an ardent enthusiastic promoter of the ideal of education, who has been mainly responsible for the raising of its status to that of a University.'
After the death of Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan in 1316/1898, the Aga Khan III advised Mohsin al-Mulk (1837-1907), the Secretary of Aligarh College, to tour India to procure public opinion for the cause of Muslim University. His interest in the Aligarh College dates from the time when he was called upon to preside at an Educational Conference held at Delhi at the time of Lord Curzon's proclamation Durbar in 1319/1902. He used the platform of Muslim Educational Conference to bring home to the Muslims, the importance of education, and Muslim University at Aligarh. In his Presidential address to the Muslim Educational Conference, the Aga Khan said: 'If, then, we are really in earnest in deploring the fallen condition of our people, we must unite in an effort for their redemption and, first and foremost of all, an effort must now be made for the foundation of a University where Muslim youths can get, in addition to modern sciences, a knowledge of their glorious past and religion and where the whole atmosphere of the place, it being a residential University, nay, like Oxford, give more attention to character than to mere examinations. Muslims of India have legitimate interests in the intellectual development of their co-religionists in Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and the best way of helping them is by making Aligarh a Muslim Oxford .... We are sure that by founding this University we can arrest the decadence of Islam, and if we are not willing to make sacrifices for such an end, must I not conclude that we do not really care whether the faith of Islam is dead or not? .... We want Aligarh to be such a home of learning as to command the same respect of scholars as Berlin or Oxford, Leipzig or Paris. And we want those branches of Muslim learning, which are too fast passing into decay, to be added by Muslim scholars to the stock of the world's knowledge.' (vide 'Khutbat-i Aliyah', Aligarh, 1927, Part I, p. 206).

Addressing the annual session of Muslim Educational Conference in 1904 at Bombay, the Aga Khan III said: 'The farsighted among the Muslims of India desire a University, where the standard of learning should be the highest and where with the scientific training, there shall be that moral education, that indirect but constant reminder of the eternal difference between right and wrong, which is the soul of education .... I earnestly beg of you that the cause of such a University should not be forgotten in the shouts of the market place that daily rise amongst us.'

The plan for the Muslim University had by 1910 taken on the complexion and force of a national movement. The session of the All India Muslim Educational Conference at Nagpur in December, 1910 gave the signal for a concreted, nation-wide effort to raise the necessary funds for the projected University. In moving the resolution on the University, the Aga Khan III made a stirring speech. He said, 'This is a unique occasion as His Majesty the King-Emperor is coming out to India. This is a great opportunity for us and such as is never to arise again during the lifetime of the present generation, and the Muslims should on no account miss it...We must make up and make serious, earnest and sincere efforts to carry into effect the one great essential movement which above all has a large claim on our enegery and resources...If we show that we are able to help ourselves and that we are earnest in our endeavours and ready to make personal sacrifices, I have no doubt whatever that our sympathetic government, which only requires proper guarantees of our earnestness, will come forward to grant us the charter. `Now or never' seems to be the inevitable situation.'

To make a concerted drive for the collection of funds, a Central Foundation Committee with the Aga Khan III as Chairman with Maulana Shaukat Ali (1873- 1938) as his Secretary; and prominent Muslims from all walks of life as members was formed at Aligarh on January 10, 1911. The Aga Khan III accompanied by Maulana Shaukat Ali, who was still in government service and had taken a year's furlough, toured throughout the country to raise funds, visiting Calcutta, Allahabad, Lucknow, Cawnpore, Lahore, Bombay and other places. According to Willi Frischauer in 'The Aga Khans' (London, 1970, p. 76), 'His campaign for the Aligarh University required a final big heave and, as Chairman of the fund raising committee, he went on a collecting tour through India's main Muslim areas: `As a mendicant', he announced, `I am now going out to beg from house to house and from street to street for the children of Indian Muslims.' It was a triumphal tour. Wherever he went, people unharnessed the horses of his carriage and pulled it themselves for miles.'

The response to the touching appeal of the Aga Khan III was spontaneous. On his arrival at Lahore, the daily 'Peace' of Punjab editorially commented and called upon the Muslims 'to wake up, as the greatest personality and benefactor of Islam was in their city.' The paper recalled a remark of Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan prophesying the rise of a hand from the unseen world to accomplish his mission. 'That persoanlity' the paper said, 'was of the Aga Khan III.' On that day, the 'London Times' commenting upon the visit, regarded him as a great recognised leader of Muslims. The significant aspect of the Aga Khan's fund collection drive was not the enthusiastic welcome accorded to him, but the house to house collection drive. Qayyum A. Malick writes in 'Prince Aga Khan' (Karachi, 1954, p. 64) that once the Aga Khan on his way to Bombay to collect funds for the university, the Aga Khan stopped his car at the office of a person, who was known to be his bitterest critic. The man stood up bewildered and asked, 'Whom do you want Sir?' 'I have come for your contribution to the Muslim university fund,' said the Aga Khan. The man drew up a cheque for Rs. 5000/-. After pocketing the cheque, the Aga Khan took off his hat and said, 'Now as a beggar, I beg from you something for the children of Islam. Put something in the bowl of this mendicant.' The man wrote another cheque for Rs. 15000/- with moist eyes, and said, 'Your Highness, now it is my turn to beg. I beg of you in the name of the most merciful God to forgive me for anything that I may have said against you. I never knew you were so great.' The Aga Khan said, 'Dont worry! It is my nature to forgive and forget in the cause of Islam and the Muslims.' The drive received further great fillip from the announcement of a big donation by Her Highness Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum of Bhopal. The Aga Khan III was so moved by her munificence that in thanking her, he spoke the following words: Dil'e banda ra zinda kardi, dil'e Islam ra zinda kardi, dil'e qaum ra zinda kardi, Khuda'i ta'ala ba tufail'e Rasul ajarash be dahadmeans, 'You put life in the heart of this servant; you put life in the heart of Islam; you put life in the heart of the nation. May God reward you for the sake of the Prophet!' In sum, the Aga Khan collected twenty-six lacs of rupees by July, 1912 in the drive and his personal contribution amounted to one lac rupees.

On October 20, 1920, the Aligarh University was granted its official Charter. In spite of several obstacles, the Aga Khan continued his ceaseless efforts for the Muslim University, and further announced his annual grant of Rs. 10,000/- for Aligarh University, which was subsequently raised. The Ismaili individuals also made their generous contributions to Aligarh University. For instance, Mr. Kassim Ali Jairajbhoy gave Rs. 1,25,000 to found chairs of Philosophy and Science in the Aligarh in memory of his father.

It must be noted on this juncture that in January, 1857, Lord Canning (1856-1862) had passed the Acts of Incorporation in India which provided for the establishment of universities in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The fourth university was then established in 1882 by a Special Act of Incorporation in Pujnab and the fifth was that of Allahabad University in 1887. Thus, by the end of 1902 there were five universities in India, and Aligarh University was the sixth one.

It will remain as a historical reminder of the fact that the Aga Khan gave continuity to the traditions of his ancestors as pioneers of education in Egypt and elsewhere - traditions associated with the foundation of Al-Azhar, the oldest existing university in the world, which to this day is crowded with students from all parts of the globe. The Aga Khan III instituted the Aga Khan Foreign Scholarship programme for the promising students. It is worth mentioning here that Dr. Ziauddin was one of the students of the Aga Khan in the sense that the Aga Khan paid for his years of study at Cambridge. Among other great Muslim scholars, who benefited from the munificent help were Dr. L.K. Hyder, the well known economist, Mr. Wali Muhammad, a great physicist, Dr. Zafarul Hasan, a learned theologian, and Dr. Zaki etc. 'The Movement of establishing a Muslim University' writes Mumtaz Moin in his 'The Aligarh Movement' (Karachi, 1976, p. 184), 'is an important chapter of our history. Initiated by Waqar al-Mulk it soon became a live issue under the patronage of the Aga Khan.' Islamuddin writes in 'Aga Khan III' (Islamabad, 1978, p. 27) that, 'Thus it would not be an exaggeration to say that without Aga Khan, there would have been no Aligarh University, and without Aligarh, Pakistan would have been a near impossiblity.' The Aga Khan himself said in his 'Memoirs' (London, 1954, p. 36) that: 'We may claim with pride that Aligarh was the product of our own efforts and of no outside benevolence and surely it may also be claimed that the independent sovereign nation of Pakistan was born in the Muslim University of Aligarh.'

The Aga Khan III paid another visit of Europe in 1904, and for the second time, he went to see his followers in East Africa in the following year.

In 1324/1906, the Aga Khan III liquidated the traditional jurisprudent committee, known as justi in the community. In replacement thereof, he founded the Council in Bombay, and appointed the Mukhis and Kamadias and other 20 persons as members. In 1327/1910, the Aga Khan III promulgated a legally drafted Constitution for the Shia Imami Council and ordained it under his personal seal. Ibrahim Muhammad Rawji had been appointed as its first president.

The Aga Khan III highly abhorred injustice and fought actively for both human and civil rights at a time when it was hardly a fashionable pursuit. He resigned from the exclusive St. Cloud Golf Club near Paris when some members objected to Sugar Ray Robinson, the black boxer playing on the links. In Aix-les-Bains, one day, he rubuffed the pompous head waiter of the Hotel Splendide who refused to seat a large group of Senegalese students and promptly invited them to a three-star lunch. The Aga Khan III was also deeply shocked by the ruthless and arrogant discrimination practised by whites in United States, India and China. During his brief visit to China in 1906, he remarked: 'Within the foreign settlements the general attitude towards the Chinese was little short of outrageous. All the better hotels refused them entry. From European clubs they were totally excluded. We hear a great deal about the colour bar in South Africa today. In China, in the early years of this century, the colour bar was rigidly imposed - not least offensively in discrimination against officials of the very government whose guests, under international law, all foreigners, were supposed to be. Is it any wonder that the China intelligencia long retained bitter memories of this attitude?'

