Photographer, Sarfraz Sadaruddin, Releases Two Unique 1957 Portraits of His Highness the Aga Khan Under a Creative Commons License — A First!

 

Editor’s note: Among the photos we recently published of His Highness the Aga Khan’s visit to the Aga Khan Primary School, Nairobi (see link at bottom of this page), was a unique, previously unpublished portrait of the Aga Khan. We are pleased to inform readers that the photographer of that portrait, Sarfraz Sadaruddin of Vancouver, Canada, has approached us and generously provided us not only with permission to publish his photograph, but also a sister portrait taken at the same time (both of which are reproduced below). He has also provided special permission, under a Creative Commons License, for others to use these portraits, subject to the conditions and restrictions laid out below.

Ismaili readers of this website will be particularly happy to see these two unique portraits of their beloved 49th Imam as they prepare to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Simerg takes this opportunity to offer congratulations to all Ismailis as well as the entire Muslim world on the most auspicious occasion of Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadhan, and wishes everyone barakah (happiness) and success in all walks of life. We pray for peace and unity amongst Muslims everywhere to please Almighty God, and thus gain more from Allah’s continuous and endless wonderful blessings to mankind.

 THE PORTRAITS OF HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN BY SARFRAZ SADARUDDIN

1957-copyright-sarfraz-sadaruddin-mhi-looking-his-right-FINAL-CC

By Mohib Ebrahim

During His Highness the Aga Khan’s 1957 visit to East Africa — his first after becoming Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan hosted a private function at his residence for many dignitaries — including the late Tom Mboya — and Ismaili community leaders. Sarfraz Sadaruddin, then 19, was one of the photographers covering the event and, never one to be shy, requested the Aga Khan if he could take some portraits of him. The Aga Khan graciously agreed, asking Sarfraz to proceed to the rear garden where he could take the pictures he needed while the Aga Khan was engaged with his guests there and this was when and where these two portraits were taken.

Sarfraz Sadaruddin during Expo 1986.

Sarfraz Sadaruddin during Expo 1986.

Sarfraz Sadaruddin, son of the late Rai A.M. Sadaruddin (see Voices: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – Eloquent Persian Quatrain by 48th Ismaili Imam Graces a 1923 Invitation For Talk About Imamat), was born in Nairobi, Kenya where he developed a passion for photography in his mid-teens and apprenticed with Kodak Limited for five years before moving to Hamburg, Germany, in 1960 where, on scholarship, he attended Agfa’s training college. Later, he moved to London to continue his photography studies at Ealing Technical College and then worked as a professional, freelance photographer, in the U.K. and continent, for newspapers, advertising firms and Royalty. In 1980, he moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he now resides and continues covering events.

1957-copyright-sarfraz-sadaruddin-mhi-looking-his-left-FINAL-CC

In Kenya, since the Aga Khan’s coronation in 1957 until he left in the 1960s, Sarfraz was a key, official photographer at the Aga Khan’s functions in Nairobi. He covered the 49th Ismaili Imam’s Nairobi Enthronement (Takhtnashini) Ceremony, the opening ceremony of the Platinum Jubilee Hospital, now the Aga Khan University Hospital, and the entire Kenya leg of the 1959 visit including opening ceremony of the Aga Khan High School. He was also invited to cover the Aga Khan’s visit to the Aga Khan Primary School and many other private events the Aga Khan attended or hosted.

In London, Sarfraz was invited to cover the Foundation Stone ceremony of the Ismaili Centre as well as the Aga Khan’s community visits and functions.

Sarfraz Sadaruddin taking pictures during His Highness the Aga Khan's Vancouver Silver Jubilee visit in 1983.

Sarfraz Sadaruddin taking pictures during His Highness the Aga Khan’s Vancouver Silver Jubilee visit in 1983.

In Vancouver, Sarfraz continued to cover the Ismaili Imam’s visits, including extensive coverage of the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Burnaby, which took place in the presence of then Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, then British Columbia Premier, Bill Bennett, and His Highness the Aga Khan.

Also in Vancouver, outside of the community, Sarfraz was an official press photographer for many visits of Royalty as well as the World Expo, 1986. Key Expo events he covered include the opening by His Royal Highness Prince of Wales and the late Princess Diana and twenty “National Days.” He was complimented by the then Lieutenant Governor of BC, The Hon. Robert G. Rogers, for his outstanding work.

Simerg welcomes feedback on this post. Please click on Comment.

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LIMITED PERMISSION TO REUSE THE PORTRAITS 

In order that the Jamat may enjoy and use these two portraits, Sarfraz is releasing them under under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND) — the first time, to my knowledge, photographs of Mawlana Hazar Imam, have been so generously shared for the Jamat to enjoy without fear of copyright infringement. Please note the images are still copyright and not in the public domain, but the license does allow them to be re-used non-commercially, without modification and with credit as embedded in the images and set out as below, including the web-link:

His Highness the Aga Khan portrait, Kenya, 1957 by Sarfraz Sadaruddin, © 1957 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).

Sarfraz kindly requests that all those who have copied and republished his photograph from the original posting on Simerg and its sister photoblog Simergphotos, to please add the above credit and replace their images with the one published here.

Date posted: Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Copyright: Mohib Ebrahim. 2014.

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About the Author: Mohib Ebrahim is Sarfraz’s nephew, grandson of the late Rai A.M. Sadaruddin and founder of the NanoWisdoms Archive (http://www.nanowisdoms.org), a unique website dedicated solely to the Ismaili Imamat’s speeches, interviews and writings launched in 2011 upon receiving special permission from Aiglemont to publish the Aga Khan’s speeches. With over 500 readings and thousands of quotes it is the most comprehensive, public collection of Imamat knowledge available today.

