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2020: For new year and a new decade, here are 10 guiding principles of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan, for a happy, rich and meaningful life in the years ahead

NOTICE: This is to inform all readers and subscribers of Barakah and its sister websites, Simerg and Simergphotos, that we will resume regular publication on January 28, 2020. In the meantime, we invite our readers to review our table of contents for the three websites by clicking on Barakah  Simerg, and Simergphotos for links to fine pieces that you might not have read before.

Compiled and prepared by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

1. Life: An exalted destiny

Life is a great and noble calling, not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best as we can but a lofty and exalted destiny.

2. Seek harmony with God

First, I would place spiritual happiness. A man must be at one with God. This may sound old-fashioned to some people. A few may think that they do not believe in God, and some others that it matters little to the individual in his daily life how he stands with regard to Him.

Ruling out the atheist, it is surely strange that a believer in an Omnipotent and Ever-Present Deity should fail to realise that how we stand this instant and every instant toward Him matters to us more than anything else in the universe.

That is the fundamental question: Are you in harmony with God? If you are – you are happy.

3. Appreciate nature

Next I would place appreciation and enjoyment of the glories of nature. All those sunrises and sunsets – all the intricate miracle of sky colour, from dawn to dusk….then comes night – “a night of stars.” I look up at night and I know – I know the glory of the stars. It is then that the stars speak to us. All that splendid spendthrift beauty…As a very rich man treasures the possession of some unique picture, so a man should treasure and exult in the possession – his individual possession – of the sights of this unique world.

4. Be literary minded

Then comes literature – above all poetry. Poetry is the voice of God speaking through the lips of man. If great painting puts you in touch with nature, great poetry puts you in direct touch with God. It is not a soft indulgence, you need to be wide awake, with all your wits about you, to share the poet’s joys. And, indeed, happiness is never a negative affair; it is to be won by men who are fully alive, full of the joy of living.

5. Be active

Next I would place the joys of rapid movement such as you get from games like golf, tennis, football…As with literature for the mind, so with games the body feels itself vividly, happily alive.

These are the independent means of happiness. Any man may worship God, wonder at the miracle of nature, exult when he hears (in literature) the sons of God shouting for joy, and give praise for the perfection of his body in rapid movement.

6. Don’t fear marriage and parenthood

When I speak of marriage, I need not emphasize the joys of a happy marriage and fortunate parentage. They are inextricably interwoven – warp and woof of the same pattern, and the pattern is the whole of life in miniature. He who refuses that venture because of the risk is refusing life.

7. Don’t be solitary

I have no liking for hermits and other solitaries who refuse all responsibilities. They may live in a town as likely as in a desert, and their avowed purpose may be to lead holy lives; but, in fact, if they have ecstasies, they are the ecstasies of self-indulgence. My concern is not with them.

8. Reject despondency and have hope

You must remember that life will have for you many disappointments. If one-fifth of one’s hopes are realised, one is extremely lucky and fortunate, so do not be discouraged by disappointments.

Failures should be forgotten and new efforts made. Despondency is a sin, and hope a necessary part of Iman (faith) both for material wealth and, above all, for progress to spiritual enlightenment.

9. Be grateful

I should have a word to say to those who deem themselves unfortunate from a worldly point of view. I should say to them, ‘Do not look up and lament that you are not as well off as those above you. Look down and congratulate yourself that you are better off than those below you’. To a man who looks with such eyes upon the world, it is not a prison but a garden. A marvelous garden – the garden of the Lord.

10. Make struggle a joy

Struggle is the meaning of life; defeat or victory is in the hands of God. But struggle itself is man’s duty and should be his joy.

Date posted: January 1, 2020.
Last updated: January 12, 2020 (See notice at top of post)

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 190 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

References:

  • Aga Khan interview with Daily Sketch, London, on November 2, 1931.
  • The Memoirs of Aga Khan, Cassel and Company Limited, London, 1954.
  • My Philosophy of Happiness by Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah.
  • Messages of Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah – Message No. 1 published by Shia Imami Ismailia Association for Africa, 1955.
  • Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah’s Concept of Life by Kamaluddin A. Muhammad, Ilm, Volume 3, Number 2, November 1977.
  • Literary Reading: Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III – The Road to Happiness and The Concept of Life
Barakah Aga Khan articles 2019

His Highness the Aga Khan: 2019 stories behind the photos

Barakah published 64 posts in 2019. Below we provide links to 16 interesting, thoughtful and inspiring pieces. Please click on link or photo to see the corresponding article in full.

A VISIT TO A LAB IN CALIFORNIA

Barakah 2019 Aga Khan year in review

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A FASCINATING SPEECH IN THE PHILIPPINES

Barakah 2019 Aga Khan year in review Philipines

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A BEAUTIFUL REGALIA

2019 Aga Khan year in review

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THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD

Barakah 2019 Aga Khan year in review Prophet Muhammad

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THE FIRST MUSIC AWARDS

Barakah 2019 Aga Khan year in review

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PRINCES AND PRINCESSES IN ACTION

Barakah 2019 Aga Khan year in review

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RARE COLLECTION

Barakah 2019 Aga Khan year in review

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REMEMBERING TWO PRINCES

2019 Aga Khan year in review Barakah

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PASSION FOR PLURALISM

2019 Aga Khan year in review

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A CONVOCATION AND TRIBUTE IN RHODE ISLAND

The Aga Khan delivered the Baccalaureate Address at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, on May 26, 1996. On the following day, he was the recipient of Brown University’s Honourary Degree of Doctor of Laws for “service to Islam and to all of human kind.” In the photo, the Aga Khan is seen leading the Honorary Degree recipients in the Academic Procession, which also included Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman judge on the United States Supreme Court, and James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank.