Ismaili History 824 - Foundation of All-India Muslim League

The year 1324/1906 marks the cleavage and culmination of Muslim politics in the subcontinent, when the Aga Khan III led the Muslim delegation and met Lord Minto (1845-1914), the Viceroy of India from 1905, at Simla to demand the political rights of the Muslims of India. Simla was 1170 miles away from Calcutta, in the hills of northern India, above Delhi. It was the Anglo-Indian Olympus, where the British had been coming every summer since 1860, and by 1906 there were more than 1400 European dwellings, built on a series of ridges with the native town. At the centre of this was the Viceregal Lodge, five storeys high, furnished by Maples of Tottenham Court Road.
The deputation to the Viceroy consisted of the most influential leaders, such as Mohsin al-Mulk, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Sir Ali Imam, Sir Muzammallah Khan, Sir Rafiquddin Ahmad, Sir Muhammad Shafi, Sir Abdul Rahim, Sir Salimullah, Justice Shah Din, etc. Syed Razi Waste writes in 'Lord Minto and the Indian Nationalist Movement 1905-1910' (Lahore, 1976, pp. 69-70) that, 'Minto received the Muslim Deputation on October 1, 1906. Thirty-five prominent Muslim leaders from all over India gathered in the Ball Room of the Viceregal Lodge at Simla. Their leader was a young man of twenty-nine years, H.H. Aga Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan from Bombay, who besides being the head of the rich Ismaili sect of Muslims had close and friendly relations with prominent British people.' Accordingly, a memorandum was submitted to the Viceroy, insisting that the position accorded to the Muslim community in any kind of representation direct or indirect, and all other ways affecting their status should be commensurate not merely with their numerical strength but also with their political importance. Lord Minto gave them a patient hearing, assuring that their political rights and interests as a community will be safeguarded in any administrative organisation. The Aga Khan realized that the Muslims should not keep themselves aloof from politics because the Congress was already proving incapable in representing the Indian Muslims. At length, the demands of separate electorate and weightage in number in representation to all elected bodies were accepted by the Viceroy Lord Minto, and incorporated in the Minto-Morley Reforms of 1909.

On October 24, 1906, the Aga Khan wrote a letter to Mohsin al-Mulk regarding a need to form a Muslim organisation what had been achieved at Simla. The letter reads: 'It may well be that provincial associations should be formed with the aim of safeguarding the political interests of Muslims in various portions of India and similarly some central organisation for the whole.' In the meantime, The All-India Muslim Educational Conference met at Dacca on December 30, 1906 and the letter of the Aga Khan was circulated among the delegates. The Conference unanimously resolved that a political association styled as the All-India Muslim League be formed to promote among the Muslims the loyalty to the British government, to protect and advance the political rights and interests of Muslims, and to prevent the rise among Muslims of India of any feeling of hostility towards other communities. The Aga Khan III was thus elected permanent President of the All-India Muslim League and Sayed Hussain Bilgrami was made the Honorary Secretary. M. Abdul Aziz writes in 'The Crescent in the Land of the Rising Sun' (London, 1941, p. 140) that, 'It is well known that His Highness the Aga Khan was the first President of The All-India Moslem League and the way in which he took a keen and sympathetic interest in the organisation and development of the League, is shown from his letter of appreciation in his capacity as its first President.' According to 'The Foundations of Pakistan' (ed. by Sayed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Dacca, 1969, 1st vol., p. 33), 'In tracing the origins of Pakistan, some commentators give decisive importance to the separate electorates secured by the Muslim Deputation which was received by the Viceroy Lord Minto at Simla on Ocotber 1, 1906. The event has been described in the Diary of Lady Minto as `an epoch in Indian history.'' According to 'The Encyclopaedia Americana' (U.S.A., 1980, 1st vol., p. 327), 'The delegation established the Muslim League, which carried the seeds of Muslim separation and eventual creation of Pakistan.' Aziz Ahmed also writes in 'Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan' (London, 1967, p. 66) that, 'One of the chief promoters of this design of Muslim separatism in subcontinent was the Agha Khan.'

At the sixth annual session of Muslim League held on March 22-23, 1913 at Lucknow, the Aga Khan resigned from the presidency. He hinted a numerous reasons, but did not propose to cut himself away from the League. 'Resignation' he said, 'frees me from that necessarily judicial character that attaches to the presidency. The League does not need a leader but leaders.' According to 'Encyclopaedia of Asian History' (ed. Ainslie T. Embree, London, 1988, 1st vol., p. 47), 'The Ismaili leader, Agha Khan, who presided over the League's destiny from 1906 to 1913, and resigned on November 3, 1913.' On the seventh session of the League at Agra, held on December 30-31, 1913, Sayed Wazir Hasan (1874-1947), the Secretary of League from 1912 to 1929, announced the resignation of the Aga Khan in the meeting, expressing, according to the 'Foundations of Pakistan' (Dacca, 1969, 1st vol., p. 323) that, 'it would be a calamity for Muslims when His Highness resigned.' Sir Ibrahim Rahimtullah appealed to the Aga Khan not to place his resignation in their hands today and to continue as President till the rules of the League were altered. The Aga Khan said that he would remain President for the time suggested. He said also that in no case, it would severe his connection with the League as Vice-President. In a meeting of the Council of the League, held on February 25, 1914, the Aga Khan was declared the Vice-President of Muslim League, and Sir Ali Muhammad Khan (1879-1931), the Raja of Mahmudabad was elected as the second President of Muslim League in the eight session at Bombay on December 30, 1915.

Ismaili History 825 - Haji Bibi Case of 1908

While the Aga Khan III was on tour of East African countries, a suit was filed against him at Bombay High Court on 1st Muharram, 1326/February 4, 1908 by Haji Bibi, the daughter of Aga Jhangi Shah and the widow of Muchul Shah (d. 1321/1903) with her son Samad Shah and Kutchuk Shah and 13 others. They claimed rights from the property of the Aga Khan I. Haji Bibi demanded for monthly allowance, servants salaries, fooding, furniture, maintenance and car along with Rs. 9010/- per year at the rate of 6%. The court started the proceeding from January 4, 1908. The statements of the renowned persons had been recorded by court, and the history and the doctrines of the Ismailis were investigated to ascertain whether Pir Sadruddin and the early Khoja Ismailis were Ithna Asharis or not as had been claimed by them, and thus, almost 128 issues to this context had been examined. The statement of the Aga Khan was also taken in the court on July 28, 30 and 31, 1908. Justice Louis Pitman Russell ruled against the plaintiffs on September 3, 1908, confirming the Aga Khan's rights to the estate of his grandfather and to the offerings made to him by his followers. The ruling also established that the Nizari Ismailis were distinct from the Shias of the Ithna Ashari school.
From 1325/1907 onwards, the Aga Khan III visited Europe almost every year, therefore, he established his chief residency in Europe. In 1330/1911, emperor George V visited India and invested him the title of Grand Commander of the Order of Star of India (G.C.S.I.). In 1332/1914, the British government is reported to have offered the Aga Khan two times to become the king of Egypt in place of the dethroned king Khedive Abbas II Hilmi (1892- 1914), but he disregarded the offer. In 1332/1914, the Aga Khan went to Europe and offered his services to the British government during the First World War (1914-1919), urging his followers to help the British authorities in their regions. He was given an eleven gun salute in 1916 in Britain for his contribution towards the Allied War efforts, which was a rare occurrence in diplomatic history. He was also accorded the status of a First Class Ruling Prince of Bombay Presidency. Suffering from illness, the Aga Khan took rest more than 18 months in Switzerland under the treatment of Dr. Kocher, and then proceeded to Paris for further medical examination from Prof. Pierremarie.

In 1339/1920, the Aligarh University came into existence with the untiring efforts of the Aga Khan, and he was appointed its first Vice Chancellor in 1340/1921.

Ismaili History 826 - Foundation of Recreation Club Institute

In 1330/1912, an enthusiastic group of the young Ismailis had formed The Young Ismaili Vidhya Vinod Club (or V.V. Club) at Bombay for literary, missionary and other communal activities. In 1337/1919, it wanted to add certain tinge of manliness to its activities. Thus, Lt. Col. Itmadi Pirmahomed V. Madhani (1916-1919), Major Abdullah Jafar Lakhpati, Major Alijah Rehmatullah V. Charnia, Abdullah Ismail Modi and Kassim Ali Muhammad Dawoodani, alongwith four other prominent members held a meeting and had thought of adding the aspect of heroism and bravery, and as a result, the V.V. Club inaugurated an organisation of disciplined Volunteer Corps from among the youths of the community, known as The Young Ismaili Vidhya Vinod Corps under the presidentship of Lt. Col. Itmadi Pirmahomed V. Madhani. The Aga Khan III changed its name as H.H. The Aga Khan's Young Volunteer Corps in 1920. With these changes, the literary activities of V.V. Club were also handed over to the newly formed The Recreation Club in 1919-20 under the headship of Huzur Wazir Ali Muhammad Rehmatullah Mecklai (1894-1971).
In its embryonic stage, the activities of the Recreation Club were carried on in a house at Dhupelia Building, near Bhindi Bazar, Bombay. The Khoja Ismaili Missionary Mandal established in 1910 under the headship of Bhagat Juma Bhai Ismail of Karachi was also merged with it. They were asked to discuss such subjects as religion, history, education, social and cultural affairs of the community. With this new mandate, the name of the Recreation Club was changed to the The Recreation Club Institute on February 10, 1921 under the Presidentship of H.W. Ali Muhammad (1922-1935), with the Chief Secretary Alijah Hasan Lalji Devraj (1922-1934). It was given the name of Recreation Club Institute, said the Aga Khan to the members, 'so that you can work for the world at day time, and for the religious at night honour.' Later, they were authorized to train regular missionaries, waezeens and religion teachers. Many eminent missionaries joined the Institute, some as paid, and some as honorary, such as the Chief Missionary Hussain Pir Mohammad, Pir Sabzali Ramzan Ali, Ibrahim Jusab Varteji, Alidina Mamoo, Muhammad Murad Ali Juma, Ali Bhai Nanji, Jamal Virji, Manji Bhai Lalji Nayani, Muhammad Abdullah, Abdul Hussain Bachal, Khuda Bakhsh Talib, Hakam Ali Ishaq Ali, Jafar Ali Gokal, Haji Muhammad Fazal, Muhammad Jamal Babwani, Ghulam Hussain Gulu and many others.

The Aga Khan III took his first visit in the Recreation Club Institute on August 5, 1923 and inspected its activities. He also wrote a Persian verse in the diary of Ali Muhammad Mecklai with his own hand, the only known verse written by the Aga Khan III, which is as under:-

Aatish bejan afrokhtan, az bahree jaanan sukhtan, Az man baist amukhtan, en karha karee man ast.

means, 'How to kindle a fire in the soul and burn oneself for one's beloved, should be learnt from me as this is one of my jobs.'