Some of Mohib’s other articles on this website:

1. His Highness the Aga Khan and Canada: A Profound Affinity – But Why Canada?
2. Topan, Paroo and Visram – The Three Kings Without Crowns

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Link to photos taken at the Aga Khan Primary School:

My Late Mother, Jean Kirk, and Her Special Collection of Rare Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visits to the Aga Khan Primary School in Nairobi by Allison Wallace

Imamat Day Mubarak: The House of Imran and the Progeny of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s)

Chapter 3 Surat al ʿIm'ran - The Family of Imran - 33 and 34

~~~~~~~~~Art work Nurin Merchant, Credit: Infinity design povray.org

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“We search for a union with the family of the Chosen (Prophet Muhammad). We search for the truth of son after son. We are totally obedient to his offspring, one of the other. There is no other thing we can add to this but itself. We endeavour in our faith so that we do not turn out to be faithless.”
Ismaili poet NIZAR QUHISTANI

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Aga Khan III

Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III, is pictured above at his enthronement as 48th Imam of the Shia Ismaili Ismaili Muslims in Bombay at the age of seven. His reign lasted for 72 years. In his will, he proclaimed Prince Karim Aga Khan as the 49th Imam with the following words:

“Ever since the time of my first ancestor Ali, the first Imam, that is to say over a period of thirteen hundred years it has always been the tradition of our family that each Imam chooses his successor at his absolute and unfettered discretion from amongst any of his descendants whether they be sons or remoter male issue.

“In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes which have taken place including the discoveries of atomic science I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shia Moslem Ismailian Community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age and who brings a new outlook on life to his office as Imam.

“I appoint my grandson Karim, the son of my son Aly Salomone Khan to succeed to the title of Aga Khan and to be the Imam and Pir of all my Shia Ismailian followers.”

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Aga Khan IV enthronement at Villa Barakat in Geneva

Through the special designation (or the Nass) of the late Imam, Shah Karim al-Hussaini became the 49th hereditary Imam of the Nizari Ismailis at the age of twenty.

Shortly after, the newly enthroned Imam met Ismaili leaders and representatives from around the world, and also made the following statement:

“My grandfather dedicated his life to the Imamat and Islam, both of which came first, and above all other considerations. While I was prepared that one day I might be designated the Aga Khan I did not expect it so soon. I follow a great man in a great responsibility and he could have given me no more appreciated honour than to bequeath me this spiritual leadership. My life, as his, will be dedicated to the service of my followers.”

Date posted: July 10, 2014, 23:26 EDT.

The Imamat: By His Highness the Aga Khan, the Ismaili Constitution, Azim Nanji and Abbas Hamdani

“…The Ismaili Imamat is a supra-national entity, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet…” -- His Highness the Aga Khan, February 2014

His Highness Aga Khan signing his book "Where Hope Takes Root" for the Premier of British Columbia during his 2008 visit to the province to celebrate his Golden Jubilee. Ismailis will be celebrating his 57th Imamat Day on July 11, 2014. Please click on image for Imamat article. Photo: With permission of The Vancouver Sun. Copyright.

His Highness Aga Khan signing his book “Where Hope Takes Root” for the Premier of British Columbia during his 2008 visit to the province to celebrate his Golden Jubilee. Ismailis will be celebrating his 57th Imamat Day on July 11, 2014. Please click on image for Imamat article. Photo: With permission of The Vancouver Sun. Copyright.

Please click: On the Imamat and Ismailis: By His Highness the Aga Khan, the Ismaili Constitution, Azim Nanji and Abbas Hamdani

His Highness the Aga Khan on Tunisia’s New Constitution + the Constitution’s Preamble

“In Tunisia…a new ‘consensus’ constitution with 94 per cent approval from the elected Constituent Assembly reaffirmed the Islamic identity of the Tunisian state, while also protecting the human rights of religious and ethnic minorities” — His Highness the Aga Khan, Ogden Lecture, Brown University, March 10, 2014

Please click: His Highness the Aga Khan on Tunisia’s New Constitution, with English Translation of the Constitution’s Preamble

Location of Tunisia in North Africa. Please click on map for remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan

Location of Tunisia in North Africa. Please click on map for remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan

Please click: His Highness the Aga Khan on Tunisia’s New Constitution, with English Translation of the Constitution’s Preamble

On Canada Day, Reflections of Canada Through Images and Quotes of His Highness the Aga Khan

OTTAWA’S EMERGING SKYLINE

Please click on images for enlargement

A scene of Ottawa's emerging skyline inscribed on a stone plaque as seen from Gatineau, Quebec, across the Ottawa River. The  inscription reads as follows: "Canada has grown and evolved and so have the country's institutions. In 1867, the new Parliament Buildings welcomed the country's first government. When Canada became independent from Britain in 1931, new federal institutions were built to support the country's "coming of age." In 1967, Canadians celebrated the country's centennial year and their shared English and French heritage. The government embraced this ideal, and in the 1970's extended the federal public service into Quebec - a first step toward the creation of a bilingual and culturally representative capital region." Buildings represented on the plaque (l to r) 1 - National Gallery of Canada; 2 - Embassy of the United States of America; 3 - Canad Revenue Agency; 4 - The Parliemanrt Buildings, 5- Confederation Building; 6 - Department of Justice; 7 - Supreme Court of Canada, and 8 - National Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

A scene of Ottawa’s emerging skyline inscribed on a stone plaque as seen from Gatineau, Quebec, across the Ottawa River, metres from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The inscription reads as follows: “Canada has grown and evolved and so have the country’s institutions. In 1867, the new Parliament Buildings welcomed the country’s first government. When Canada became independent from Britain in 1931, new federal institutions were built to support the country’s “coming of age.” In 1967, Canadians celebrated the country’s centennial year and their shared English and French heritage. The government embraced this ideal, and in the 1970’s extended the federal public service into Quebec – a first step toward the creation of a bilingual and culturally representative capital region.” Buildings represented on the plaque (l to r) 1 – National Gallery of Canada; 2 – Embassy of the United States of America; 3 – Canada Revenue Agency; 4 – The Parliament Buildings, 5 – Confederation Building; 6 – Department of Justice; 7 – Supreme Court of Canada, and 8 – National Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

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His Highness the Aga Khan on Canada

His Highness the Aga Khan is applauded by the Prime Minister, Members of the House, as well as other distinguished visitors as he arrives  in the House of Commons on Thursday, February 27, 2014 to deliver a rare address - the first by a faith leader in 75 years. The Ottawa Citizen published a similar photo on its front page of Friday February 28, giving it the title "In Divine Company." Alongside the Ismaili Imam are his daughter Princess Zahra and the Prime Minister's wife, Laureen Harper. Others in the photo, in rows adjacent to Mrs. Harper (l to r) -- 1st row: The Aga Khan's younger brother, Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, Former Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and renowned Canadian author, intellectual and philosopher,  John Ralston Saul; 2nd row (l to r). President Malik Talib of the Aga Khan Ismaili Councli for Canada, Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Princess Salwa Aga Khan and her husband Prince Rahim Aga Khan - with both the Princes in the photo being the Aga Khan's children. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

His Highness the Aga Khan is applauded by the Prime Minister, Members of the House, as well as other distinguished visitors as he arrives in the House of Commons on Thursday, February 27, 2014 to deliver a rare address – the first by a faith leader in 75 years. The Ottawa Citizen published a similar photo on its front page of Friday February 28, giving it the title “In Divine Company.” Alongside the Ismaili Imam are his daughter Princess Zahra and the Prime Minister’s wife, Laureen Harper. Others in the photo, in rows adjacent to Mrs. Harper (l to r) — 1st row: The Aga Khan’s younger brother, Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, Former Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and renowned Canadian author, intellectual and philosopher, John Ralston Saul; 2nd row (l to r). President Malik Talib of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Canada, Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Princess Salwa Aga Khan and her husband Prince Rahim Aga Khan – with both the Princes in the photo being the Aga Khan’s children. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

A VISION FOR THE OTTAWA RIVERFRONT?…. ISMAILI COMMUNITY AND CANADA

“In just three years, Canada will mark its 150th anniversary, and the whole world will be ready to celebrate with you. Sharing Canada’s robust pluralistic history, is a core mission of our Global Centre, and 2017 will be a major opportunity for doing so, operating from its headquarters in the former War Museum on Sussex Drive. Perhaps 2017 and the celebrations can be a catalyst with our neighbours to improve the entire riverfront area around that building.

“Our partnership in Canada has been immensely strengthened, of course, by the presence for more than four decades of a significant Ismaili community. Like most historic global communities the Ismaili peoples have a variegated history, but surely our experience in Canada has been a particularly positive chapter.

“I happily recall the establishment of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat here in 2008 and the Prime Minister’s description that day of our collaborative efforts to make Canada “the headquarters of the global effort to foster peace, prosperity, and equality through  pluralism. [1]

Parliament Buildings from the spot where the top image was taken. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Parliament Buildings from the spot where the top image was taken. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright.

A statue of French explorer Samuel de Champlain at Nepean Point in Ottawa. The explorer is  seen holding his famous astrolabe upsidedown. Nepean Point is a hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, overlooking the Ottawa River, Parliament, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and other features of downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. It is located between the National Gallery of Canada and Alexandra Bridge. The sculpture was made by Hamilton MacCarthy in 1915. Photo: Malik Merchant, Copyright.

A statue of French explorer Samuel de Champlain at Nepean Point in Ottawa. The explorer is seen holding his famous astrolabe upsidedown. Nepean Point is a hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, overlooking the Ottawa River, Parliament, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and other features of downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. It is located between the National Gallery of Canada and Alexandra Bridge. The sculpture was made by Hamilton MacCarthy in 1915. Photo: Malik Merchant, Copyright.

The rock crystal shaped dome of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat  shown just above the top deck of a boat on the Ottawa River, beneath Ottawa's Royal Alexandra Bridge. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

The rock crystal shaped dome of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat shown just above the top deck of a boat on the Ottawa River, beneath Ottawa’s Royal Alexandra Bridge. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

CANADA – A HAVEN OF PEACE

“Canada is an international power who takes her responsibilities seriously and whose policies have never in her history been tainted by the cruder forms of colonialism, racialism or isolationism. [2]

“Successful experience with democracy, civil society and pluralism are the national genius of Canada of which much of the developing world is in dire need. [3]

“Canada remains for the rest of the world an enviable haven. A haven of peace, and of immense natural beauty and wealth. The wealth I speak of, is not merely its natural resources but the peoples of Canada, steeped in your tradition of tolerance, generosity and compassion in alleviating human suffering and respect for diversity of thought and culture.” [4]

His Highness the Aga Khan and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, face eager cameras at the Canadian Parliament Building on Thursday, 27 February, 2014. An oil on canvas painting of The Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Prime Minister (1867-1873; 1878-1891) adorns a wall as part of the House of Commons Heritage Collection, while the Ismaili Imamat and Canadian Flags form a backdrop in this historical photo. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

