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Aga Khan III

Aga Kahn III

(1877 - 1957)

Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah, popularly known as Aga Khan III, was born at Karachi on November 2, 1877. When only 8 year old he succeeded to the Imamate, the spiritual leadership of the Ismaili Muslims. At that young age he showed great qualities of leadership and began to administer his followers' affairs under the able guidance of his mother Lady Ali Shah. History has shown that few men in the world encompass in themselves so many qualities and virtues to lead a community spread over the world. His upbringing and traditional training and education coupled with his unbounded love to acquire knowledge enabled him to enter into public life with success and dignity. In his early life he undertook extensive travels which greatly broadened his knowledge and vision, his personal prestige and international contacts. As a result of his knowledge and zeal, he soon became one of the outstanding leaders of the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent.

The spirit in which Aga Khan undertook the work of the welfare of the Muslims in south Asia is indeed remarkable. He arranged to hold the First Muslim Education conference and worked ceaselessly for the establishment of a Central University for the Muslims of India. In 19~ he was elected to present the case of the Muslims of India for 'separate electorate'. In November, 1902 he was nominated to the Imperial Legislative Council of India which in those days was a small select body of influential men still in their twenties. He was elected several times to preside over the meetings of the All-India Muslim League, All-India Muslim conference, etc. and wielded his influence to bring about political unity amongst the different factions and parties of the Muslims pf this sub-continent. He also represented the Muslims in the Round Table Conference and worked untiringly for a settlement between the major political parties of this sub-continent.

In 1932 he was nominated to represent India at the League of Nations and in 1937 was unanimously elected as the President of that body.

His eventful and crowded life came to an end on July 11, 1957. His last remains lie buried at Aswan in Egypt.



India never was one, was never a nation, never was a country governed by one single power even with the sword. It is a sub-continent of different nationalities and peoples. It was never governed, in history, by one single power. Even today, when constitutionally and legally British are ruling over India, one third India is not British. The administrative oneness is entirely the making of the British. The government, which has been in this sub-Continent for 150 or 160 years, is not a government with the sanction of the peoples.... It is the sanction of British bayonets and not the sanction of the peoples.

Muslim League Council, November 9, 1942
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