The Aga Khan III also visited the Institute on November 24, 1923 and February 23, 1924 and was satisfied while inspecting its working and donated one lac rupees. During his next visit on March 12, 1924, he said in presence of about 900 members as under:-


I spoke here last year when I had given as a motto a well known Persian verse which I am sure you have not forgotten. Today I will give you a small motto and that is 'work no words.' Labour for the welfare of other is the best way of improving oneself, because its results are sure and certain. If you work for yourself, you are never happy. This is not the new idea but this is an outcome of the experience of thousand years of history. Gentlemen, come and take interest in this Institute; give your ideas, advice, and help to this Institute more especially to its Industrial Department which will bring bread and butter and happiness to many and will be an enjoy big many of you. With these few words, I will ask the President to announce the gifts made by different persons to this Institute.'

The Recreation Club Institute launched a Subjects Committee during a grand missionary conference on September 28, 1923 and passed a resolution that the missionaries should be taught the doctrines of world religions. It also framed a syllabus to this effect. It was also resolved that the test of the missionaries would be taken in every year and then their grade would be fixed. In its 7th resolution, it was decided to give training to the young boys of 14 years.

The Recreation Club Institute also started the publication of the well-known weekly magazine, 'Ismaili.' The first issue of the 'Ismaili' came out on Sunday, the 25th Safar, 1342/October 7, 1923 both in English and Gujrati into 12 pages. Valibhai Nanji Hooda was appointed as its organiser and Wazir Ali Mahomed Jan Mahomed Chunara as the editor under its Educational Department. The Institute also started its own printing press on January 1, 1924 under Hussain Sharif, Rehmatullah Virji and Abdullah Kassim Mewawala of the Press Department. The Institute provided the missionaries in different quarters of India, and helped the new converts under its Industrial Department, and gradually became a leading institution in the community. On November 22, 1923, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulavi Hakim Sayed Abul Yousuf Ispahani took visit of the Recreation Club, and it was followed by the visits of Maulana Muhammad Ali on November 24, 1923, Maulana Azid Subhani on April 21, 1924, the Palestinian Delegation on May 1, 1924, Maulvi Muhammad Abdul Bari Firangi Mahl Lucknowi on May 21, 1924, etc.

The old records reveal that the well-known paid missionaries in 1923 in the Institute Club were Hussain Pir Muhammad and Alidina Mamu (for Bombay district), Jamal Virji (for Bhalzalavad district), Khuda Bakash Taleb (for Burma), Hamir Lakha (for Sind division), Hakim Ali Ismail and Ghulam Hussain Hashim (for Punjab and North-west Frontier), Ibrahim Yousuf Varteji (for Kathiawar), Din Muhammad Dayal (for Gujrat district), and Thavar Ghulam Hussain, Abdul Hussain Bachal, Nur Muhammad Javair, Hyder Kassim Ali etc. Besides, Pir Sabzali Ramzan Ali (Karachi), Moloo Kanji (Jamnagar) and Bande Ali Juma Bhagat (Bombay) were prominent honorary missionaries.

During the new appointments on April 1, 1924, the Institute created new cells, such as Mission, Finance, Foreign, Provincial, Home, Publicity and Literature, Indurstrial and Commerce, General, Press, Audit, Educational, Ginan Mandal, Suburb, Helping, Hall and Office, Cloth Sales, Library, Employment and Refreshment departments. Each department was looked after by an Incharge, secretary and members. Besides, Ghulam Ali G. Merchant was made the legal advisor, Abdullah B. Pir Muhammad as honorary engineer and Ali Muhammad Juma Jan Muhammad as honorary doctor.

In sum, the Institute Club covered major fields in the orbit of the then available resources.

In 1936, Rai Ismail Muhammad Jafar as a President and Itmadi Rehmatullah Virji as Chief Secretary rendered their services for one year in the Recreation Club. H.W. Ali Muhammad Mecklai was appointed once again as the President in 1938 until 1946, with Itmadi Rehmatullah Virji (1935-37), Alijah Ghulam Hussain Virji (1937-1941), Alijah Rajab Ali Muhammad Dandawala (1941-42), Itmadi Rehmatullah Virji (1943-45), Kassim Ali F. Thanawala (1945) and H.M. Yousuf Ali E. Dossa (1946-48) and Rai Abbas Ali Muhammad as Chief Secretaries. In view of his long selfless services, the Aga Khan III granted the titles of Huzur Wazir (minister in attendence) and Commander in Chief to H.W. Ali Muhammad Rehmatullah Mecklai, who was followed by Itmadi Abdullah Sumar Shivji as the President from 1946 to 1948.

In 1940, the Recreation Club Institute was given a new name of the Ismailia Association. During the Mission Conference in Dar-es-Salaam on July 21, 1945, the Aga Khan III had said that, 'You must establish an Ismailia Association that of Bombay. Mr. Mecklai, the President of Ismailia Association in Bombay has too much served the community, and spread the light of the Ismaili faith. His name shall be ever remembered in history on account of his services.' In the following year, the Ismailia Association came into existence in Nairobi.

During his visit to the African countries in 1948, the Aga Khan III declared a new constitution of the Ismailia Association, and accordingly, H.W. Ali Muhammad Rehmatullah Macklai was appointed as World Head of the Ismailia Association for India, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda. Huzur Wazir Mecklai died at the age of 77 years on Wednesday, the July 21, 1971 at Bombay. In appreciation to his long and illustrious services, the Aga Khan IV had sent a telegram to the Ismailia Federal Council for India, in which, after bestowing blessings for his soul and prayer for his eternal peace and sympathy to his family in their great loss, said: 'Wazir Mecklai's devoted service to the jamat will always be remembered by my jamat and by myself and he will be deeply missed by all.'

Speaking at the audience to the Ismailia Association for Pakistan at Karachi on January 25, 1958, the Aga Khan IV said: 'You as my chief spiritual children should go through your own history and try to understand the development which has happened, so that you can explain to your children what is the meaning of Imam and what is the meaning of Faith.' In a message to the Ismailia Association for Madagascar on May 28, 1958, he said: 'Remember that you have most heavy duties - duties that must be fulfilled intelligently and carefully.' In a letter to the President of the Ismailia Association for India on September 25, 1964, the Aga Khan IV said: 'I am sure you will never forget that our faith is based on thousands of years of history, and that we should learn from history and not to think that our past is of no use to us now and that it can therefore be rejected, abbreviated or altered.'In a special message sent to the Ismailia Association for Pakistan at Dacca on December 5, 1964, the Aga Khan IV said: 'I do not want my spiritual children to have faith against logic. Islam is the only religion where there is reconcilable.'

Finally, the name of the Ismailia Association had been changed to The Shia Imami Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board in accordance with the new Constitution effective from July 11, 1986, whose primary architect was the Recreation Club Institute.


Notes as received on 4 May 2017:

Aliya Mohamed sent a message using the contact form at

Ya Ali Madat,
I was reading about the 'Ismaili History 826 - Foundation of Recreation
Club Institute' and the Mandal Missionaries and noticed that my great
grandfathers name does not appear.
His name was Meghji (Maherali) Missionary and he served Sultan Mohamed
Shah (sas) as part of the Mission Mandal in 1905.
I have written documentation of my great grandfather's service and I know
our Beloved Imam (sas) Knew of his service (Shukar).
I just do not want my families legacy to be forgotten from the pages of history.

Ismaili History 827 - Khilafat Movement

In 1341/1923, the Aga Khan III took a leading part in the Khilafat Movement with the Indian Muslims, and raised his voice through articles in newspapers and letters to British authorities. This was indeed a critical time that his loyalty to the West and his unbounded love for Islam directly clashed, but the Aga Khan decidedly championed the cause of Islam. He wrote a historic letter in association with Right Hon'ble Sayed Ameer Ali (1849- 1928), a member of the Privy Council of England, addressed to Ghazi Ismet Pasha, the Prime Minister of Turkey on November 24, 1923, insisting not to liquidate the symbol of Islamic unity, and pleading that the matter of Turkey be given considerable hearing at the conference table. This letter was published in 'The Times' (London) on December 14, 1923. Aziz Ahmed writes in 'Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan' (London, 1967, p. 138) that, 'The letter influenced and possibly precipitated the decision of the Turkish National Assembly taken on Marach 3, 1924 to abolish the caliphate and to exile Abd al-Majid. This marked the end of a centuries-old institution and of an era in the history of Islam.'
For a decade after First World War (1914-1919), the Aga Khan III stayed away from the international and Indian political affairs, devoting mainly to the affairs of the Ismailis. Having established permanent homes in Switzerland and the French Riviera, he now visited India every year.

His global popularity as a man of peace found expression in a resolution moved in the Indian Council of State on February 5, 1924, recommending the government of India to convey to the Norwegian Parliament the view of the House that, 'His Highness Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, the Aga Khan is a fit and proper person to be awarded the Noble Prize for Peace in this year, in view of the strenuous, persistent and successful efforts that he had made to maintain peace between Turkey and the Western Powers since the armistice.'

In 1928, the Aga Khan III presided over the All-India Muslim Conference held in Delhi, where more than 600 delegates represented all provinces of India.

Ismaili History 828 - Round Table Conferences

The Aga Khan III led the Muslim delegation to the first Round Table Conference, held in St. James Palace in London on November 12, 1930, to consider the future of India. There were 57 members of the British Indian delegation, representing all the Indian parties except the Congress. The Muslim Delegation was led by the Aga Khan III and other eminent members, like Mahomed Ali Jinnah, Sir Mohammad Shafi, Maulana Mohammad Ali, Dr. Shafat Ahmad, Sir Zafrullah, Nawab Chhatari and Fazl-ul-Haq. Prominent among the princes were the Maharajas of Bikaner, Alwar and Bhopal, and among the eminent Hindu leaders were Sir Tej Bahadur Supru, Jayakar, Shashtri, Dr. Moonje and others. The Conference was presided over by Lord Sankey. In the delibrations of the Conference, the Aga Khan played a dominating role. At the second Round Table Conference, the British government was keen to secure the co-operation of the Congress, and the Viceroy proposed to nominate Dr. Ansari and Sir Ali Imam. As both were staunch supporters of the Nehru Report, therefore, Sir Fazl-i-Husain (1877-1936) protested and averted all possible dangers to the unity of the Muslim Delegation. The Aga Khan III, as its leader, held at the members together and prevented disruptive tendencies from growing up among the Muslims. Azim Husain quotes a letter of Sir Fazl-i-Husain, addressing to Dr. Shaffat Ahmad Khan on July 28, 1931 in 'Fazl-i-Husain' (Bombay, 1946, pp. 251-2), which reads: 'Whatever lionising may take place of Gandhi in London, you Muslim members of the Delegation, if you played your cards well, would have a pull over all other communities in as much as you have the Aga Khan, who stands pre-eminently in English public life, and no more popular figure, whether English or Indian, exists there. So, if you held together and acted under the Aga Khans's guidance, no harm could possibly come to you.'
The Aga Khan III was better suited than any other Muslim leader for the negotiations that were to ensue. The second Round Table Conference opened on September 7, 1931 and it was attended by the Congress. The distinguished group of newcomers included Gandhi, Sir Mohammad Iqbal, Dr. S.K. Datta, G.A. Birla, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Mrs. Naidu and Sir Ali Imam. M. Abdul Aziz writes in his 'The Crescent in the Land of the Rising Sun' (London, 1941, p. 146) that, 'The Round Table Conference in London have happily shown us the way how to deal with problems which appeared at first sight to be insoluble, and, in this connection, I desire - and I am sure every Muslim in India desires with me - to pay a tribute to the great services which His Highness the Aga Khan has rendered during the delibrations of the Round Table Conference and the sessions of the Joint Parliamentary Committee to the cause of the Muslims in India.'

After the termination of the conference, the British parliament took its turn to consider the question of the future government of India. Thus, a strong parliamentary committee was set up to go over the matter. The committee was in almost unbroken session of 18 months, holding 159 meetings. The striking feature of this committee was the presence in it of some of the delegates from India, who took part in the examination of 120 witnesses and in the committee's private discussion. The Aga Khan III headed the list of 21 key leaders whom the committee consulted at every step. Under the wise and able leadership of the Aga Khan, the Indian Muslims came up with flying colour from the Round Table Conference. He had piloted the ship with skill and courage and brought it safely into harbour. He played his cards remarkably well and with his inimitable tact. The Aga Khan III had also a meeting with Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) in London. This conference continued until 1934, marked the climax of the Aga Khan's involvement in Indian politics.

Writing his congratulations to the Aga Khan III, Sir Abdullah Haroon had routed a telegram to London on December 27, 1932 that:- 'On behalf of Sind please convey my heartiest thanks to all Round Table Delegates especially Muslim Delegation whose labours crowned with success. Sind and Muslims of India never forget Your Highness services which you are rendering. May Allah reward you.' (vide 'Haji Sir Abdoola Haroon' by Al-Haj Mian Ahmad Shafi, Karachi, 1939, pp. 85-6). In addition, Shafaat Ahmad Khan wrote a letter to Sir Abdullah Haroon on January 17, 1932 from Allahabad, wherein he describes, 'Aga Khan is our greatest Muslim leader in Asia, and Jinnah is also a man of extraordinary vision.' (Ibid. p. 100)

The Aga Khan III had served as India's delegate at the Disarmament Conference since 1932. During the successive sessions of the Assembly of the League of Nations started on February 2, 1932 in Geneva, he had submitted his proposals of peace between China and Japan. In 1934, the British government appointed the Aga Khan as a Privy Councillor, which entitles one to apply the word Right Honorable with his name.

Ismaili History 829 - Separation of Sind

To separate Sind from the Bombay Presidency was a colossal problem. It loomed so large on the political horizon that it eclipsed all others, because Sind separation assumed a communal colour. Long and bitter were those days of uncertainty for Muslims. In 1935, the Aga Khan III was appraised of the benefits that would accrue to Sind after separation. He gave the problem a close and careful consideration. The Muslims of Sind were convinced that their cause was in safe hands. Then came that day of rejoicing when Sind separation was accepted in principle and subsequently confirmed by the Paliament and thus the provincial independence was won for the Muslims of Sind. Muhammad Hashim Gazdat urged the Aga Khan that, 'We people of Sind will be happy and proud if you may arrive in Sind as a first governor.' The Aga Khan replied that, 'My friend, I have no desire to be a governor, but I am a governor-maker.'

It is difficult to sum up the services of the Aga Khan III hitheroto he rendered for the cause of the Indian Muslims. K.K. Aziz however writes in his 'History of the Idea of Pakistan' (Lahore, 1987, 1st vol., p. 94) that, 'He played an important part in the elevation of the Aligarh College to the status of a Muslim university; his role in the Muslim struggle for winning separate representation was vital and extended from the 1906 Simila deputation to the working of the 1935 reforms; his exertions in the direction of uplifting the community were generous, commandable and sincere; his sustained and anxious efforts to extract safeguards for the Muslims from the British government were often successful and brough much security to the community. These are valuable services which every prejudiced historian will acknowledge gladly and readily.'

In this year, the Aga Khan was made the Pre-Chancellor of Aligarh University, and attended its convocation in 1938.

Ismaili History 830 - President of League of Nations

At the end of the First World War in 1918, a Paris Peace Conference had been formulated by the Allies in 1919, being composed of four leading statesmen, viz. Loyed George representing Great Britain, M. Clemencean France, Signor Orlando Italy and President Wilson, the United States; and finally The League of Nations was founded in Geneva in January, 1920 and M.P. Hymans of Belgium was appointed the first President. The Aga Khan led the Indian delegates in Geneva, and attended the Disarmament Conference, where he delivered a stirring speech on February 19, 1932. He also attended the Third Disarmament Conference and made a speech on February 2, 1933. During the 15th session of the League of Nations, the Aga Khan also gave his speech to the assembly on September 27, 1934. He also addressed the League of Nations in Geneva during its 17th session on September 29, 1936. In sum, the Aga Khan's interest in international affairs in Geneva culminated in his election in the session of July, 1937 as the President of League of Nations in place of the former President, M.P. Van Zeeland of Belgium, and all the 49 votes cast in a secret ballot were found to be in his favour.
Aligarh was in special jubilant at the election of the Aga Khan as President of League of Nations. Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad, the then vice-chancellor remarked that it was a great honour to the Aligarh Muslim University, which owed much of its development and extension to the zealous efforts of the Aga Khan. He further said that towards making Aligarh the greatest Islamic centre of learning in the world, the Aga Khan had made a magnificent contribution. Writing about the Aga Khan III, Mushir Hosain Kidwai of Gadia, Bar-at-Law says: 'In the League of Nations, in the presence of so many learned persons who claimed to represent nations scattered all over the world, but whose mentality was mostly materialistic, stood up a man - a responsible, thoroughly educated, well-experienced, well travelled, well polished man, a gentleman, a nobleman, respected by one and all, - and he proclaimed at the top of his voice that he was proud to belong to the Glorious Brotherhood of Islam. It was indeed thrilling. The bold announcement was thrilling. The occasion when it was made was thrilling. What a slap it was on the face of those cowards who felt shy at the name of Islam. The Aga Khan's words raised the prestige of Islam in an assembly which was almost prejudiced against it. `I was overjoyed. I am a man hard to bend before anybody - not even before a king. But I would gladly bow before a man who spoke from his heart those thrilling words.''

The Aga Khan made his first presidential speech in the League of Nations on September 13, 1937 during its 18th session. Thus, Sir Samuel Hoare, the ex-Secretary of State of India was compelled to remark that, 'The Aga Khan does not belong to one community or one country. He is a citizen of the world par excellence.'

During the Second World War (1939-1945), the Aga Khan once again urged his followers to support the British cause in the war. The Aga Khan presided over the convocation of Aligarh University in 1938, and in its conclusion, he put his resignation from Pro-Vice Chancellorship in favour of Nawab of Rampur. The University was keen to have him associated, therefore, he was elected the Rector of the University. On June 16, 1945, the Aga Khan III presided over the first East African Muslim Public Workers Conference, and also held an historical Mission Conference of the Ismailis in Dar-es-Salaam.

On December 17, 1948, the Aga Khan III completed 65 years, 3 months and 9 days of his Imamate which is the longest record in the history of all the 48 Imams.

In 1949, the Aga Khan III was declared an Iranian citizen and was awarded the distinguished title of Hazratwala, i.e. His Royal Highness by His Imperial Majesty the Shahinshah of Iran. He also visited Pakistan for the first time after independence on February 2, 1950 and was awarded an honorary degree of LL.D. from the Dacca University in 1951. On March 3, 1951, the Syrian government invested him the title of Order of Ommayad. In 1951, the Aga Khan III paid his first visit to Iran to attend the marriage of the Iranian king with queen Sorayya. Arriving in Tehran, he looked up at the sky and the land-scape and exclaimed: 'What a lovely and beautiful country I have. I had been cherishing for years the desire to visit my beloved native land.' On February 11, 1951, one day before the wedding ceremony, His Majesty the King had awarded the Order of the Crown First Class to the Aga Khan. During his visit to Iran, he also went to see Mahallat. Thousands of people lined the roads for a glimpse of one whose ancestors had been the revered and benevolent rulers of the area.

Ismaili History 831 - Islamic services

The Aga Khan used to raise his voice in the defence of Islam, whenever it was under inroad. In October, 1951, the 'London Times' made some unfair allegations against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. In a spirited reply to the 'London Times' on October 22, 1951, he said that, 'Islam was not only tolerant of other faiths but most respectful and indeed fully accepted the divine inspiration of all theistic faiths that came before Islam.' He further said: 'If there has been violent reaction against the West in some Muslim countries, the reason is to be found in the attitude and behaviour of the westerners, their ignorance and want of respect for the faith and culture of Islam, of which the reference to that faith in your leading article is a typical and usual example.'
His illustrious and outstanding services for the cause of Islam were not confined to newspapers only. As a patron of Western Islamic Society, London, he worked for the educational and social uplift of the Muslims. He built and maintained many mosques, one of them is the Aga Khan Mosque at Cardiff. He had also given Rs. 75,000/- for the repairing of al-Aqsa Mosque, and Rs. 25,000/- for the Nairobi Mosque. He also established the Aga Khan Construction Fund to repair Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. In 1936, the Muslims of Sind had formed a committee led by Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah to erect a memorial for the services of the Aga Khan towards the creation of Sind province. It was decided to build a Grand Mosque and name it after the Aga Khan. When he was informed the plan, the Aga Khan agreed to contribute on rupee by rupee basis for the proposed mosque fund, but said: 'Why name the mosque after me?' He prevailed upon the committee to name it as Muhammad Jamia Masjid. This clearly shows that he did not wish to bask in the sunshine of acclamation and praise. What he wanted was the greater glory of Islam.