His Highness the Aga Khan and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, face eager cameras at the Canadian Parliament Building on Thursday, 27 February, 2014. An oil on canvas painting of The Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Prime Minister (1867-1873; 1878-1891) adorns a wall as part of the House of Commons Heritage Collection, while the Ismaili Imamat and Canadian Flags form a backdrop in this historical photo. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

CANADA – MOST SUCCESSFUL PLURALIST SOCIETY ON EARTH

“Canada is a country that has invested in making this potential liability [of pluralism] become an asset, and I think that Canada has been perhaps too humble in its own appreciation of this global asset. It’s a global asset, and few countries, if any have been as successful as Canada has. [5]

The Old Canadian War Museum will become the future site of the Global Centre for Pluralism, once renovations  are completed inside the building. The Centre is governed by an international Board of Directors chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Global Centre for Pluralism was inspired by the example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, and works to advance respect for diversity worldwide, believing that openness and understanding toward the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.

The Old Canadian War Museum will become the future site of the Global Centre for Pluralism, once renovations are completed inside the building. The Centre is governed by an international Board of Directors chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Global Centre for Pluralism was inspired by the example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, and works to advance respect for diversity worldwide, believing that openness and understanding toward the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.

“Canada is today the most successful pluralist society on the face of our world. Without any doubt in my mind. You have created the perfect pluralist society where minorities, generally speaking, are welcome, they feel comfortable, they assimilate the Canadian psyche, they are allowed to move forward within civil society in an equitable manner, their children are educated. So Canada has succeeded in putting together a form of pluralist society which has been remarkably successful. I’m not the one who’s making a judgement.” [6]

Date posted: July 1, 2014.

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[1] House of Commons, Thursday, February 27, 2014.
[2] Diplomatic Banquet (Toronto, Canada), 19 November 1978.
[3] The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Foundation Stone Ceremony (Ottawa, Canada), 6 June 2005.
[4] Diplomatic Corps Banquet (Toronto, Canada), 19 August 1992.
[5] CBC Interview, One-on-One with Peter Mansbridge (Ottawa, Canada), 28 October 2006. Click One on One: Peter Mansbridge Interview with His Highness the Aga Khan
[6] Globe and Mail Interview (3rd), John Stackhouse and Patrick Martin (Toronto, Canada), 30 January 2002

Please also click His Highness the Aga Khan and Canada: A Profound Affinity – But Why Canada?

A Collection of Inspiring Stories, Readings and Photo Essays of the Ismailis of Tajikistan

EVERY LINK ON THIS PAGE IS WORTH A CLICK

His Highness the Aga Khan's First Historic Visit to Badakhshan

His Highness the Aga Khan’s First Historic Visit to Badakhshan

“Shukr Mawlo, Shukr Mawlo” – When Hope is All You Have Left, a Story for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Salgirah by Gulnor Saratbekova (Uruguay/Tajikistan)

Literary Reading: The Mystery of the Missing Mount Nasir Khushraw

Olivier Galibert: Ismaili Portraits from Tajikistan by Olivier Galibert (France)

Voices: A Western Correspondent’s Account of the Aga Khan’s Historic First Visit to His Followers in Gorno-Badakhshan

Photo  Gallery: Ismaili Portraits From Tajikistan (I) by A. M. Rajput, UK

Literary Reading: Shi’a Ismaili Tradition in Central Asia – Evolution, Continuities and Changes

“Ba Shokouh” – The Magnificent Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Matthieu Paley: Journey to the Roof of the World (Portraits of Ismailis)

 

Openness to Diversity and Pluralism in Human Hearts and Minds Necessary for Humanity’s Progress and Social Convergence, Says His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam, at North-South Award Ceremony

The following are thematic excerpts from remarks made by His Highness the Aga Khan at the North-South Prize Ceremony, Senate Hall, Parliament, Lisbon, on June 12, 2014.

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

THE CEREMONY’S SIGNIFICANCE

 His Excellency Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the President of the Republic of Portugal presents His Highness the Aga Khan with the 2013 North-South Prize. - Photo: AKDN/ José Manuel Boavida Caria


His Excellency Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the President of the Republic of Portugal presents His Highness the Aga Khan with the 2013 North-South Prize. – Photo: AKDN/ José Manuel Boavida Caria

This award, first of all, has special significance because of who shares it – Madame Suzanne Jabbour. Her dedication to those who are tortured is an example that inspires us all. I know she will agree when I mention the list of those – from both South and North – who have received this award since 1995. It is a moving experience to have one’s work recognized alongside theirs.

…this prize has particular meaning because of those who organize it – the men and women of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, who contribute so much to advancing democratic citizenship in our world. The Aga Khan Development Network has been proud to join with the Centre in distinguished projects such as the annual Lisbon Forum held at the Ismaili Centre.

The significance of this award is also enhanced for me by the fact that it has been presented by the President of Portugal, in the presence of so many eminent leaders, and in this splendid Parliamentary setting.

THE IMAMAT, AKDN, PORTUGAL AND THE NORTH-SOUTH PRIZE

The Ismaili Imamat and the Aga Khan Development Network have had a long, close relationship with Portugal, built on shared values. Over many centuries, Portugal has welcomed and integrated people of diverse cultures. It was here on the Iberian Peninsula that Al-Andulus flourished for so long as a model of effective pluralism, a home for Christian and Jewish peoples that was also part of an Islamic empire….

The North-South prize affirms principles which have long been animated and sustained by the work of the Aga Khan Development Network. Our Network seeks in many ways to improve the quality of human life, in health, education, in cultural and economic development. But our core conviction is that human progress depends on human cooperation, even across difficult lines of division.

 A PLEA FOR RICHER DIALOGUE, DEEPER EDUCATION AND RECOGNITION OF THE BLESSINGS OF PLURALISM

His Highness the Aga Khan addresses the North-South Prize Ceremony in the Senate Hall of the Portuguese Parliament as His Excellency Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the President of the Republic of Portugal and President of the Assembly of the Republic, Maria Assunção Esteves look on. - Photo: AKDN/ José Manuel Boavida Caria

