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.

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