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.

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