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FIRST VISIT TO TATARSTAN

2019 Aga Khan year in review

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NEW AFRICAN INTERVIEW

New African editor-in-chief Anver Versi with His Highness the Aga Khan. Photo: © New African / Anver Versi

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WEDDING IN GENEVA

2019 Aga Khan year in review

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AN HONOUR IN TEXAS

2019 Aga Khan year in review

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A UNIQUE PHOTO EXHIBITION

Hussain Aga Khan, His Highness the Aga Khan and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Living Sea, Barakah

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HONOURS FROM PORTUGAL ON TWO CONTINENTS

2019 Aga Khan year in review

Date posted: December 30, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 190 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

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Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

Aga Khan III sketch, Barakah

The historic visit of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan, to Iran in 1951: Glimpses from a very rare Ismaili souvenir

Introduced and compiled by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

Portrait of Aga Khan in Iran souvenir, Barakah
Portrait of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877 – 1957), in the special souvenir “H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951,” published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

The text and photos in this post are compiled and adapted from a special souvenir which was published in 1953 by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan to commemorate the historic visit made to Iran in 1951 by Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III (1877-1957). I discovered the rare and well-preserved original copy of this precious souvenir in the archives of my late father, Alwaez Jehangir A. Merchant (1928-2018). The material for the glossy 68 page book was written in Persian by the famous Iranian writer and journalist of the time, Mohsin Saee, and compiled and translated into English by Professor Abbas Sabzwari. Readers should note that the highlights of the visit which are presented here have been substantially condensed.

His Highness the Aga Khan in Iran

Front cover of special souvenir commemorating Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah’s visit to Iran in 1951. The glossy 68 page hardcover book was published in 1953 by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

All the material that follows has been compiled and adapted from a special 1953 Ismailia Association for Pakistan Souvenir authored by MOHSIN SAEE and translated by ABBAS SABZWARI

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

In 1950, Prince Aga Khan, (1877-1957), was declared an Iranian citizen and was awarded the distinguished title of Hazratwala, or His Royal Highness, by the Shah of Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. This was ahead of the Shah’s second marriage in 1951 that Prince Aga Khan and Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan attended.

The dignified descendant of Hazrat Ali was elected in 1937 the President of the League of Nations. He is a man of letters. The poems of Hafiz, Shirazi, and verses of Sa’di, Qaani, Khaqani and others are stored up in his extensive memory. He has mastered the peculiarities of these poets and gained an insight into the mysteries of life.

Aga Khan III on horse, Barakah and Simerg
A captivating photo of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah on a horse which appears in the special souvenir marking the Imam’s visit to Iran in 1951. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

Prince Aga Khan is simple and unostentatious, noble and courteous, sweet and good natured. It is with these attributes that this great man gives a lead to the Ismailis of the world, who are devoted to him with greater faith and loyalty than is enjoyed even by kings.

Aga Khans I, II and III and Lady Aly Shah
Imam Shah Hassanali Shah (Aga Khan I), Imam Shah Ali Shah (Aga Khan II), Lady Aly Shah, and Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah (His Highness the Aga Khan III). Photos: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

Four years after the death of Aga Hasan Ali Shah [Aga Khan I, the 46th Ismaili Imam], his illustrious son, Aga Ali Shah [Aga Khan II] also died. At that time Sultan Muhammad Shah was only eight years old. His wise prudent mother, Bibi Shamsul Muluk Khanum [Lady Aly Shah] became responsible for the training and education of her son in the best possible way. Prince Aga Khan Sultan Muhammad Shah has two sons. One of them is Prince Aly Khan [d. 1960] and the other Prince Sadruddin [d. 2003]. Prince Aly Khan has two sons named Prince Karim Aga Khan [b. 1936] and Prince Amyn Mohammad [b. 1937]. The real home of the forefathers of Prince Aga Khan is Mahallat, a few miles from Tehran. His forefathers owned several forts in Mahallat.

On the day of my visit to the fort, about 3,000 followers of Prince Aga Khan had assembled there from various parts of Iran. The fort was built more than 400 years ago. Thousands of families can easily pass a whole lifetime inside this fort. In almost all the rooms of the fort, there are fountains of sweet water.

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PRINCE AGA KHAN IN TEHRAN

Aga Khan III arrives in Tehran
Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah and Begum Om Habibeh (Mata Salamat), alight from their plane upon arrival in Tehran in 1951. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

At the airport, a large number of his followers, from males and females of 80 years of age to blooming youths, were all eagerly waiting for the arrival of His Royal Highness. When Prince Aga Khan and his Begum [Om Habibeh, Mata Salamat] alighted from the aeroplane, loud cheers of joy and continued clapping of hands filled the air with deafening noise. Hakim-ul-Mulk, the Minister of the Royal Court, was the first to greet the distinguished guest. One of the relatives of Prince Aga Khan presented the Holy Qur’an and a bunch of flowers. When all the ceremonies of introduction were finished, the distinguished visitor looked to the sky and the scene around him and said with a smile, which only comes out of deep joy: “What a lovely and beautiful country I have! I had been cherishing for years the desire to visit my beloved native land.”

