1. Title of Aga Khan was first granted to Aga Hassanaly Shah, the 46th Ismaili Imam, by the Shah of Persia, in the 1830s (see image of vintage engraving print of Aga Khan I below)
2. His Highness to Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, 48th Ismaili Imam, by the British Government (1886)
3. His Highness by the Shan-en-Shah of Iran (1949)
|HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN’S IMAMAT (1885 – 1957) SPANNED SIX BRITISH MONARCHS AND SEVENTEEN PRIME MINISTERS|
MONARCHS (with date of ascension)
Victoria, 20 June 1837
Edward VII, 23 January 1901
George V, 6 May 1910
Edward VIII, 20 January 1936
George VI, 11 December 1936
Elizabeth II,6 February 1952
BRITISH PRIME MINISTERS (party and date of taking office)
Marquess of Salisbury, Conservative, 2 July 1895
Arthur James Balfour, Conservative, 12 July 1902
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Liberal, 5 December 1905
Herbert Henry Asquith, Liberal, Coalition, 8 Apirl 1908
David Lloyd George, Coalition, 7 December 1916
Andrew Bonar Law, Conservative, 23 October 1922
Stanley Baldwin, Conservative, 22 May 1923
James Ramsay MacDonald, Labour, 22 January 1924
Stanley Baldwin, Conservative, 4 November 1924
James Ramsay MacDonald, Labour, Coalition, 8 June 1929
Stanley Baldwin, Coalition, 7 June 1935
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, Coalition, 28 May 1937
Winston Spencer Churchill, Coalition, 11 May 1940
Clement Richard Attlee, Labour, 26 July 1945
Winston Spencer Churchill, Conservative, 26 October, 1951
Sir Anthony Eden, Conservative, 6 April 1955
Harold Macmillan, Conservative, 13 January 1957
1. Knight Commander of the Indian Empire (K.C.I.E.) by Queen Victoria, UK (1897)
2. Brilliant Star of Zanzibar by Sultan of Zanzibar (1899)
3. Shamsul Humayun (Star of Persia) by Shah of Persia (1899)
4. Star of Turkey by the Turkish Government (1899)
5. Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (G.C.I.E), by King Edward VII, UK (1902)
6. Status as a Ruling Prince for Life , by King George V, UK (1912)
7. First Class Prince of the Bombay Presidency, by King George, UK (1916); granted with a salute of 11 guns.
8. Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order ( G.C.V.O.), UK (1923)
9. Order of Omayyad’s by the Syrian Government (1951).
1. Founding member and first permanent President of the All India Muslim League, (1907-1914)
2. Permanent President of the Deccan League. (1908)
3. Life Member of the Club at MOA College (precursor of the Aligarh College) (1910)
4. Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh University, India (1921). Also founding member since 1910’s
5. Chairman of the British-Indian section to the Round Table Conference (1930)
6. Delegate of India to the League of Nations at the fourteenth meeting. (1932) He said:
“The basis of all security is a foreign policy rooted in mutual goodwill and cooperation; a foreign policy in which no country covets its neighbor’s possessions or seeks to infringe its moral and spiritual rights.”
7. First Delegate of India to the Assembly of the League of Nations (15th session (1934). He remarked on the entry of Afghanistan as a member:
“To a Muslim like me, it is no small thing that another Islamic nation is today entering the League, for I am convinced that her entry will strengthen the League in far greater measure than the number of her subjects…”
The following is an eye witness account provided by Sheikh Hussein Kidwai on Afghanistan’s entry to the League of Nations:
….I was thrilled to the bone by what the Aga Khan said when the Muslim State of Afghanistan joined the so-called League of Nations. The Aga Khan was the head of the delegation from India. While welcoming the entry of Afghanistan he said:
“India is proud of her Eastern culture, Eastern traditions, Eastern language, Eastern civilisation and with Afghanistan, eighty million Muslims of India are proud, as I am proud to belong to the Glorious Brotherhood of Islam.”
I was fortunately present on the occasion. The Hall was full with peoples of different nationalities professing different religions. The members of the League itself belonged to over fifty different nationalities. They were all educated, talented men representing their respective Governments. But none was more cultured or enlightened than His Highness the Aga Khan who had assimilated all that was best in the Eastern as well as in the Western culture. He, indeed, was most cultured of them all.