Stating about the Aga Khan's uncontrollable love for Islam, Mushir Hosain Kidwai of Gadia quotes an event of an early twenties that: 'When a deputation from India consisting of His Highness the Aga Khan, late Messrs. Chotani and Hasan Imam was selected by the Government of India, and later on Dr. Ansari, and on the most particular insistence of His Highness himself, I was also included in it by Mr. Montague, on our arrival in England, to plead for the return of Thrace and Syrna to Turkey before the British Cabinet. After our spokesman, Mr. Hasan Imam, had put the case, the Prime Minister, Mr. Lloyd George, pertinently asked: 'Now that the Greeks are in military possession of Thrace who will turn them out from there.' Mr. Hasan Imam did not answer. He was in fact given no time to speak. None of us could speak. It was His Highness who enthusiastically jumped up and with a raised finger said: 'Well, Mr. Prime Minister, old though I am, I will go sword in hand and turn them out. We will charter ships. We will do everything. Leave them to us.' Mr. Lloyd George was thunderstuck. He could not give a reply except murmuring: 'No, no, we cannot do that.' My sensitive mind was greatly impressed by the words and the way the Aga Khan spoke. Every word cut deep into my heart. I remember every word upto this day. I confess I wished those words had come out of my mouth so spontaneously as they did from that of His Highness. They revealed the love, sincere and intense love for Islam with which the heart of the man who spoke out his mind. It was wonderful. For that remark he was a true Muslim overpowered by the love of Islam. He was nothing else. The blood of the Prophet in his veins made him speak out those words. They indicated that he was ready, sincerely ready to give up his wealth, his position, his very life, for Islam - yes for Islam, not particularly for that sect or school of which His Highness personally was the highest head.'

The above few instances are only a few drops in the splendid stream with which the Aga Khan III has watered the garden of Islam. Ever green leaves, fragrant flowers and sweetest fruits have come into existence, and Muslim world, while thanking this great champion of Islam shall never forget his noble and outstanding contributions.

During his long Imamate period, the Aga Khan III devoted much of his time and resources in consolidating and organizing the Ismaili community, especially in India and East Africa. He was notably concerned with introducing the socio-economic reforms, transforming his followers into a modern, self-sufficient community with high standard of education and welfare. The development of a new communal organisation thus, became one of the Aga Khan's major tasks.

In 1956, Queen Elizabeth of Britain conferred upon the Aga Khan the title of Grand Cross of the Saint Michael and Saint George (G.C.M.G.).

Ismaili History 832 - The Aga Khan III as a writer

The Aga Khan III was a prolific writer, and compiled 'India in Transition', published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. in 1918, which he dedicated to the loving memory of his mother. It deals the future political affairs of India. According to 'Muslims in India' (Lahore, 1985, 1st vol., p. 56), 'It contained an elaborate scheme of references for India, urging a federal constitution. He envisaged a great south Asiatic Federation of which Delhi would be the centre.' On October 29, 1952, he declared in an interview with 'New York Herold Tribune', Paris for compiling his autobiographical work, and began to write it on January 3, 1953. It was published in 1954, entitled 'Memoirs of Aga Khan'. Besides, there is a large collection of his speeches, articles and interviews

Ismaili History 833 - Marriages of the Aga Khan III

The first marriage of the Aga Khan took place in 1314/1897 with Shahzadi Begum, the daughter of his uncle Aga Jhangi Shah, at Poona. In 1908, he married to Mlle Theresa Maglioni (d. 1926) in Cairo, who bore Prince Aly Salomone Khan on June 13, 1911 at Turin in Italy. She had visited India with his son in 1923, and died on December 2, 1926 at Paris at the age of 37 years. In 1929, the Aga Khan had married his third wife, Mlle Andree Carron, who bore his second son, Sadruddin on January 17, 1933.
On October 9, 1944, the Aga Khan married his fourth and last wife, Mlle Yvette Labrousse, known as Umm Habiba, the Begum Aga Khan. She was the third to be awarded in 1954 a rare title of 'Mata Salamat' during last 13 centuries. 'The Aga Khan wants to sleep in the hot sand overlooking the waters of the Nile,' explained the Begum Aga Khan 40 years ago, 'and when I die I want to lie beside him. We do not want to be parted.' In her interview of 1953, she said, 'I always appreciated beauty, but he (the Aga Khan) taught me how really to enjoy a lovely sunset, moonlight, to know the stars, the colours and scents of flowers, to like music, ballet and opera, to appreciate everything that is beautiful in life. Most important, he taught me to love Islam.'

Recently, the Begum Aga Khan celebrated her 90th birthday at Aswan in Upper Egypt on February 15, 1996.

Ismaili History 834 - Jubilee celebrations

Donning the mantle of Imamate in 1302/1885, the Aga Khan III had completed 50 years of his spiritual leadership in 1935. His devoted followers, long looking forward to the auspicious day, got feverishly busy to pay a memorable tribute to their Imam, who had so happily guided their destinies through all these years, knit them into a progressive community, and taken them to enviable heights of moral and material glory. Hence, the Ismailis decided that the Golden Jubilee of their Imam should be fitly celebrated by weighing him against gold, and making a present of the gold to him as a mark of their love and gratitude. Bombay was the venue for the Golden Jubilee in India in 1936, and to this great city flocked the Ismailis from all over the subcontinent, from Burma, Ceylon, Malaya, Africa and the Middle East. Finally, on January 19, 1936, the Golden Jubilee of the Aga Khan was celebrated with great pomp at Hasanabad in Bombay, where a crowd of over 30,000 Ismailis was thronged. Among the special guests who also attended were a number of ruling princes, leading government officials, judges of the High Court, foreign diplomats, business magnates, and the elites of the city. His Excellency the Governor performed the ceremony of weighing. The total weight of the Aga Khan III was found to be 3200 ounces valued at about 23,000 British pounds. In sum, the Golden Jubilee was a splendid and memorable occasion in the life of the community. It was most impressive and picturesque ceremony, simple in its nature, but a rare novelty in the life of many a man. The second Golden Jubilee was celebrated on March 1, 1937 at Nairobi amid extraordinary jubilations and scenes of enthusiasm. Once more the precious metal was presented to the Aga Khan III by his followers as a token of their love and affection, and once more it was given back to them with his blessings. Some 30,000 Ismailis had assembled to receive his blessings on his jubilee.
Sixty years of his benevolent rule as spiritual father gave his grateful community a chance to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of his Imamate by weighing him against diamonds. In a special message to the community in January 14, 1946, the Aga Khan III said: 'This unique occasion should be for my spiritual children all over the world a starting point in the heart and conscience of each and every one to further know, understand and obey the history and spiritual doctrines of the Ismaili faith.' The first Diamond Jubilee was held on March 10, 1946 in Brabourne Stadium at Bombay. Over 100,000 Ismailis from various parts of the world had come to see this magnificient spectacle unusual event for Bombay which had witnessed many a scene of pomp and glory. The huge multitude present at the ceremony included fourteen ruling princes, among them the Maharajahs of Kashmir and Baroda and the Jam Saheb of Nawanagar. There were messages of goodwill from King Farouk of Egypt, the King of Afghanistan, the Shah of Iran and other world personalities including Mr. Gandhi. The value of the diamonds was 640,000 British pounds.

The second Diamond Jubilee had been celebrated in the sports ground of the Aga Khan Club at Dar-es-Salaam on August 9, 1946. It was attended by 70,000 Ismailis, including the governors of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda. This time the value of the diamonds was 684,000 British pounds. The sum value of the diamonds at each place was again an absolute gift to the Imam from his jubilant followers. This vast sum was again invested by him in a trust meant to enrich the life of the community in the educational and commercial spheres

The platinum jubilee celebration, marking the 70th anniversary of the Imamate of the Aga Khan III was festivated at Karachi with great pomp on February 3, 1954. The celebration culminated in the weighing of the Imam against platinum. On the day of the ceremony, the specially built stadium was packed with 60,000 people, and all the roads leading to it were filled with crowds who could not gain admittance. After the recitation from the Holy Koran, the Aga Khan rose and raised his hands in prayer before resuming his seat. The funds collected at the celebration was used for the implementation of multi-purpose socio-economic projects.

In an article entitled, 'The Aga Khan: from Curzon to Hitler, A Man always at the Centre of History,' Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan writes, 'For my father, education was understandably a priority and his community exemplifies the success of his policies. Ismaili men and women, the latter among the first to shed the veil, are well equipped in this respect. Ismaili institutions have provided a network of social, economic and cultural amenities which are unrivalled in many developing countries. These were made possible to a great extent by the wise administration of funds raised in connection with the traditional jubilee weighing ceremonies.' (vide 'The Times' newspaper, November 5, 1977)

Ismaili History 835 - Death of the Aga Khan III

Sultan Muhammad Shah, the Aga Khan III, the 48th Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims died at his villa in Versoix, near Geneva on 12th Zilhaja, 1376/ July 11, 1957. His son Prince Aly Khan recalling the last days of his father, said: 'Often he would ask me to play the gramophone records containing recitation of the Holy Koran. With the recitation of the Koran, I could see his lips move in silence, repeating the verse of the Koran.' He was buried in a permanent mausoleum at Aswan, overlooking the Nile in Egypt. Labib Habachi writes in 'Aswan' (Cairo, 1959, p. 76) that in 1947, the Aga Khan III visited Aswan, and decided to live some time each year in Aswan, choosing it as his last resting-place. The Begum Aga Khan, in her interview to 'Al- Ahram' (Cairo, April 23, 1992) had however said that, 'We had been coming in Aswan since 1935 when the place was not a touristic location. He (the Aga Khan III) used to say that Egypt was the flag of Islam, and he wanted to be buried there.'
In accordance with his last will, his grandson, Karim was succeeded to the Imamate as the 49th Imam. A fitting tribute was paid to him by daily English 'Dawn' of Pakistan on July 12, 1957 that, 'With the passing away of the Aga Khan, we witness the end of an era.' According to 'New York Times' (July 12, 1957), 'The Aga Khan III's death leaves our contemporary world just a little less colorful than it was.'