Aga Khan III at Shah's marriage ceremony in 1951, Barakah.
Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah and Begum attend the marriage ceremony of the Shah of Iran. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
Aga Khan III with ambassadors to Iran, 1951 visit  Barakah
Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah pictured with diplomatic representatives of various countries in Iran. Standing second from left is the Turkish ambassador. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
Aga Khan III at Pakistan Embassy
Mawlana Sultan Mahoned Shah is received by ambassador Ghazanfar Ali Khan and his staff as he arrives at the Pakistan Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
Begum Aga Khan at Pakistan Embassy in Iran flanked by a portrait of Pakistan's founder Quaid-i-Azam
Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and Pakistan ambassador, Ghazanfar Ali Khan, flank a portrait of Pakistan’s founder Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, at the Pakistan Embassy in Iran. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
Aga Khan III with Egyptian Ambassador to Iran, Barakah
Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah in conversation with Egypt’s ambassador to Iran. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
Aga Khan III at tomb of Sufi Safi Ali Shah
Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah meets with Iranian religious leaders and scholars during his visit to the tomb of Safi Ali Shah (1835-1899) who founded the Nematollahi Safialishahi Sufi Order. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
Aga Khan III at tomb of Safi Ali Shah
Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah at the tomb of Safi Ali Shah (1835-1899), who founded the Nematollahi Safialishahi Sufi Order. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

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PRINCE AGA KHAN IN ISFAHAN

Aga Khan and Begum viewing ancient Iranian art, Barakah
Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan and Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah view pieces of ancient art in Isfahan. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan

His Royal Highness and the Begum’s arrival in Isfahan was delayed by a day due to the bitter cold and bitter winds in Tehran and Isfahan. He arrived by plane while the Begum was driven from Tehran in a car. In the afternoon he and the Begum visited the Royal Mosque, the matchless forty-pillar mansion and the bridges across the river. His Royal Highness was charmed by the beauty and artistic design of the 40-pillar building. He remarked several times that the building had no parallel in the world. The Begum who was equally charmed by the masterpieces of Iranian art said, “This construction shows an artistic taste of a rich and high order such as cannot be found even in the palaces of Cairo and in the Taj Mahal.” The Begum took many pictures of this building, and both of them stood there for several minutes admiring its structure. The Prince told the Begum about the Persian King Thmasp and his guest, King Humayun of India. [The restoration of the Mughal Emperor Humayun’s 16th century garden tomb, the jewel of Mughal architecture that predates the Taj Mahal, was completed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, under the leadership of the present Ismaili Imam Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan – ed.]

Prince Aga Khan was so much charmed and enchanted by the masterly art of Iran that he directed his host to award prizes to those who had worked there. Prince Aga Khan and the Begum put their signatures in the visitors’ book, with the folllowing note in Persian from His Royal Highness:

“The soul of this slave of the House of the Prophet of God was enlivened by the sight of this old monument of the glorious period of the Safwi Kings.”

One of the most pleasant things which happened during the historic visit of Prince Aga Khan and the Begum to Isfahan was the Begum’s participation in the prayers with the congregation on Friday. The Juma mosque of Isfahan is the oldest and most splendid historic mosque of Isfahan. The Begum during her stay in Isfahan for a few days usually went to this mosque to join the congregational prayers. I hear from her companions that she recited the verses of the Holy Qur’an very well and always kept one beautiful rosary with her.

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PRINCE AGA KHAN MEETS WITH ISMAILIS OF IRAN IN MAHALLAT

Victory Gate Mahallat Iran, Aga Khan III visit, Barakh
At the Gate of Victory at Mahallat, officials and other distinguished personages await the arrival of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

At the entrance of the city, by the side of a splendid and dignified Victory Gate, Aga Ataullah Aga Khani, one of the cousins of Prince Aga Khan, and men of letters were waiting for the arrival of His Royal Highness to Mahallat. Aga Ataullah presented to the distinguished visitor as a token of welcome one beautiful golden key kept in a silver box. Prince Aga Khan took the key with great pleasure and handed it to the Begum. The sentiments of the people of Mahallat as expressed in their sincere welcome brought tears to the eyes of Prince Aga Khan. The whole city was one beautiful mass of decorations. The doors and walls were adorned with tri-colour flags and beautiful carpets. There were many welcome posters everywhere.

Ismaili women and children at Mahallat, Aga Khan III visit 1951, Barakah
A group of Ismaili women and children at Mahallat. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

Aga Ataullah Khan presented an address of welcome which read as follows:

“Welcome! Welcome! The pupil of my eye is your abode.

“May it please Your Highness,

“The people of Mahallat who are so much carried away by their joy at your arrival that they can hardly distinguish between their heads and feet had for long been waiting for your blessed visit very eagerly. They had hoped that your auspicious visit would synchronise with the season of spring when everyone would be in high spirits and would welcome you with heaps of flowers together with their sincere and unalloyed sentiments towards your Highness and would lay those flowers at your holy feet. But now when Providence has destined that the auspicious day of your arrival should fall during the winter season, I take the liberty to submit that by the grace of your holy feet a spiritual spring has permeated the atmosphere of this place and there is a spirit of joy in the hearts of the people.”

Mahallat is pride of the gardens of Paradise
It is verily the gardens of the whole universe.

A pretty city full of mirth and joy,
Such is Mahallat in spring or autumn.

Its soil from abundance of tulip and rose
Has turned crimson-coloured through and through.

The water that flows from its streams
Is like the water of ‘Kausar’, the river of Paradise

It is the mother country of Prince Aga Khan
The well-known celebrity of international fame.

His own person is like a lustrous pearl,
And Mahallat is doubtless its shell and cover.

Ismaili followers Aga Khan III visit Iran, Barakah
Expressions of joy by Ismailis during Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah’s visit to Mahallat. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.
Ismaili followers Aga Khan III visit Iran, Barakah
A group of Ismailis at Mahallat for mulaqat with Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

The devoted followers of His Royal Highness had arrived in Mahallat from various corners of Iran. People of different areas wore their distinctive costumes.

In the compound of the gardens, thousands of males and females, old and young, took their seats in an orderly way and waited for the arrival of Prince Aga Khan. He passed in front of them in a special vehicle, and then took his seat facing towards them. The Begum also took her seat beside him and both of them had a brown canopy stretched over their heads.

Ismailis from Kirmand and Khorasan in Mahallat for the Aga Khan's visit, Barakah.
Ismaili murids of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah from Kirman and Khorasan. The old woman in the centre is more than 100 years old. She is one-eyed and her only desire before death was to have a glimpse (didar) of her spiritual lord. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

His Royal Highness asked the gathering: “Those who have come from Khorasan should raise their hands.” He then asked the people of Kirman to do the same, and so on till he came to know from what different parts of the country they had come.