His Highness the Aga Khan addresses the North-South Prize Ceremony in the Senate Hall of the Portuguese Parliament as His Excellency Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the President of the Republic of Portugal and President of the Assembly of the Republic, Maria Assunção Esteves look on. – Photo: AKDN/ José Manuel Boavida Caria

As I observe the world, I am struck by the insufficiency of well-informed debate, of richer dialogue, of deeper education in our quest to avoid human conflict. That insufficiency often plagues relations between the North and the South– and increasingly between the North and the Islamic world. Some have called this a clash of civilizations—I think it is, essentially, a clash of ignorances. What it means, in any case, is that institutions such as the North-South Centre have never been more important.

A related problem is the failure of so many to recognize that pluralism is not only a growing fact of life but also a blessing for their communities—an opportunity to be welcomed rather than a threat to be feared.

Since ancient times, great cultures have thrived because of their openness to diversity, and not because of their exclusivity.

ANTONIO GUTERRES AT GLOBAL CENTRE FOR PLURALISM

It was to address this issue that the Government of Canada and I created a new Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa in 2006.

Recently the Global Centre held its Third Annual Pluralism Lecture….our guest lecturer was Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 2005….His recent Lecture described, eloquently, the unprecedented scale and severity of the world’s refugee crises. He addressed, passionately, the moral challenge this crisis presents, the tragic impulse of some to exploit it, and the critical importance of standing together on behalf of human tolerance. I commend his words to you; they resonate powerfully with the purposes of the North-South Centre.

We inhabit an overcrowded and interconnected planet and yet we share a common destiny. A weakness or pain in one corner can rapidly transmit itself across the globe. The pervasive rejection of pluralism in all its forms plays a significant role in breeding destructive conflicts.

An example is the current situation in the Middle-East, where conflict is having a profound destabilising impact — in the region but also well beyond — including here in Europe.

TRADITIONAL VALUES AND THE GIFT OF PLURALISM

Instability is infectious, but so is hope. And that it is why it is so important for us to carry the torch of hope as we seek to share the gift of pluralism.

Pluralistic values have been articulated since ancient times. Profound expressions about our common humanity are embedded in the world’s great religious traditions, including my own. But now it is for us to re-articulate those traditions. As we do so, our support for one another can be a source of renewed and growing strength.

WHAT CAN SAVE US?

It is ironic that a sense of intensified conflict comes at a time of unprecedented breakthroughs in communication technology. At the very time that we talk more and more about global convergence, we also seem to experience more and more social divergence. The lesson it seems to me is that technologies alone will not save us– the critical variable will always be and will always lie in the disposition of human hearts and minds.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share with all of you in this experience – and in the great purposes to which it calls us.

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For complete speech and photo gallery please visit the following websites:

http://www.akdn.org
http://www.theismaili.org

For links to numerous other pieces on the Award Ceremony please click on http://www.ismailimail.wordpress.com.

For a comprehensive coverage of the speeches of His Highness the Aga Khan, please click on http://www.nanowisdoms.org.

The Holy Qur’an: An Anecdote from His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visit to an Ismaili Religious Night School

In this piece Kamaluddin Mohammed, a prominent and highly respected Ismaili scholar and missionary explains the importance of studying the Holy Qur’an, and gives an anecdote from a religious night school visit made by the current 49th Imam of the Ismailis, His Highness the Aga Khan, during his visit to India in 1967.

PLEASE CLICK:  Ismaili Children’s Understanding of the Holy Qur’an Gives Immense Happiness to Mawlana Hazar Imam

Calligraphy writing has been a preeminent Islamic art since the seventh century when the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad and recorded in the Arabic language. Controlled, angular lettering called Kufic script was commonly employed in the writing of early Qurans. This folio from the Qur'an, is Sura 9, "Repentance" (al-Tauba), verses 31-32, Near East or North Africa, ca. 900. Photo:  Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Please click on image for article.

Calligraphy writing has been a preeminent Islamic art since the seventh century when the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad and recorded in the Arabic language. Controlled, angular lettering called Kufic script was commonly employed in the writing of early Qurans. This folio from the Qur’an, is Sura 9, “Repentance” (al-Tauba), verses 31-32, Near East or North Africa, ca. 900. Photo: Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Please click on image for article.

His Highness the Aga Khan Shows Path to Renew and Re-Express the Post Millennium Development Goals Agreed on by World Leaders in 2000

Compiled and presented by Abdulmalik Merchant
(Editor-Publisher, http://www.simerg.com and http://www.simergphotos.com)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper receiving an explanation about an exhibit displaed at the summit Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s. Phooto: The website of the Prime Minister of Canada.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper receiving an explanation about an exhibit displayed at the summit Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach. Photo Credit: The website of the Prime Minister of Canada.

Editor’s note: In 2000 world leaders joined together in an unprecedented UN summit to develop a blueprint to meet the needs of the world’s poorest, with the targeted date of 2015.  The leaders along with the support of worldwide institutions set the following eight goals in what became known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):

  • Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
  • Achieve Universal Primary Education
  • Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
  • Reduce Child Mortality
  • Improve Maternal Health
  • Combat HIV AIDS Malaria and Other Diseases
  • Ensure Environmental Sustainability
  • Develop a Global Partnership for Development