Ismaili History 836 - PRINCE KARIM AGA KHAN IV (1376/1957....)

He was born in Geneva on 28th Ramdan, 1355/December 13, 1936. Lady Ali Shah (d. 1938) had given his name, Karim. He was born in the wake of cataclysm in the world. From the age of four years, he acquired the rudiments of formal education from Miss Doris Lyon, the governess and a friend of his family.During the Second World War (1939-1945), when his father, Prince Aly Salomone Khan had offered his services to the Allies, the Aga Khan IV with his brother Prince Amyn Muhammad, accompanied by his mother, Princess Joan Aly Khan, had gone to Beirut, and thence to Nairobi on May 27, 1941 via Cairo, where they lived for four years. By the time, the Aga Khan IV was seven years old, he had been well versed in religious education under the tutorship of Missionary Kaderali B. Patel. In 1943, the Aga Khan IV led the Eid al-Fitr prayer amidst a large congregation of the Ismailis in the Jamatkhana, situated at Government Road in Nairobi. On that occasion, his mother remarked: 'A great accomplishment for such a small boy.' In 1944, he also visited Dar-es-Salam with his mother and brother.

At the end of the World War, the Aga Khan IV went back to Europe on May, 1945, where he joined the Le Rosey School, situated in Rolle, Switzerland. His classmates included numerous Europeans, including the Duke of Kent, the future king Baudoin of Belgium, the Prince Victor Emanuel of Italy, etc. Besides the prescribed education, the Aga Khan IV was taught Arabic, Urdu and Islamic History at home by Mustapha Kamal of Aligarh University. At the end of seventeen years, the Aga Khan's school days came to an end and proceeded to United States, where he enrolled as an undergraduate at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachussetts, where he studied with great interest. His style of living at Harvard was quite frugal. His one roomate was highly amazed to discover that he had only two suits and one pair of shoes in his closet. He even did not own a car.

Richard T. Gill, the Allston Burr Senior Tutor of Leverett House at Harvard University gives his views in these words:- 'His Highness was a good student at Harvard and a young man of exceptionally fine personal qualities. He took his studies seriously and yet found time for many extra- curricular activities, including the Islamic Association, the French Club and a variety of sports such as crew, hockey, soccer and skiing. These activities were vigorously pursued but they were not allowed to interfere with the fundamental, academic objectives of the college. In his last term at Harvard, His Highness's record won him the academic distinction of Dean's List standing. The general impression His Highness made on both Faculty and students here was an excellent one. He was completely at home with students of every background and did not in any way set himself apart from the general life of the college. He impressed those who knew him as a young man of great sensitivity and understanding who possessed both the mental and moral stature for leadership. His basic outlook was serious but he was at the same time a relaxed, pleasant companion with an amiable sense of humour. He was in the deepest sense, an outstanding citizen of the Harvard community.' (cf, 'Fatimi Sitaro' by Kadarali B. Patel, Bombay, 1958, pp. 13-4)

Initially, the Aga Khan IV studied mathematics, chemistry and general science. Soon afterwards, he started study of Islamic history and had an occasion to mix with the eminent professors, like H.A.R. Gibb, Philip K. Hitti etc. Besides his paper on 'Islamic Sects and Mysticism', his paper, 'Rise of the Nizaris and the Beginning of Dawa in Indo-Pakistan' was highly appreciated by his professors. He however could not finish his another paper on 'Free Will and Predestination in Islam' when he had to leave the University. During his stay at Harvard, he was also a member of the Hasty Pudding Club and the Islamic Association.

In 1954, the Aga Khan IV, under the instructions of his grandfather, paid a short visit to the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and East African countries with his brother. During the death of the Aga Khan III on July 11, 1957, his family members were in Geneva. Otto Giesen, a solicitor with the firm of Slaughter and May, brought the Will of the Aga Khan III to Geneva from Lloyds Bank, London, and read it at Barkat Villa before the Imam's family that:- 'Ever since the time of my ancestor Ali, the first Imam, that is to say over a period of thirteen hundred years, it has always been the tradition of our family that each Imam chooses his successor at his absolute and unfettered discretion from amongst any of his descendants, whether they be sons or remote male issue and in these circumstances and in view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes which have taken place including the discoveries of atomic science, I am convinced that it is in the best interest of the Shia Muslim Ismailia Community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age and who brings a new outlook on life to his office as Imam. For these reasons, I appoint my grandson Karim, the son of my own son, Aly Salomone Khan to succeed to the title of Aga Khan and to the Imam and Pir of all Shia Ismailian followers.'

Raymond Brandy Williams writes in 'Religions of Immigrants from India and Pakistan' (New York, 1988, p. 190) that, 'The Nizaris are the only Ismailis who claim an Imam for this time in a line that is traced to Ali: Prince Karim Shah, Aga Khan IV, is followed as the forty-ninth Imam with the designation (nass) traced back to Muhammad.'

Upon his accession to the Imamate in 1957 at the age of twenty, he interrupted his undergraduate studies at Harvard for a year to visit to the various Ismaili communities, during which time he was installed to the Imamate in a number of enthronment ceremonies held in Dar-es-Salaam, Nairobi, Kampala, Karachi and Bombay. Having toured for 18 months, the Aga Khan IV returned to Harvard, where he worked twice as hard, studying as well as guiding the community. He took eight courses instead of four and wrote thesis on relation between Druze and Maronites in Lebanon from 1829 to 1835. He was awarded the degree of M.A. on July 11, 1959 at Harvard, and thus, he remained about 23 months as a student of Harvard University during his Imamate period. He also granted 50,000 dollars worth scholarships for students from the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, India, Iran and Afghanistan. Already, a large sum had been donated to introduce the Aga Khan Chair of Islamic Studies at the Harvard and Beirut Universities.

Ismaili History 837 - Takhat Nashini Celebrations

The first ceremonial Takhat Nashini of the Aga Khan IV commemorated in Dar-es-Salaam on October 19, 1957 amid great pomp and splendour, and was attended by 30,000 Ismailis. The next Takhat Nashini took place in Nairobi on October 22, 1957 in presence of 18,000 Ismailis. Willi Frischauer gave a brief account of the event in his 'The Aga Khans' (London, 1970, p. 222) that, 'On a smaller scale, the Nairobi Takhat Nashini was a repetition of the Dar-es-Salaam ceremony. In the grounds of the Aga Khan Club the lone figure of the young new leader seated on the throne set high amid his people was strangely appealing. The red robes and gold turbans of the Ismaili dignitaries who invested him with robe, pagri, sword, chain and ring made a vivid picture such as Kenya had not seen before. The dais, a mass of flowers, red, blue, white and yellow, and the throne, flanked by great vases of roses, stood out against the background of flags fluttering gently in the slight breeze. A thousand people of all races gathered at the social function that evening to greet the Aga Khan who arrived with the Governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring. There was dancing to a regimental band and sumptuous dinner.'
The third ceremonial Takhat Nashini took place in Kampala on October 25, 1957 among 15,000 Ismailis and other dignitaries and high officials. The next Takhat Nashini was celebrated at Karachi on January 23, 1958 in National Stadium, where a mammoth gathering was recorded to be over 1,50,000. Willi Frischauer writes,'The sound of trumpets heralded the arrival of the Aga Khan by the side of Pakistan's President - Prime Minister Malik Firoz Khan Noon and his cabinet were already in their seats. The brief act of installation was no different from the East African ritual except for the three hundred year old copy of the Holy Quran which was presented to the Aga Khan, a rare example of Arab calligraphy written in Medina by a Haji from Bokhara.' (Ibid, pp. 225-226) The fifth Takhat Nashini was celebrated in Dacca on February 12, 1958 amongst 30,000 Ismailis, and the sixth one held in Bombay on March 11, 1958 at Walla Bhai Patel Stadium, witnessed by 80,000 Ismailis.

Ismaili History 838 - Prince Aly Salomone Khan

Prince Aly Salomone Khan was born at Turin in Italy on June 13, 1911. Because he was a delicate child, his father, the Aga Khan III decided against sending him to experience the rigours of an English boarding school. He was entrusted to the care of a private tutor, Mr. C.M. Waddington, the former Principal of Mayo College for the sons of Princes in India. He finished his education at Lincoln's Inn, London, though he was not called to the bar. He was fluent in a number of European and Oriental languages. He spoke English in the right Oxford accent, and talked and gave speeches in French with rich fluency.
Prince Aly Khan visited India with his mother in 1923. The Aga Khan III sent his son in Syria in 1930 and again in 1931 where he inaugurated a school at Khawabi. He also visited India on November 21, 1931, and during the year 1932 he had been deputed to India as a representative of his father and made historical visit of Bombay and Calcutta. He also had gone to Pinang, Singapore and Rangoon. Prince Aly S. Khan was granted an honour of J.P. (Justice of Peace) by British India on November 1, 1934. His first marriage took place at Paris with Joan Guinness, known as Joan Aly Khan on May 18, 1936, who gave birth of the Aga Khan IV on December 13, 1936 and Prince Amyn Muhammad on September 12, 1937. This marriage, however, did not last long. Then on May 27, 1948, he married the famous Hollywood actress Ritta Hayworth. This marriage was not fated to go well. There was a divorce in 1953. Through this marriage, Prince Aly Khan had a daughter, Yasmin, who was born in December 20, 1949.

Prince Aly Khan obtained an aeroplane pilot's license in 1937 when he was about 26 years old, and was flying regularly. He was equally enthusiastic about motor racing and skiing. He was great at taking risks. He broke his legs three times skiing and nearly broke his neck many a time while motor racing and flying. In a biography of Prince Aly Khan, entitled 'Golden Prince' (London, 1955, p. 15), the British author Gordon Young says, 'He has always looked like a man restlessly - searching for a happiness which for most of the time seems to have eluded him like a shadow. His life has been rich but it has never seemed incomplete.'

The East Africa saw Prince Aly Khan for the first time in February, 1939 when he visited every large town and met Ismailis who were struck by his captivating youth and charm. One glaring instance is the Prince Aly Khan War Fund which he inaugurated in East Africa and which raised for the Allies a very handsome amount.