Prince Aga Khan then made a short speech and said: “I would ask you to pay more attention towards the education and training of your children. You should bring them up in the best possible way.” He directed Aga Majid Khan to distribute one million riyal equally among the Ismaili children.

Begum Aga Khan in Iran, Barakah
Mata Salamat lovingly holds an Ismaili child at Mahallat. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

The followers then got up to present their offerings to him and to avoid overcrowding they arranged themselves in a line and came up one by one to the stage. He blessed them and caressed their children. The Begum also fondled the children with great care.

Aga Khan and Begum in Iran in 1951 Barakah
Mawlana Sultna Mahomed Shah gives his blessings to an Ismaili child, as the Begum lovingly extends her hand to the child. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

An incessant request made to Prince Aga Khan by his followers was that he may name their newly born children. They brought their children to him and asked for names. He mostly gave the names of Mohammad and Ali to the sons; to the daughters he gave the names Zuhra, Fatimah, Sakina and Zainab. A pregnant woman asked for a name for her prospective issue and Prince Aga Khan replied, “Call him Mohammad if it is a son and Fatimah if a daughter.”

A number of brides and bridegrooms who had recently been married at Mahallat also presented themselves before His Royal Highness for his blessings. Carried away by their sentiments of love for their spiritual leader, they shed tears of delight.

Aga Khan III in Iran 1951 Barakah
Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah is surrounded by a group of Ismailis. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

Among those who had come to see His Royal Highness, there was a group of person wearing medals on their chests. They were people who had been to India or Africa and had been blessed by their Imam there. The medals they wore had the image of Prince Aga Khan on them, and great was the joy and pride they displayed as being in possession of those coveted medals of distinction.

The walls and doors of the historic fort of the city known as ‘The Aga Khan Fort’ were adorned and decorated in elegant manner by the followers of Prince Aga Khan. When he passed by the fort, the devotees wanted to sacrifice a big camel adorned with carpets and mirrors, but Prince Aga Khan prohibited it.

Ismailis celebrating the Aga Khan's visit to Mahallat 1951 Barakah
Expressions of joy by Ismaili murids (followers) of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah during his visit to Mahallat. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

In front of the fort, some Ismaili girls stood ready with their musical instruments for a dance. They clapped their hands and beat their feet rythmically on the ground. The Begum was hugely delighted and asked the cameraman, Aga Gul Surkhi, to take photographs of all these beautiful and exciting scenes.

He then passed through the city in the midst of loud cheers of joy from the residents of Mahallat. His Royal Highness was much gratified with the reception accorded to him and asked the people of Mahallat to send him their proposals for the improvement of the city.

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PRINCE AGA KHAN MEETS WITH EDITORS AND JOURNALISTS

Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah giving an interview to an American correspondent, with Begum Aga Khan looking on. Photo: H.R.H. Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran 1951, published by the Ismailia Association for Pakistan.

PRINCE AGA KHAN ON HIS REASON TO VISIT IRAN
(in interview with Mohseen Saee, Ed. Daily Naseem Shimal)

In elegant Persian, His Royal Highness the Aga Khan said:

“A certain Irani whose forefathers belonged to Iran comes to his native land. There can be no reason for his visit except his attachment and love for the soil where his forefathers were born and brought up. I had been waiting for years to find a suitable time to visit Iran and the wedding ceremony provided the best possible opportunity to brighten my eyes with the sight of my motherland.”

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PRINCE AGA KHAN ON PAST STRUGGLES FOR FREEDOM AND WAY FORWARD WITH NEW MOTTO ‘SECURITY AND PROSPERITY’
(Tehran press conference, February 15, 1951, in presence of 50 editors and press correspondents)

One fascinating discussion was on the past struggles for freedom. His Royal Highness observed:

“Fifty years ago, when we were young and we struggled for freedom and staged our demonstrations, our motto was: ‘Do or Die’, ‘Death or Independence’; but now our motto should be: ‘Security and Prosperity’. We should do such things as may save people from dying untimely and prematurely of numerous ailments, and we should adopt such means as should help ameliorate the condition of the people and improve the lot of the young. None should die, except when it is inevitable and willed by God. When we have got relief from epidemics, we should try to enhance the prosperity of the State.”

Aqai Moqqar, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Iran, reflecting on Prince Aga Khan’s visit to Iran in the National Legislative Assembly stated as follows on February 18, 1951:

“His Highness has brought for us a very nice present. This gift is in the shape of the slogan ‘Security and Prosperity’ as against the former slogan of ‘Death or Independence’, which was the motto of the freedom-lovers of the period of tyranny. His advice to us is to make every effort in our power for the advancement and prosperity of our country.”

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PRINCE AGA KHAN ON THE STATE OF THE WORLD
(in interview with a correspondent of the daily Ittilaat)

“The world today is passing through a dangerous phase indeed, and there can be no doubt about it. But there is a source of satisfaction and hopelessness in the thought that the Governments of the world know fully well that another world war will cause such destruction and havoc as is beyond our mental calculation. I therefore think that another world conflagration will not come. There is no fear of a war taking place out of an accident this time; but if war does come accidentally, the reason will be that ‘practical peace’ has become rare and difficult under the circumstances. The number and quality of destructive weapons, the armed forces and unnecessary ammunitions of war have been increased to such an extent that one day either this side or that side will go to war because they will think that war is better than ‘forced peace’. If, God forbid, a day is reached when mental conflict increases and becomes intolerable, that day world war will become inevitable and will overtake the world.”