A special summit in Toronto under the theme Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach, is addressing some of the MDGs goals and we are pleased to publish below excerpts from His Highness the Aga Khan’s remarks made at the summit on May 29, 2014.

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Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim

His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam and the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s), delivers keynote remarks at the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit in Toronto on 29 May 2014. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam and the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s), delivers keynote remarks at the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit in Toronto on 29 May 2014. Photo: The Ismaili/Zahur Ramji.

I. THE ISMAILI IMAM EXPLAINS HIS PRESENCE

“Like you, I am here today because of my conviction that improving maternal, neonatal and child health should be one of the highest priorities on the global development agenda. I can think of no other field in which a well-directed effort can make as great or as rapid an impact.

“I am here, as well, because of my enormous respect for the leadership of the Government of Canada in addressing this challenge. And I am here too, because of the strong sense of partnership which our Aga Khan Development Network has long experienced, working with Canada in this critical field.

“Leadership and partnership – those are words that come quickly to mind as I salute our hosts today and as I greet these distinguished leaders and partners in this audience.”

II. THE MUSKOKA INITIATIVE AND ONE OF ITS OFF-SHOOTS

“Mr Prime Minister – I recall how our partnerships were strengthened four years ago when you launched the Muskoka Initiative. It led to an important new effort in which our Network has been deeply involved in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Mali.

“In all of these efforts, we’ve built on our strong history of work in this field. It was 90 years ago that my late grandfather founded the Kharadhar Maternity Home in Karachi. In that same city, for the last thirty years, the Aga Khan University has worked on the cutting edge of research and education in this field – including its new specialised degree in midwifery.”

III. WHAT THE AGA KHAN UNIVERSITY’S NEW REPORT REVEALS, AND HOW THE WORK OF AKDN WORK IMPACTS MILLIONS

“One of our Aga Khan University scholars [Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta] helped fashion the new series of reports on this topic that was released last week – an effort that involved more than 54 experts from 28 institutions in 17 countries. The reports tell us that right intensified steps can save the lives of an additional 3 million mothers and children annually.

“To that end, our Development Network has also focused on building durable, resilient healthcare systems. One example is the not-for-profit health system by the Aga Khan Health Service in Northern Pakistan – a community-based network of facilities and health workers, including a growing number of nurse-midwives.

Photo: The Government of Canada.

Photo: The Government of Canada.

“We have extended these approaches to other countries, including a remarkable partnership in Tanzania funded by the Canadian government and implementing in close partnership with the Tanzanian government.

“Such AKDN activity now serves some two-and-a-half million people in 15 countries, with 180 health centres both in urban and rural areas, often in high-conflict zones, and embracing some of the world’s poorest and most remote populations.

“Last year alone, these facilities served nearly 5 million visitors, inpatients and outpatients, with more than 40,000 newborn deliveries.

IV. HIS HIGHNESS SHARES WHAT HIS NETWORK
HAS LEARNED FROM EXPERIENCE

“So our experience has been considerable. But what have we learned from it? Let me share a quick overview.

1. Sustainable Systems

“First, I would underline that our approaches have to be long-term. Sporadic interventions produce sporadic results, and each new burst of attention and activity must then start over again. The key to sustained progress is the creation of sustainable systems.

2. Local Ownership

“Second, our approaches should be community-oriented. Outside assistance is vital, but sustainable success will depend on a strong sense of local “ownership”.

3. Broad Health-Care Focus

“The third point I would make is that our approaches should support the broad spectrum of health care. Focusing too narrowly on high-impact primary care has not worked well – improved secondary and tertiary care is also absolutely essential.

4. New Financial Models – Savings Groups, Debts Financing, Tax-Privileged Donations

“Our approaches should encourage new financial models. Donor funding will be critical, but we cannot sustain programmes that depend on continuing bursts of outside money. Let me underscore for example, the potential of local “savings groups” and micro-insurance programmes, as well as the under utilised potential for debt-financing. Also – and I think this is very, very important indeed – we have watched for many years as many developing countries, and their economies of course, have created new financial wherewithal among their people. These growing private resources can and I think should, help social progress, motivated by a developing social consciousness and by government policies that encourage tax-privileged donations to such causes.

5. Reaching the Hardest to Reach with Modern Communications Technology

“Our approaches should also focus on reaching those who are hardest to reach. And here, new telecommunications technologies can make an enormous impact. One example has been the high-speed broadband link provided by Roshan Telecommunications, one of our Network’s companies, between our facilities in Karachi and several localities in Afghanistan and in Tajikistan. This e-medicine link can carry high-quality radiological images and lab results. It can facilitate consultations among patients, doctors and specialists at various centres. And it can contribute enormously to the effective teaching of health professionals in remote areas.

6. Multi-Sectoral Challenges Need Effective Multi-Input Coordination

“Our approaches should be comprehensive, working across the broad spectrum of social development. The problems we face have multiple causes, and single-minded, “vertical” interventions often fall short. The challenges are multi-sectoral, and they will require the effective coordination of multiple inputs. Creative collaboration must be our watchword. This is one reason for the growing importance of public-private partnerships.

“These then are the points I would emphasise in looking back at our experience. I hope they might be helpful as we now move into the future, and to the renewal and re-expression of the Post Millennium Development Goals.”

V. THE USEFULNESS OF MEETINGS –  BUT PARTNERS MUST TALK AND WORK WELL TOGETHER THROUGH CANDID EXCHANGE

