Must watch official video: Mawlana Hazar Imam’s historic visit to Central Asia in 1995 – the first by an Ismaili Imam in centuries

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

Monday June 5, 2005 turned out to be a memorable day for my family; location – Voorhees Library in New Jersey. Every Monday, my parents and I would walk to the library from the townhouse where I lived to read the previous day’s Sunday papers such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Baltimore Sun.

A story that began on the front page of the Baltimore Sun about Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Badakhshan caught my dad’s attention. Kathy Lally’s excellent narrative included details of the preparations for the visit and touched upon the emotional and religious aspects of the historical visit. This was our first introduction to the historic visit. When Simerg was launched some 11 years later, I sought the paper’s permission to reproduced the story. You can read it HERE.

Shortly after the 1995 visit, the official magazine of the Ismaili community produced a special commemorative souvenir of the visit. It contained beautiful photos as well as excerpts from Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Irshad Mubarak. Some of the photos shown in the collages in this post are from the souvenir.

Left: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, partakes of a morsel of bread dipped in salt during his historic visit to Badakhshan in 1995. This was the first ever visit in centuries by an Ismaili Imam to this part of the world; Right: Uniting the legacy of the past and the promise of the future in a jubiliant celebration, Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit brought together the old and the young in the Ismaili community. Khalifas and elders of the community came to Khorog to pay homage to their beloved Imam. Photos: The Ismaili.

Now, after 25 years long years, we have an extraordinary 93 minute video of the historical visit that the Jamat and everyone around the world can watch on their own time. The film contains inspiring scenes from the mulaqats, including footages of Mawlana Hazar Imam delivering his Irshad Mubarak.

Over the years, the Jamat in the western world have been blessed with several opportunities of meeting members of the Jamat from Tajikistan, and learning about their culture and traditions. Many study here and live among us. Significant projects have been underway in Central Asia since that first visit, and we invite readers to learn more about the work of the Imamat in the region through the Aga Khan Development Network.

Some years ago, world renowned photographer Matthieu Paley had captured a scene where Ismaili girls were seen celebrating the annual commemoration of the historic 1995 visit. It is a photo so charming that we can see it over and over again! It is shown here once again, followed by the video of the historical visit.

Commemorating Aga Khan's first visit to Badakhshan in 1995
Ismaili girls proudly display a decorated frame holding a photo of their beloved 49th Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. The was was taken in Alichur , a village at an altitude of 4000 metres which is comprised mainly of Ismailis. The photo was taken during Didar (Invitation) – a celebration that takes place on 28th of May every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Aga Khan’s visit to Badakhshan. During the celebrations the villagers dress up, dance outdoors to the accordion and drums and sing ginane (religious songs), which tell of him being their Noor (light). The photograph was taken as these girls, dressed in bright atlas silk fabric with crowns on their heads, were going out to dance. Photo: © Matthieu Paley. 


Video: Historic visit of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, to Central Asia

Video: 1995 visit of Mawlana Hazar Imam to Central Asia

Date posted: May 3, 2020.

Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents for links to more than 200 pieces dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, his family and the Ismaili Imamat.


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