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PRINCE AGA KHAN ON THE MOST EXCITING EVENTS IN LIFE
(in interview with a correspondent of the daily Ittilaat)

“The incidents which have occurred during the 70 years of my life are numerous, but the events which came into existence during the last three years are very important in my opinion. These events are the migration of the English people from the seat of their old empire and the creation of two powerful states – India and Pakistan. These events are to be regarded as occurrences of a revolutionary nature. They have changed not only the face of Asia but also of the whole world. I may also say that the emergence of the New China, the powerful China of today, is also a major phenomenon in the history of the world.

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PRINCE AGA KHAN ON ISLAM
(at Press Conference in Isfahan)

“I wish you to convey my message to the learned men of the Shia sect and ask them to march ahead with the times. I wish to impress this point on them that the present practical world is different from the old world of a hundred years ago. Today, there is a danger facing Islam and the only way to meet this danger and overcome it is to remove disruption in our midst and to pay special attention to the acquisition of a knowledge of modern sciences.

“If we want to free ourselves, we must establish in our state such big educational institutions as have a blend of the old teachings and modern sciences. And we should give the best possible education to our students and religious leaders so that they may be able to steer clear of the shoals of narrow-mindedness, bigotry and irrational conservatism and may be able to face the hard realities of the practical world in a successful way.”

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PRINCE AGA KHAN DEPARTS FOR SYRIA

His Royal Highness left for Damascus in an Air France plane. He was scheduled to stay there for ten days to meet his followers and then proceed to Cairo to attend the marriage of King Farouk of Egypt. At the airport of Damascus, Prince Aga Khan was received by a large number of his followers. On his arrival at Damascus, His Royal Highness expressed himself as follows about the people of Iran:

“My Irani brethern showed such intense affection and regard for us as is beyond my power to explain.”

From Damascus, he sent a telegram to the Shah of Iran expressing his appreciation and gratefulness for the cordial reception accorded to him by His Majesty and other members of the royal family.

Date posted: December 28, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 190 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

_____________________

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

A brief note on Kamarbai Ramji's 100th birthday celebration, and 5 rare photos from her family of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan

My emotional visit to the family of Mrs. Kamarbai Ramji (1906 – 2007)

Kamarbai Premji
A portrait of Kamarbai Premji (1906 – 2007).

By MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

I first learnt about the Late Kamarbai Premji Ramji (d. July 18, 2007) during the summer of 2019 from my mother, Alwaeza Malek Merchant. I made it a point that I would meet with Kamarbai’s two children in Canada, Badruddin (Badru) and Gulshan, when I next visited Vancouver.

Kamarbai Premji, Gulshan Premji and Badru Premji, Barakah
Kamarbai Ramji at her Burnaby home with her daughter Gulshan and son Badruddin. Gracing below the portrait of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, are a few of the many letters of congratulations received by Kamarbai on reaching the age of 100. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

The warmth, affection and respect by which Badru and Gulshan greeted me at their apartment near the Ismaili Centre Vancouver (the Darkhana of Canada) was deeply touching. They didn’t think I would show up, as they felt they were “very ordinary” Ismailis. When they said that to me upon opening the door, I sincerely replied, “You are true and loyal murids of Mawlana Hazar Imam, and possess immense love for him, and for me that makes both of you very rich.” As I took a few steps into their home, I told them it was my deep honour to be with them.

Kamarbai Premji Ramji (1906 – 2007) receives a helping hand from her daughter to cut her 100th birthday cake during a party held in her honour in Burnaby, British Columbia. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.
Ismaili Darkhana Canada leadership at 100th birtday party of Kamarbai Ramji
Darkhana Mukhi Salim Ahmed (2nd from left), Kamadia Karim Nathoo and their spouses pictured with Kamarbai Ramji during her 100th birthday celebration held in Burnaby, British Columbia. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

Badru and Gulshan lovingly cared for their mother, Kamarbai, for several years until she passed away on July 18, 2007 at the age of 100, exactly a week after the commencement of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee on July 11. Thus, Kamarbai’s wish that she should live until the Jubilee was fulfilled. Her 100th birthday, which fell on December 18, 2006, was celebrated twice. It was attended by neighbours and friends as well as prominent leaders of the Ismaili community, local MPs and MLAs.

John Nuraney and Kamarbai Premji, Burnaby Canada, Barakah
BC MLA John Nuraney (1937-2016) visits Kamarbai Ramji at her home in Burnaby. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

Kamarbai received messages of congratulations from the then Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean, Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well as Federal and Provincial Leaders from around the country. The Mayor of Burnaby sent her a bouquet of roses. The local newspaper, Burnaby Now, reported Kamarbai’s 100th birthday in its issue dated January 20, 2007, under the heading “Century of Life, Learning.”

100th birthday message from Canada's GG Michaëlle Jean, Barakah
Message of congratulations from Canada’s Governor General Michaëlle Jean for Kamarbai Ramji’s 100th birthday. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.
100th birthday message from PM Stephen Harper
Message of congratulations from Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Kamarbai Ramji’s 100th birthday. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

Born in Madhavpur, India, in 1906, Kamarbai married early. Her husband, Premji Ismail Ramji, passed away shortly after the birth of their 4th child, Gulshan. The oldest child, Shirin, was then about seven years old. Kamarbai was left with the heavy responsibility of raising 4 children by herself. She initially earned her living through sewing, a trait that she passed to all her 3 daughters (Shirin and Roshan, who are both deceased, and Gulshan) and son Badru. She also worked as a nurse at the Aga Khan Health Centre in Junagadh before taking up an assignment with the General and C.M.Z. Hospital in Junagadh for a period of 13 years from 1947 to 1960.