His Highness the Aga Khan, President Kikwete of Tanzania and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, who hosted the 3 days summit in Toronto. Photo: The website of the Prime Minister of Canada. Copyright.

His Highness the Aga Khan with President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, who hosted the summit in Toronto. Photo credit: The website of the Prime Minister of Canada. Copyright.

“As we undertake the new planning process, the opportunity to exchange ideas at meetings of this sort can be enormously helpful. And potential partners must be able to talk well together if they are going to work well together.

“I would hope such occasions will be characterised by candid exchange, including an acknowledgment of where we have fallen short and how we can do better. The truth is that our efforts have been insufficient and uneven. We have not met the Post Millennium Development Goals.”

VI. LEVERAGING PROGRESS THROUGH THE FIELD OF MATERNAL AND NEWBORN HEALTH

“At the same time, we must avoid the risk of frustration that sometimes accompanies a moment of reassessment. Our challenge – as always – is a balance [between] honest realism with hopeful optimism.

“And surely there are reasons to be optimistic.

“In no other development field is the potential leverage for progress greater than in the field of maternal and newborn health.”

VII. RESULTS: THE HEARTENING EXAMPLE OF AFGHANISTAN

“….I thought I might close by talking about some of the results. My example comes from Afghanistan – a heartening example from a challenging environment.

“The rural province of Afghan Badakhshan once had minimal infrastructure and few health-related resources. Less than a decade ago it had the highest maternity mortality ratio ever documented.

“It was about that time that the Afghan government, supported by international donors, contracted with the Aga Khan Health Service to create a single non-governmental health organisation in each district and in each province. Today, the Badakhshan system alone includes nearly 400 health workers, 35 health centres, two hospitals, serving over 400,000 people. Its community midwifery school has graduated over 100 young women.

“The impact has been striking. In Badakhshan in 2005, six percent of mothers died in childbirth – that is 6,000 for every 100,000 births. Just eight years later, that number was down twenty-fold – for every 100,000 live births, death has gone from 6,000 down to 300.

“Meanwhile, infant mortality in Badakhshan has fallen by three-quarters, from over 20 percent to less than 6 percent.”

VIII. CHILDBIRTH RISKS GAPS ARE NOT DESTINED – WITH SCIENCE AND EFFECTIVE COORDINATION RISKS CAN BE TRANSFORMED FOR THE BETTER

“For most of the world, science has completely transformed the way life begins, and the risks associated with childbirth. But enormous gaps still exist. These gaps are not the result of fate – they are not inevitable. They can be changed, and changed dramatically.

“When government and private institutions coordinate effectively in challenging a major public problem, as this example demonstrates, we can achieve substantial, genuine, quantifiable progress – and fairly rapidly.

“This is the story we need to remember, and this is the sort of action we need to take as leaders and as partners in addressing one of the world’s most critical challenges.”

Date posted: Friday, May 30, 2014.

________________

Photos and text used in this post compilation were obtained from the following sources.

1. http://www.pm.gc.ca (Prime Minister of Canada)
2. http://www.akdn.org (the Aga Khan Development Network)
3. http://www.theismaili.org (official website of the Ismaili Community)
4. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/mdgoverview/
(The Millennium Development Goals)

For Victoria Day, A Small Dedication to Queen Victoria, with Reflections on Her Majesty by the Aga Khans

Post compiled by Malik Merchant,
Publisher-Editor, Simergphotos.com and Simerg,com

Introduction: Victoria Day is a Federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday before May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. Following the death of three uncles and her father, she became Queen of the United Kingdom on June 20, 1837 and reigned for 63 years until her death on January 22, 1901. Queen Victoria is still the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.

OTTAWA, CANADA

Queen Victoria Monument

Queen Victoria officially chose Ottawa as Canada’s capital in 1857. Nearly forty years later, a monument to Queen Victoria, intended as part of a lavish celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the sixtieth year of her reign, was proposed for the Hill. The competition for this monument was only open to Canadian sculptors. Louis-Philippe Hébert, a sculptor from Quebec, won the contract. Before being placed on Parliament Hill, the statue was first displayed at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900.

HISTORICAL FAMILY PHOTO OF QUEEN VICTORIAQueen Victoria

Queen Victoria and family. Copyrighted by Boussod Valadon & Co. Painting by John Philip. Date created/published c.1897. Credit: USA Library of Congress Collection

QUEEN VICTORIA’S VISIT TO THE ARCTIC SHIP RESOLUTE

Queen Victoria visIts Resolute

HMS Resolute was a mid-19th-century barque-rigged ship of the British Royal Navy, specially outfitted for Arctic exploration. Resolute became trapped in the ice and was abandoned. Recovered by an American whaler, she was returned to Queen Victoria in 1856. This is an illustration of the visit of Her Majesty Queen Victoria to the Resolute on December 16th, 1856, to whom this engraving is by special permission respectfully dedicated by her obedient servants, P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. Credit: USA Library of Congress

AN INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGICAL
ACHIEVEMENT 150 YEARS AGO

Queen Victoria and President Buchanan Telegraphic Exchange

A telegraphic message of Queen Victoria and a reply by US President James Buchanan by trans-Atlantic telegraph cable on 16 August 1858. The Queen’s message congratulates the President for the completion of an electrical cable between the two nations, and wishes prosperity for the United States. In response, President Buchanan says that the accomplishment “is a triumph more glorious, because far more useful for mankind, than was ever won by a conqueror on the battlefield.” He continues, “May the Atlantic Telegraph under the Blessings of Heaven prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty and law throughout the world.” Date work created/published: 1858. Medium: 1 print : wood engraving. With vignette busts of the principals and scenes of the event; also inscribed are the names of 4 men who made the even possible: [Benj.] “Franklin”, [S.F.B.] “Morse”, [Cyrus] “Field”, and [Hans Christian] “Oersted”. Credit: USA Library of Congress Collection

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THE AGA KHANS ON QUEEN VICTORIA

0459_001-s-nf-THUMB- I -

