His Highness the Aga Khan and the Bubonic Plague of 1897: How the Ismaili Imam’s Courage and Leadership Saved Countless Lives

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957), direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. Photo: Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London.

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957), direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) and 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. Photo: Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London.

“It was a grim period. The plague had its ugly, traditional effect on public morals. Respect for law and order slipped ominously. There were outbreaks of looting and violence….Drunkenness and immorality increased; and there was a great deal of bitter feeling against the Government for the haphazard and inefficient way in which it was tackling the crisis…..I knew that something must be done, and I knew that I must take the initiative. I was not, as I have already recounted, entirely without scientific knowledge” — His Highness the Aga Khan…Read more

A group comprising doctors, health and public officials gathered on a street in Bombay about to begin the day's work, during an outbreak of plague. Photo Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. Copyright. Please click on image for excerpts by His Highness the Aga Khan

A group comprising doctors, health and public officials gathered on a street in Bombay about to begin the day’s work, during an outbreak of plague. Photo Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. Copyright. Please click on image for excerpts by His Highness the Aga Khan

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