In the presence of so many learned persons who claimed to represent nations scattered all over the world stood up a man – a responsible, thoroughly educated, well-experienced, well-travelled, well-polished man, a gentleman, a nobleman, respected by one and all, – and he proclaimed at the top of his voice that he was proud to belong to the Glorious Brotherhood of Islam. The bold announcement was thrilling. The occasion when it was made was thrilling. The Aga Khan’s words raised the prestige of Islam in an assembly which was almost prejudiced against it. I was overjoyed. I am a man hard to bend before anybody – not even “before a king”. But I would gladly bow before a man who spoke from his heart those thrilling words….
8. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (1924, 1925)
9. Imperial Privy Councilor (1934).
10. President of the League of Nations (1937-38).
The election was held on September 13th, 1937 under the presidency of of M. Negrin of Spain under the following procedure (see table below):
|ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE 18TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ASSEMBLY: PROPOSAL OF THE NOMINATION COMMITTEE|
|The Chairman: Translation:The first duty of the Assembly at the present meeting is to elect its President, after hearing the report of the Nomination Committee.I call upon the Chairman of the Committee, M. Hambro, delegate of Norway, who has been asked by the Nomination Committee to lay its conclusions and proposals before the Assembly.
M. Hambro (Norway):
The Nomination Committee has met and has reached unanimity upon all its proposals.
On behalf of the Nomination Committee, I propose His Highness the Aga Khan as President of the Assembly.
The Assembly has heard the proposal of the Nomination Committee with regard to the Presidency of the Assembly. In conformity with the Rules of Procedure, the voting will be by secret ballot by roll-call.
May I call upon His Excellency M. Guani, delegate of Uruguay, and His Excellency M. Sandler, delegate of Sweden, as former Presidents of the Assembly, to be good enough to act as tellers?
(The votes of the delegations were taken in turn by secret ballot)
In the first place, I wish to thank the tellers for their kind assistance.
The result of the voting is as follows:
Number of States voting…………………………………. 50
Blank and spoilt voting-papers …………………………. 1
Valid voting papers……………………………………….. 49
His Highness the Aga Khan, delegate of India, has obtained 49 votes. I have therefore the honour to declare that His Highness the Aga Khan is elected President of the Assembly.
I am particularly happy to congratulate His Highness the Aga Khan on his election as President of the eighteenth session of the Assembly of the League of Nations. It is an honour for the latter to be presided over by so distinguished a personality as His Highness the Aga Khan, representing as he does a country, whose culture has influenced numerous civilisations, including that of Europe.
I call upon His Highness the Aga Khan to take the Presidential Chair, and I wish him every success in the proceedings over which he will preside.
(His Highness the Aga Khan took the Presidential Chair)
At the address to the Assembly, the Aga Khan said:
“With warmth of feeling at heart than I can bring to my lips, I thank you. You have done India, my country, a great honour and my delight is undisguised.”
On October 6, 1937, in a speech to the League of Nations in Geneva the Aga Khan said:
Source: Verbatim record of the 18th ordinary session of the Assembly of the League of Nations, Monday, September 13, 1937, Geneva.
1. LL.D , Oxford University (1918)
2. LL.D. by Dacca University (1951)
1. Citizenship of Le Cannet, France (1947).
2. Citizenship of Iran (1949)
1. Mr. Azeem Maherali of Atlanta, Georgia, compiled the above details specifically for this series, and Simerg acknowledges with deep gratitude the valuable and interesting contribution he has made.
2. The signed photo of the Aga Khan with Sir Merwanjee is by Sir (John) Benjamin Stone. It is a platinum print in card window mount, and dated July 1902. The actual size of the image is 8 in. x 6 1/8 in. (20.4 cm x 15.7 cm). It was given to the National Portrait Gallery by the House of Commons Library, in 1974.
3. Excerpts of eye witness account by Hussein Kidwai printed from Ilm, November 1977.
A note to all readers:
Other articles in the special Series on Aga Khan III: