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Aga Khan III

(1877—1957) leader of the Ismailis


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Imam (leader) of the Nizari branch of the Ismaili sect from 1885, who was a prominent leader of the Muslim communities in India. Of Persian descent, he was born in Karachi (then in India) and was educated in three traditions – the Islamic, oriental, and western. In 1906 the Aga Khan led a Muslim deputation to the British Viceroy of India, Lord Minto (1845–1914), a meeting that influenced the provision in the subsequent Morley–Minto reforms (1909) for separate Muslim electorates in India. The Aga Khan was then president of the All-India Muslim League for the first three years of its existence (1906–09). Always committed to friendship with Britain (he became a member of the Privy Council in 1934), in World War I he urged his followers to give their support to the Allies. He later played an important part in the Round Table conferences (1930–32) on the future Indian constitution. He also represented India at the World Disarmament Conference at Geneva (1932) and at the League of Nations (1932–37), becoming president of the League in 1937. During World War II, owing mainly to ill-health, he withdrew from politics. He was a breeder of thoroughbred horses, and his stables produced five Derby winners. He was married four times.

From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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