“Over a century ago, my grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, worked closely with Her Majesty Queen Victoria and her governments in the pursuit of common ideals. These ties were further strengthened by the strong presence of the Ismaili community – initially in places which later became Commonwealth countries, and later, here in the United Kingdom.

“It is striking to me that in 1957, there were only about 100 Ismaili residents in this country, and most of them were students. Today, there are fourteen thousand Ismailis permanently living here and of all ages and walks of life.

“In 1957, there was only one Ismaili space here for congregational prayer – and that was on leased premises! Creating places of prayer as centres for community life was fundamental to ensuring the cohesion of the community, and there are now over 40 such places. Among them, of course, a central focal point is The Ismaili Centre, located in South Kensington.

All of these comments, then, speak to the context in which we gather tonight – a rich history of partnership reaching deeply into the past – and extending, we hope and trust, into an even more productive future….” — Excerpts from a speech by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Golden Jubilee Banquet in London, UK, July 3, 2008.

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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.

- II -

“The first deep impression of my life was undoubtedly when I had dinner with Queen Victoria. I was in my 20th year and that was my first visit to London. The queen was fond of Indian potentates and she kindly invited out to Windsor to dine and spend the night. She placed me next to her at the table. The queen was most gracious. She arranged that the food was served by Indians, and she spoke to me about the problems of India, the plague and all that. She was especially interested in the plague. I was young and I was particularly interested by her human element. She was then 79, you know, and the dinner was very long, with three sweet courses at the end, but she ate everything. She was dressed in black, with a white-collar. She wore a huge bracelet having a medallion of her husband, Prince Albert, on it, and one large diamond ring and several smaller diamonds. She did not wear glasses but she saw clearly and she had beautiful hearing — she could hear a whisper. She was a remarkable woman — yes, undoubtedly, I must be one of the few left alive who have dined with her” — His Highness the Aga Khan, quoted in Life Magazine, May 16, 1949.

- III -

“My life in many ways has been a bridge across vastly differing epochs. Looking at it for the moment simply from the Western point of view — I had a full life in the Victorian era, and I am leading now an equally full life in this new Elizabethan era. When I was a young man I sat next to Queen Victoria at a dinner party and talked to her throughout it; the other day I sat next to Queen Elizabeth II at a tea party and talked to her throughout it.

“In my youth the internal combustion engine was in its early, experimental phase, and the first motor cars were objects of ridicule; now we all take supersonic jet propulsion for granted, and interplanetary travel is far more seriously discussed today than was even the smallest flying venture at a time when I was quite grown up and had already lived a full and active life. I had the great honor of knowing Lord Kelvin, in his time the greatest physicist in the world; he assured me solemnly and deliberately that flying was a physical impossibility for human beings and quite unattainable. Even H. G. Wells in his early book, Anticipations, put off the conquest of the air and the discovery of atomic power for two or three centuries. Yet these and much more have come to pass in a brief half century” — His Highness the Aga Khan III, writing in Memoirs of Aga Khan, 1954.

His Highness the Aga Khan received the title “His Highness” from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on July 26th 1957. Here he is pictured with Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip when the Queen hosted a dinner hosted to mark the Ismaili Imam’s Golden Jubilee and to acknowledge the close relationship he and his family have had over generations with the British Monarchy and the UK. Photo Credit: Akdn.org

- IV -

“Queen Victoria herself was of course sharply conscious of the responsibilities, not only political but personal and social, which she had assumed with the splendid title of Empress of India. She insisted that Indian Princes and Indian gentlefolk should receive the respect and the dignified status accorded in those days to European princes and gentlefolk. The Duke of Connaught faithfully practiced her principles during his time in India. The Viceroy and Vicereine, Lord and Lady Dufferin, were, like Lord and Lady Reay, people of kind and gentle sensibility, warm hearts and graceful manners. A tone thus set could not be ignored, and Indo-British relationships in general were in this pattern.

“There is an outstanding example that I recall: Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, a notable figure in the Parsee community in Bombay, gave a reception for the Viceroy and Vicereine, Lord and Lady Dufferin, for the Governor of Bombay and his wife, Lord and Lady Reay, and for the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. Sir Jeejeebhoy, as host, offered his arm to Lady Dufferin and went into the supper room, and the Viceroy followed with his hostess, Lady Jeejeebhoy, and everyone else went after in turn. A few years later – and thereafter, until the end of the Indian Empire — it would have been inconceivable that the Viceroy, a Prince of the British Royal House and the Governor of the great province of British India, would have gone to a reception at the house of a Parsee gentleman, however distinguished, and allowed him to lead the Vicereine in first and then have followed with his hostess.” — His Highness the Aga Khan III, writing in Memoirs of Aga Khan, 1954

HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN’S GIFT TO QUEEN VICTORIA

Queen Victoria Tiara

All photos: Princess Louise, Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn

“In 1896, a year before her Diamond Jubilee, an inventory of Queen Victoria’s jewels was made by Garrard, the crown jeweler. There weren’t many tiaras on the list — only five. But one of the five on the list was this one: the tiara given to her by the Aga Khan.

“The inventory describes the tiara as, ‘A pearl and diamond tiara with 12 Bouton and 12 pear-shaped pearls with a diamond chain to form a necklace, presented by Aga Khan’.

“To my knowledge, there are no images, painted or photographed, of Victoria in this tiara. However, we do know that Victoria bequeathed the tiara to one of her daughters-in-law: Princess Louise of Prussia, the wife of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn – Elia Kay writing in her blog Tiara a Day, please click The Victorian Aga Khan Tiara.

Date posted: Saturday, May 17, 2014, for Victoria Day Holiday Weekend, Canada. The post is repeated with minor updates from an earlier version which appeared at the photoblog, http://www.simergphotos.com.