His life has been a headline parade. He was an outstanding social figure, a darling of the international set - equally at home in the West and in the East, an international sportsman, phillanthropist, soldier and an able diplomat. Unfortunately, the social gossip column writers took keen interest only in his social occupations and painted him as a playboy in florid and bombastic words. Prince Aly Khan had played a key role in the Ismaili communities and directed the different institutions from time to time. He inaugurated Aly Nursary at Bombay on February 23, 1944 and since then the opening of the nursary schools began in the community in different places.

He had rendered an outstanding military services to the Allies in the World War II (1939-1945) and joined one of the toughest fighting forces in the world - the French Foreign Legion. He saw service in the Middle East under General Waygand. In 1940, he joined the British forces in the Royal Wiltshire Yeomantry. He was promoted to Lt. Col. on October 10, 1944. Later, he was decorated for distinguished service with the U.S. Army. In an operation, aided by a British officer and two Ismaili irregulars, he captured a tank in the desert of Syria. From the French he received both the Legend of Honour and the Croix de Guerre with palms on August 15, 1944 at Paris. In 1951, he opened Kibuli Mosque at Campalla.

In November, 1957, he met President Iskander Mirza of Pakistan and was offered a service as the country's permanent spokesman in the United Nations, whose formal announcement was made on February 6, 1958. He put over Pakistan's viewpoint admirably. His Assistant at the Pakistan Mission to the U.N., Mr. Agha Shahi said: 'He sometimes worked till 10 or 11 in the night. He did not smoke, and at cocktail parties, he just ordered tomato juice for himself.' He was elected Vice-President of the U.N. General Assembly on September 17, 1958 and was also the Chairman of the Peace Observation Committee.

The tragic death of Prince Aly S. Khan took place in a car accident near Paris on the night between May 12 and 13, 1960. Field Marshall Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan said in his tribute that: 'I am deeply shocked at the sudden tragic death of Prince Aly Khan. His statesmanship, his friendliness and his personal charm will be remembered by thousands of his friends and admirers. Pakistan has lost a diplomat of the high calibre and value.'

Prince Aly Khan had expressed his wish to be buried at Salamia among Syrian Ismailis he knew and loved so well. In the meantime he was to be interred in the grounds of the Chateau de l'Horizon where a grave was dug in the lawn by the side of his study. Starting on the sad journey to the South of France, chanting and praying Ismailis carried the coffin which was covered with the red and green Ismaili flag and put it on a special train. In the coach ahead were the Aga Khan IV, Prince Sadruddin and Prince Amyn Muhammad in their compartment. Regular trains taking precedence, the trip took twelve hours and it was midnight before they arrived. Next day, at the open grave, the Aga Khan IV, palms turned skywards, recited the funeral prayers. Then Prince Aly Khan was put to rest in the temporary grave.

On Monday, the 27th Jamada I, 1392/July 10, 1972 the final burial ceremony of late Prince Aly Khan took place in Salamia, Syria according to his will. It was participated by the leaders of the community from Pakistan, India, East Africa, Europe, United States and South East Asia, including 36 delegates and four guests. Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan and Prince Amyn Muhammad were also present in the ceremony. The remains of late Prince Aly Khan was transported from Nice to Damascus by an Air France chartered Boeing on July 10, 1972 at 7.00 a.m., and it was interred in the main Jamatkhana compound with great honour. In his speech, Ahmad Nasir al-Hayek, President of H.H. The Aga Khan's Salamia Council said: 'Salamia, this town which is situated at the edge of the desert, and patiently faced many natural disasters, is very proud to have within its humble existence this selected gathering on this very sad occasion. The occasion of the Prophet's sacred family; His Serene Highness Prince Aly Khan, son of late Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah and the beloved father of the present Imam of the Ismailis.....The late Prince Aly Khan had loved Salamia and its inhabitants. To whom they represented the Arab tradition which are well known for their pride, integrity, bravery and hospitality. In this patch of our Arab land his imagination took him back, through our Islamic and Arabian history, to see his great ancestors travelling through the Arabs land to Africa, and Europe to spread Islamic ideas and Arab civilization. His great ancestors played a major role in the establishment and spreading of such civilization. As it is also well known that he in person had served Islam and Arab affairs internationally and particularly in United Nations. And as a symbol of his love and admiration he made his will to be buried here in Salamia which is loved by every Ismaili, because our glory started from its soil, and also in this soil rest the bodies of a number of his ancestors as it will have now his own.'

Mata Salamat Umm Habiba, the Begum Aga Khan recently observed her 90th birthday at Aswan in Upper Egypt on February 15, 1996. She told in an interview to 'Hello' (February 24, 1996) that, 'He (Prince Aly Khan) was a very big-hearted man and not only did he not mind being displaced by his son, he was proud of him. Aly Khan was phenomenally alive.'

Returning to the thread of our narrative, we will quote Malise Ruthven as writing in 'Islam in the World' (New York. 1991, p. 218) that, 'The Aga Khan's spiritual authority has enabled him to impose religious and legal obligations on his followers which have allowed them to adjust to modern conditions without loss of religious faith - something which Sunni Islam, with its legalistic and literalistic traditions, has found much harder to achieve. The Ismailis have become the world's most prosperous Islamic community outside the oil regions; it is a community, moreover, whose prosperity has been achieved as a result of its own efforts under a succession of astute and capable living Imams.'

The Aga Khan IV continued and extended the modernization policies of his grandfather, and closely supervised the religious and temporal affairs of his followers, through their councils, and paying regular visits to them. He has shown a particular interest in improving the socio-economic and educational conditions of the Ismailis. In the field of education, he has encouraged the Ismailis to acquire specialized and technical skills, and providing numerous scholarship in western institutions for eligible students. Currently, he supports a network of some 300 educational institutions and programmes in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and elsewhere.

On February 4, 1971, the foundation stone was laid for the Aga Khan Hospital with a medical college and nursing school at Karachi, and its nursing school was inaugurated in 1981, which was graded to the University. In sum, the Aga Khan University and the University Hospital were built at an estimated total commitment of 300 million dollars. The University's Faculty of Health Sciences consists of a School of Nursing which began classes in October, 1980 and a Medical College commissioned in September, 1983. The School of Nursing graduated its first class of nurses in December, 1983 and is programmed to educate 110 skilled nurses each year. The 721-bed Aga Khan University Hospital located on a Campass. The Medical Complex represents both a link to the great Islamic traditions of the past, and a bold progressive action aimed at addressing the health needs of the Third World.

The Aga Khan Health Services consist of an elaborate network of about 200 health programmes, including six general hospitals in different Asian and African countries. The Aga Khan Health and Education services are available to all people regardless of their caste and creed. Many new projects in these fields were launched during 1982-3 when the 25th anniversary of Silver Jubilee of his Imamate was celebrated.

Being keenly concerned with the administrative and economic efficiency of his programme, the Aga Khan promotes and finances many of his different projects in the field of health, education, rural development and social welfare through the Aga Khan Foundation, established in 1967. With headquarters in Geneva and branches in several countries, the Aga Khan Foundation now collaborates with more than thirty national and international organisations for the implementation of numerous programmes in the third world.

For the realization of his economic programmes, the Aga Khan set up the Industrial Promotion Services (I.P.S.) in 1963, operating in several Asian and African countries including Canada. It has launched more than one hundred projects in the field, ranging from textiles to modern enterprises in tourism, providing employment for ten thousand persons. All the Aga Khan's existing projects and institutions relating to the economic activities, are now absorbed into the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. The Fund, established in 1984 seeks to promote economic projects in the third world.

Being a modern Muslim leader with an international outlook, the Aga Khan has shown a profound interest in promoting a better understanding of Islam and its cultural heritage. W. Montgomery Watt writes in 'Islamic Philosophy and Theology' (Edinburgh, 1985, p. 154) that, 'Under the leadership of recent Imam, the Ismailites have given other Muslims an example of how Islamic faith may be adapted to the modern world and may lead to effective action in it.' In pursuit, he has established a number of specific institutions and programmes. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (A.K.T.C.), formed in Switzerland in 1988, promotes and focuses attention on contemporary expressions of the Islamic humanistic tradition. Its objectives are universal, perpetuating what is valuable from the past and to identify directions for the future.

The Aga Khan Award for Islamic Architecture, established in 1976, seeking to encourage architectural excellence for the Islamic world, declaring its prize like a noble prize on every three years from 1980. It includes five prizes to be awarded during 15 years, each prize will cover one lac dollars. Akbar S. Ahmed writes in 'Living Islam' (London, 1993, p. 54) that, 'In particular his (the Aga Khan IV) propagation of Islamic Architecture has allowed him to provide a lead and draw in Muslims in all over the world. The combination of tradition and modernity has generated a global feeling of Muslim pride and identity.' The students from different Islamic countries also continue to benefit from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, established in 1979 at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its mandate is to educate new generations of architects, planners, teachers and researchers. Harvard was chosen because it is a major centre of scholarship in Islamic art and architecture, and MIT because of its expertise in high technology architecture. In the long term, the Program's graduates, two thirds of whom are from the Islamic world, will serve as designers, and teachers of designers of a built environment that meets the needs of societies in transition.

In 1974, the Aga Khan IV called a meeting at Nairobi, being participated by the distinguished scholars and members of the eleven Ismailia Associations. It was followed by a Paris Conference in 1975, where an International Co-ordinating Committee was formulated under the Ismailia Association for Kenya, and also the formation of Institute of Ismaili Studies had been finalized to promote Islamic studies. Finally, the Aga Khan announced the formation of the Institute of Ismaili Studies to the world Ismaili jamats through a written message on November 25, 1977, during his birth-day celebration, which was held before three days due to the Muharram on December 10, 1977. He said: 'It gives me great happiness to inform my jamat of the formal inauguration in London of the Institute of Ismaili Studies. As my spiritual children are aware, not since the Fatimid period has there been in existence a research centre for Ismaili studies, manned especially by outstanding Ismaili men and women scholars. This is therefore a significant step in making it possible for my jamat to secure the fruits of Ismaili scholarship in the history, philosophy, theology and literature of Ismailism and Islam by virtue of an academic institution created by our own efforts and resources.'