Aga Khan Takhtnashini Rajkot India, 1957, Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured with Governing body, staff and nurses of the Kathiawar Health Centre in Rajkot, India, on March 19, 1958. This photo appears as an enlarged feature photo at top of this post. Front row, seated on chair (l to r): Mukhi Mohanbhai Manji, Huzurmukhi Jamalbhai Walji, Alijah Sawjibhai Mahamed, Hon. Secretary Alijani Gulshanbanu Kassamali Schroff, MAWLANA HAZAR IMAM, Chairman Varas Samjibhai Sawji Virani, Huzurmukhi Shamshuddin Zaver, Alijah Ahmedbhai Kanji, Rai Haji Mohamed Huzurmukhi Didarali, and Huzurmukhi Nooralibhai Kanji. Middle row standing: Inspector N.N. Virani, Huzurmukhi Virabhai Poonja, Alijah Alibhai Nathoo, Jamalbhai Alijah Kanji, Kanjibhai Adaa, Huzurmukhi Sabzalibhai Bhanji, Razakbhai Walji, Huzurmukhi Sadruddinbhai Jamal Jiwani, and Ibrahimbhai Kanji; Back Row: Alijah Jivrajbhai Hassambhai and Husseinbhai Mahamad Lakhani. Seated on ground are Kamarbai Ramji (2nd from left) with 5 of her colleague nurses (names unknown). Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

At the time of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to India in 1958 for his Takhtnashini (ceremonial installation), Kamarbai worked as a volunteer nurse with the Aga Khan Kathiawar Health Centre in Rajkot, and had the privilege of being in a rare group photo that was taken with the Imam. She then settled with her daughter Gulshan in Dar es Salaam after her son Badru moved there in 1961.

Aga Khan with Aga Khan Hospital Nurses Dar es Salaam 1966 Simerg and Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured with a group of nurses at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam in 1966. Gulshan Ramji who served at the hospital from 1964-69 as a midwife is fourth from left (with wide smile). Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

Like her mother Kamarbai, Gulshan too pursued nursing and worked as a midwife from 1964-69 at the newly opened Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam. She has proudly shared two group photos taken with Mawlana Hazar Imam during his visit to the hospital in 1966.

Aga LKhan in Dar es Salaam, 1966, Barakah and Simerg.
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured with surgeons, staff and nurses at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam in 1966. Dr. Allidina, Dr. Nurali Vellani and Dr. Gulamhussein Daya are among those in the photo. Gulshan Ramji is in 2nd row, 7th from left. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

Later, Gulshan settled with her mother in Kisumu, where they ran the famous and highly acclaimed Razbi Guest House, which was especially popular among the American Peace Corps. Like many Ismaili girls, she served as a volunteer, and showed me two more photos taken with Mawlana Hazar Imam during his Silver Jubilee visit to Kisumu in 1982.

During his 11 years in Dar es Salaam, Badru held very responsible positions in a private firm, which was later nationalized and came to be known as STC. He then joined Mansoor Daya’s pharmaceutical arm for sometime, before migrating to Canada in 1982. His mother and sister Gulshan joined him in the early 1990’s. Badru has two daughters Karima and Aliya who live in Canada.

Badru’s challenges since settling in Canada have been enormous. When he described his personal story, I had to hold back my own tears. He was honest and sincere in all of his accounts. His voice cracked on numerous occasions as he spoke, and he himself held back tears. The memories of his mum’s sacrificing spirit and patience, as well as his love and faith in Mawlana Hazar Imam – “the Imam is always with you” – have sustained him on a very personal matter for almost 30 years. He continues to live in hope and believes in the power of prayer! He works as a devoted volunteer and has been driving the Darkhana Jamatkhana bus for many years.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured in Kisumu, Kenya, during his Silver Jubilee visit in 1982. Gulshan Ramji who has been an active volunteer all her life is at left with folded hands. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

As we turn to his family’s collection of photographs, I see the joy in his face as he sees the precious pictures of his mother and his sister with Mawlana Hazar Imam. They deeply inspire Badru. I also see joy in his face as we flip through a vast album containing photos celebrating his mother’s 100th birthday.

I request that I take the photos to my mum’s home for scanning. Without any hesitation whatsoever, Gulshan and Badru graciously part with their precious collection of photos that include framed historic photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visits to India and East Africa in 1958, 1966 and 1982. There are 5 in all but very few people have seen these photos. When I return the photos two days later, Gulshan brings out her mother’s beautiful needlework as well as some important hardware required for the craft. I am absolutely amazed as I see beautiful works of art, decorative cushions, warm socks, beautiful dresses and scarves spanning a period of some 70 years. Kamarbai continued knitting until she was 85. That will be a separate story in its own right in a future post on one of Barakah’s sister website.

Aga Khan with Kisumu Ismaili volunteers, Silver Jubilee 1982, Barakah and Simerg
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, pictured with Ismaili volunteers in Kisumu Kenya, during his Silver Jubilee visit in 1982. The photo was taken at the bungalow of Kamadia Sadruddin Esmail. Photo: Late Kamarbai P. Ramji Family Collection.

I am deeply grateful to Badru and Gulshan for contributing their photos to Barakah and making this post possible. The photographs on this page are a tribute to their remarkable mother. I pay my deepest respects to Kamarbai Premji Ramji and her fantastic children, and pray for the eternal peace of her soul as well as the souls of all the members of her family who have departed this earth. Among them are Kamarbai’s husband Premji Ramji and her daughters Shirin and Roshan.

To Badru and Gulshan, I say from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you and may all your wishes be fulfilled (soon).”

Date posted: December 26, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 190 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

_____________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha and Egerton College visit 1968 Barakah and Simerg photos

Exclusive: Photos of Prince Amyn Aga Khan’s 1968 visits to Arusha and Egerton College

By AMIN JAFFER
Photo Credits: Amin Jaffer Collection (1968, Arusha Visit) and
Shiraz Nasser Collection (1968, Egerton College Visit)

[Editor’s Note: Amin Jaffer’s last photo piece for Barakah was a magnificent collection of Rare photos of Prince Aly Khan’s visit to Arusha, Tanzania in 1951. This new piece by him has photos and images of Prince Amyn Aga Khan’s visit to Arusha in 1968 as well as three images supplied by Toronto’s Shiraz Nasser of the Prince’s visit to Egerton College in Kenya. We sincerely thank Amin for preparing this entire piece, and appreciate the contribution made by Shiraz Nasser by submitting his collection of photos. We invite our readers around the world to share their own historical collection of photographs of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and enriching the collection in this website. Please write to Malik Merchant at Simerg@aol.com; we will respond immediately.]

