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.

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