Ismaili History 839 - Titles and Honour

None equals the selfless and valuable services of the Aga Khan IV in the world, which can be gauged from the face of the facts that he has been invested many titles to appreciate his illustrious services. The Queen of England has awarded him the title of His Highness on July 26, 1957. On August 12, 1957, the Sultan of Zanzibar invested the title of Brilliant Star of Zanzibar. During his visit to Iran for ten days, the king of Iran awarded him the title of His Royal Highness on October 24, 1959. He visited Goa for the first time, where the Portuguese government conferred the title of Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry on October 27, 1960. The President of Ivory Coast decorated the Aga Khan with the title of Grand Cross of the National Order on August 4, 1965. On his way to Europe, the Aga Khan alighted at Ugadaught, the capital of Upper Volta in West Africa, when the President awarded him title of National Order on August 5, 1965. He arrived in Tananarive, the capital of Malagasy, where the President awarded him the title of Grand Cross of the National Order of Malagache Republic on November 15, 1966. The President of Comore Island, Sayed Muhammad Shaikh awarded the Aga Khan the title of Grand Cross of the Green Crescent on November 20, 1966. It was his first visit to Pakistan with his wife when the President of Pakistan granted the title of Nishan-e-Imtiaz on January 15, 1970. The Prime Minister of Italy, Guilio Andreotti had personally received the Aga Khan on December 8, 1977 at the Palazzo Chigi, and awarded Italy's highest national award, namely Order of the Knight of the Grand Cross in recognition of his role in the development of Sardina's economy. The Aga Khan was also honoured the title of Gran Croce Della Republica Italiana by the government of Italy in 1978. His Majesty King Hasan II of Morocco conferred the grand cordon of Ouissam al-Arch, the highest Moroccon honour upon the Aga Khan on November 26, 1986 at Rabat at a dinner hosted to him at the royal palace. Dignitaries like His Royal Highness Prince Bender bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister of Morocco, Azeddina Laraki etc. were also present in the ceremony. On October 26, 1988, the Italy's President Francesco Cossiga invested the Imam the title of The Order of the Cavaliere del Lavoro at Rome, and he was the first Muslim to be so honoured in Italy. On November 7, 1990, the French President Francois Mitterand, awarded the Aga Khan at Paris, the highest national honour of Commander of the Legion d'Honneur, established by Nepoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
The World Monuments Fund recently honoured the Aga Khan IV with its prestigious Hadrian Award for his vigorous and fruitful efforts to preserve and revitalise historic cities in Islamic world on October 28, 1996 at New York.

The Aga Khan IV, the present 49th Hazar Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims has been responsible not only for guiding a progressive community of Shia Ismaili Muslims scattered all over the world, but he has also managed a vast complex of administrative, social, economical and cultural enterprises in the world today. In 1976, he moved his headquarters from Switzerland to Aiglemont, Gouvieux, near Paris.

The Aga Khan married Lady James Crichton-Stuart, nee Sarah Crocker-Poole; known as Begum Salima in Paris on October 28, 1969. The Aga Khan's first child, Princess Zahra was born on September 18, 1970. The second child, Prince Rahim was born on October 12, 1971 and the third son, Prince Husayn was born on April 10, 1974.

The separation of the Aga Khan with his wife, Begum Salima through a divorce took place at the end of 1994. The Aga Khan asked his lawyers in this context to start divorce proceeding against his wife on September 30, 1994. The divorce was officially pronounced on March 23, 1995 by a Swiss court.

On May 26, 1996, the Aga Khan IV was specially invited to address at Brown University, where he delivered the baccalaureate address to the Class in the Meeting Home of the First Baptist in United States, near the Brown University Campus. Hence, the Aga Khan was the first Muslim ever to give the Baccalaureate address at a Brown commencement in the school's illustrious 232-years history. In his speech, Mr. Vartan Gregorian, President of Brown University, said that the Aga Khan embodied the ecumenical spirit that links the three great monotheistic religion: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. He went on to say that as a major activist for civilized humanity and universal values, the Aga Khan's leadership has brought about flourishing systems for welfare, learning, housing and culture. Equally vital are his faith in education and his ability to tap the resources of European, Asian and American institutions of higher learning to enhance the well-being of human kind. 'To see how well these enlightened actions succeeded, you need only visit the Aga Khan University and the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi, where people of different faiths, races and classes receive the same high quality education and care - for that University and that Hospital are the best in the region.'

In his Baccalaureate address, the Aga Khan sought to correct the misperceptions about Islam and its followers which exist in the collective consciousness of most Western cultures. He stressed the great need for increase mutual understanding between the Islamic World and the West. He said that such understanding is more essential today because the Muslim World is one of the only two potential geo-political forces, vis-a-vis the West, on the world stage: the other being the East Asian Tigers, and also because in the wake of the Cold War, violence and cruelty are becoming rampant around the world. The Aga Khan also said that 'violence is not a function of faith' but rather an effect of demographic economic and political problems in the Muslim World leading to civil unrest and discontent. The Aga Khan further said that 'universities in the West' can help 'build a bridge across the gulf of knowledge which separates the Islamic World from the West.' This bridge, he said could be built upon a common Abrahamic monotheistic tradition and common ethical principles, founded on shared human values. It could help to adapt proven Western method of development to the specific contexts of Islamic countries.

On May 27, 1996, Brown University of Providence, Rhode Island, USA conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws upon the Aga Khan for 'service to Islam and all human kind.

In Hunza, the northern area of Pakistan, the Baltit Fort Project, a 800-year old landmark of Islamic architecture has been brought back to its former splendid by the Historic Cities Support Programme (HCSP) of The Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The Fort is restored at a total cost of $. 2.15 million by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Getty Grant Programme and the Norwegian bilatered aid programme, NORAD, committed $. 200,000 and $. 450,000 respectively to the restoration project. The restoration work was completed in about five years. Accordingly, an inauguration ceremony of Baltit Fort took place in presence of President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari of Pakistan and the Aga Khan in presence of 350 guests and delegates from all over the world. In his speech, the Aga Khan said, 'As the prime historic landmark of Hunza, the fort is a major tourist attraction and a potential source of income for the local community. It can, therefore, be expected that the restoration project itself will act as a dynamic factor of change.'

On October 17, 1996, the Aga Khan delivered a keynote address in The Commonwealth Press Union Conference at Cape Town, South Africa. Other speakers at the Conference included South Africa's Executive Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, former President and Leader of the National Party, F.W. De Klerk, and Britain's Leader of the Opposition, Tony Blair.

Being the founder and principal shareholder of Nation Printers and Publishers in Kenya, East Africa's leading publishing group, the Aga Khan said in his address that, 'The media can help prevent cultureal conflicts arising out of the communication revolution of 21st century.' He spoke of a spirit of 'creative encounter' that the media would need to engender if 'the growing demand for cultural integrity was to be reconciled with the dazzling rise of the global village.' Explaining to an audience of 300 representatives of the media from some 40 countries of the Commonwealth that the communications revolution was 'a two-edged sword, opening doors to the future, but also threatening cultures and traditional values.'

Recently, The World Monuments Fund honoured the Aga Khan IV with its prestigious Hadrian Award for his vigorous and fruitful efforts to preserve and revitalize historic cities in the Islamic world on October 28, 1996 at New York. In his keynote speech at the presentation ceremony, Cyrus Vance, a former US Secretary of State spoke of the Aga Khan's commitment to 'the preservation and renewal of societies,' noting that 'the Aga Khan has laboured through out his bridge divisions between the Muslim world and other communities, reminding us that we cannot regard Islamic society as separate from the larger community of nations.' It was an endeavour which, he said 'is especially vital today, as we face conflicts between nations and cultures.' Acknowledging the honour, the Aga Khan expressed the hope that his 'efforts for cultural rehabilitation in Islamic societies through architecture will, due to the very diversity of their world address such a wide spectrum of issues, covering such a large number of peoples and places that the lessons learned will in many cases be both universal and replicable for other societies and their inherited cultures.'

It must be known that the previous recipients of the Hadrian Award include Prince Charles, David Rockefeller, Dominique de Menil, Paul Mellon, and Marella and Giovanni Agnelli. The Aga Khan is the first Muslim leader ever to receive the Hadrian Award.

'Currently' writes Sami G. Hajjar and Steven J. Brezezinski in 'The Nizari Ismaili Imam and Plato's Philosopher King' (cf. 'Islamic Studies', vol. XVI, 1977, p. 304) that, 'The sect is led by Prince Imam Karim Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam of the sect. He is descendant of Nizar, the eldest son of the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mustansir Billah, who himself descends from al-Husayn, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.'

The Ismailis are spread almost in every corner of the world at present under the spiritual leadership of the Aga Khan. Most of the Ismailis live in their countries with their old traditions. About four distinct traditions are prevalent in the world Ismailis. In Syria, the Fatimid tradition is practised. In Central Asia, the tradition of Nasir Khusaro is in operation. The Khoja Ismailis adhered to the tradition of the Indian pirs, and the Ismailis of Iran mostly attached to the Alamut tradition. Above all, the fundamental principle of these Ismailis is to recognize the Imam of the Age. During his first visit to Moscow, the Aga Khan said to his followers on January 29, 1995 that:- 'First, let me remind you, that for all murids of the Imam, whether they are from Central Asia, from India, from Pakistan, from the Western World, the fundamental principle is the recognition of the Imam of the Time. It is he who interprets the faith. It is he who guides the jamat in the interpretation of its faith at any time during its lifetime. It is he who supports the jamats in various parts of the world, to seek , with the jamat and others, to improve the quality of life of the murids wherever they may be.'

In sum, the fundamental principle of the Ismaili Muslims is that the Imamate must be handed down in perpetuity in direct lineal descent, which has been maintained uninterruptedly for fourteen centuries, ever since Hazrat Ali, who succeeded to the Imamate. His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is recognised as the 49th Imam in a lineal descendant of Hazrat Ali through Bibi Fatima.

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan had once said, 'The future of the Ismaili faith rests in the hands of the youths of your age and mine. Are we to follow the example of those, who in Egypt, Iran and Sind raised the flag of Ismaili Imams high enough for the world to see its glory? I say, 'yes.' We should not fail where our ancestors achieved glorious success' (vide 'Ilm', London, vol. 8, nos. 2-3, Dec., 1982, p. 11).

We shall say while terminating these pages with a conclusion, that a full account of Aga Khan IV's activities, including a detailed description of his various projects for the Shia Ismaili Muslim communities of different countries, still needs to be written.