As the African nations were gaining independence in the early sixties, it was increasingly apparent that the heydays of “dukawallas” (shop owners) was in decline. This was predominantly the livelihood of the Ismaili Jamats in East Africa.

There was anxiety and stresses in our community with the emerging new leadership in the government, new policies and lot of uncertainties.

The guidance for the Jamat at that critical time of inflection was diversification and forming cooperatives, limited liability companies, venturing into small scale industries, farming, food processing, tourism etc.

This write-up focusses on the agriculture aspect of that time, which is not well known to many members of our Jamat.

Many Ismaili farms were purchased after 1966. This coincided also with emphasis and encouragement for Ismaili students to study at the Egerton Agricultural College, Njoro Kenya, when in 1961, it opened its doors to all citizens, instead of whites only as was the case before.

As of 1971, there were probably 227 Ismaili farms in Tanzania alone, with a total farming acreage of over 178,835 acres owned by 507 shareholders.

The Aga Khan Territorial Council appointed Regional Agriculture Committees to help the farmers with a Territorial Agriculture Committee based in Arusha in charge of Regional Committees.

In early 1967, Industrial Promotion Services hired Mr. McCall as Agriculture Promotion Officer.

Prince Amyn Aga Khan’s visit to Arusha

Prince Amyn Aga Khan in Arusha
Prince Amyn Aga Khan addressing a gathering of farmers during his visit to Arusha, Tanzania, in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.

In 1968, Prince Amyn Mohamed visited East Africa and toured some of the farms in Northern Tanzania to get a better understanding of our Ismaili farming community.

In 1969, Prince Amyn Muhammad engaged an American Company to do a thorough survey of our farms in the country and make recommendations to help our farmers.

Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968
Prince Amyn Aga Khan in a group photo during his visit to Arusha in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.

During his visit to Arusha in 1968, Prince Amyn graciously agreed to meet the farmers, their families and the Agriculture Committee in a gathering on Mr. Fatehali Nathoo’s farm in Oljoro, just few miles out of Arusha.

This gathering in an intimate setting went very well. The same evening the members of Agriculture Committee had a privilege of a private meeting with the Prince in Arusha Hotel. The writer served as the Secretary of the Agricultural Committee and was fortunate to be in the group that met the Prince.

During the meeting Price Amyn listened to the concerns and suggestions very attentively and asked many questions. His humbleness and patience during this meeting really touched the hearts of everyone present.

Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha visit 1968, Barakah and Simerg
A copy of the signed letter from Prince Amyn Aga Khan to the Farmers Committee of Arusha. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.

We presented him a copper tray with a map of Africa carved on it. Several miniature animals that had been well preserved by a taxidermist were also presented to him. The following day Prince Amyn went to visit a few more farms with Mr. McCall and Badru Eboo Pirbhai before departing for Nairobi with Mr. Pirbhai. 

Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968
Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan is welcomed by K.M. Ladak, Chairman of Agriculture Committee, to a gathering of farmers during his visit to Arusha, Tanzania, in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968
Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan is welcomed by K.M. Ladak, Chairman of Agriculture Committee, to a gathering of farmers during his visit to Arusha, Tanzania, in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan is presented with a garland at a gathering of farmers during his visit to Arusha, Tanzania, in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan in conversation with K.M. Ladak, Chairman of Agriculture Committee, at the gathering of farmers during his visit to Arusha, Tanzania, in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan looks on as K.M. Ladak, Chairman of Agriculture Committee, delivers his address at a gathering of farmers and Ismaili leaders during the Prince’s visit to Arusha in 1968. Among those in photo are Kamadiani Zerabai A. Kanji, Mukhiani Nurbanu H.M. Jivan, Mukhi Hassanali Mohamed Jivan, Kamadia Abdulrasul Kanji and Badrud Eboo Pirbhai. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan in a group photo during his visit to Arusha in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan being welcomed at a farm in the Makuyuni area during his visit to Arusha in 1968. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan arriving at a farm in the Makuyuni area during his visit to Arusha in 1968. In photo, from left, are Mr. McCall, PRINCE AMYN, President Kassamali Hirji, Abdul Rajpar Ladak, and others. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan reviewing a report at a farm during his visit to Arusha in 1968. In photo, from left, are the manager of the farm (name unknown), PRINCE AMYN, Amirali Bandali, Nurali Habib Sunderji, Roshanali Pira and Sadru H.K. Ishani. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.
Prince Amyn Aga Khan Arusha 1968 Barakah and Simerg
Prince Amyn Aga Khan reading a report presented by partners of one of the farms during his visit to Arusha in 1968. Looking on, from left, are Mohamed Jessa (in blazer), Hassanaili Rajpar Ladak (sweater and tie), Amirali Bandali, Sadru H.K. Ishani and others. Photo: Amin Jaffer Collection.

It is quite likely that after departing Arusha for Nairobi, Prince Amyn next visited Egerton College in Njoro, near Nakuru. The photos of the visit of Prince Amyn at the Egerton College have been provided by Shiraz Nasser, Class of 1967 of Egerton College.

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Prince Amyn Aga Khan’s Visit to Egerton College

“I was pleased to find out how seriously you were all taking your studies and was most gratified to learn from the principal of Egerton College that some of you are amongst the very best students at Egerton. I wish to congratulate you on these fine results and I hope you will continue to do us all credit.” – Prince Amyn Aga Khan

Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Egerton College Njoro, Nakuru,Kenya. Simerg and Barakah
A copy of a signed letter from Prince Amyn Aga Khan thanking the Ismaili students for their kind hospitality. Photo: Shiraz Nasser Collection.

The first Ismaili student from Mombasa joined Egerton College in 1961, followed by four other pioneer students, including the writer, who received bursaries awarded by the Saleh Mohamed Haji Trust of Kenya (administered by Diamond Jubilee Investment Trust).

It was expensive to study at this prominent and fine institution for learning Agriculture, perhaps one of the best in the continent.

More scholarships became available directly from the respective Aga Khan Departments of Education of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Other Ismaili students came to study through Government scholarships of their respective countries and some came to study on their own accord.

According to Kamrudin Rashid, as at April 1973, the Aga Khan Department of Education for Tanzania alone, sponsored a total of 63 students at Egerton College, Njoro. Mr. Rashid, who began his service with Ismaili Imamat institutions in the 1950’s, visited Njoro twice between 1966-1975. The progress of Ismaili students was followed guardedly and reports were submitted to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, of their progress.

The initial diploma courses offered by the college were in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry but soon blossomed into other specific fields such as Agricultural Engineering, Dairy Technology, Range Management and Forestry. A total of approximately 137 students studied at the college. The last batch of Ismaili students was in Class of 1974.

The Egerton College Jamatkhana was accorded an official status by the Kenya Aga Khan Ismaili Council and Jamati and Baitul Khyal Mukhi and Kamadia Sahebs were appointed every year. The students actively participated in both morning and evening prayers. They had tremendous support from the Nakuru Jamat which was the closest town to the College, some 16 miles away. In 1966, Mawlana Hazar Imam accepted a Mehmani from the College Jamat in Nakuru and gave guidance to them for their studies.

Prince Amyn Aga Khan at Egerton College, Simerg and Barakah
Prince Amyn Aga Khan at the Egerton Agricultural College with students of Class Years 1966 – 1968. Sitting Front (from left to right): Amin Rana, Shiraz Sachedina, Amyn Lalani, Late Amyn Champsi, Shiraz Kassam, Afzal Wazir, Moez Kanani, Diamond Bhojani, Mahdi Jiwani, Late Diamond Pirmohamed, Late Mohamed Daya, Alnasir Habib. Sitting on chair (Middle row) Shiraz Bandali, Nazeer Bandali, Mukhisaheb of Egerton college Late Nizar Ladhani, PRINCE AMYN AGA KHAN, Kamadiasaheb of Egerton college, Jafferali Murji, Amin Hamir, Salim Hirji; Standing (Back Row): Aly Janmohamed, Najmudin Jesani, Nizar Goa, Hirani, Zaher Sunderji, Shiraz Nasser, Aly Lakhani, Mehboob Kanji, Amin Esmail, Feroz Khamis, Nasir Pirani, Shiraz Andani, Amin Esmail, Mohamed Ladha, Akber Tharani, Zulfikar Jiwani, Siraz Pirani, Bahadur Gaidhar, Late Shraz Jaffer, Dean of Egerton College, Mr. B.S. Owino. Photo: Shiraz Nasser Collection.

Today, Egerton College is a full-fledged University and offers post graduate programs in many different fields beyond Agriculture, such as Commerce, Health Sciences, Education and Community studies, Law, Arts and Social Sciences. Some of the alumni from Canada, USA and UK visited their former college, this summer, after having studied there over five decades ago to, re-connect with their former institution. Barakah is pleased to include a PDF file celebrating the 41st Egerton graduation ceremony that took place very recently. The special newsletter edition includes reminiscences by three Ismailis – Sadru Nazarali, Shiraz Shariff and Shiraz Nasser – who all studied at the fine institute.

Prince Amyn Aga Khan at Egerton College, Simerg and Barakah
Prince Amyn Aga Khan at the Dairy Guilford Institute, Egerton College, with
an Egerton College Staff member, Mr McCall and Badru Eboo Pirbhai. Photo: Shiraz Nasser Collection.

While some of the early Egerton graduates went for further studies, many joined family and group farms, Government Agencies, Research Laboratories, Dairy Processing, Poultry Farms, and farming related businesses.

As I did in with my previous two contributions to this website, I would once more urge readers to go through their own archives and albums of photographs, and seek out khajanas (treasures) of rare and historical photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family, and contact the editor of Barakah at simerg@aol.com.

Date posted: December 22, 2019.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 190 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.

_____________________

Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Please join/like Barakah at http://www.facebook.com/1000fold and also follow us at http://twitter.com/simerg.

This website, Barakah, is a special project by http://www.Simerg.com and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family, as well as the Ismaili Imamat.

________________________

About the contributors

Amin Jaffer

Born in Mbulu and raised in Arusha, Tanzania, Amin Jaffer pursued his studies in agriculture at Kenya’s renowned Egerton College, where he graduated in the class of 1964. He then worked in the Plant Pathology Lab at the Tropical Pesticide Research Institute near Arusha before migrating to Canada in 1974 where he decided to establish a career in the photographic field. He now lives in Edmonton. He takes a very keen interest in locating and collecting rare and historical photographs of the Ismaili community, especially those relating to His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family. His most recent photo pieces for this website are Jan Karmali Photo Collection and Prince Aly Khan’s 1951 visit to Arusha.

Shiraz Nasser

Shiraz Nasser is a recipient of the Ontario Volunteer Service Award for his 30+ years of community service that include his varied voluntary roles in the Ismaili community. He has been a fundraiser for the Aga Khan University in Karachi and Focus Humanitarian Assistance, an assistant convenor for Bait-ul-Ilm for Ontario, a consultant as a site designer for the Greater Toronto Jamatkhanas, as well as a mentor to Ismaili youth. Shiraz has long had a passion for learning about the world, in particular about history, politics and Islam. We encourage readers to read his excellent Diamond Jubilee tribute to His Highness the Aga Khan.


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