The 136th birth anniversary of first president of the All-India Muslim League Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah‚ Aga Khan III is being observed on November 2nd‚ 2013 (Saturday).

Born on November 2nd‚ 1877‚ Sultan Muhammad Shah was the 48th Imam of the Nizari Ismaili community. His goal was the advancement of Muslim agendas and protection of Muslim rights in India.

He was staunch advocate of education‚ particularly for women. His contributions in the sectors of political rehabilitation‚ health‚ education and social development of Muslims around the world are unprecedented.

Acknowledging his commitment to the educational development of Muslims‚ Sir Aga Khan III was nominated as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council by Viceroy Lord Curzon in 1902 when he was 25 years old. Sir Aga Khan III established over two hundred schools all over the world‚ the first in 1905 in Zanzibar and Pakistan. The era also gave birth to the Diamond Jubilee schools for girls‚ now commonly known as DJ schools.
At a time when school conditions and teaching methods in northern Pakistan used to be harsh and educating females was an alien phenomenon‚ the establishment of the DJ schools during the 1940s was a major social breakthrough.

Today‚ the Aga Khan Education Service‚ Pakistan (AKESP) operates 182 schools‚ reaching out to over 38‚000 students and employs over 1‚600 teachers all across Pakistan. Many health initiatives‚ undertaken almost a century ago‚ have gained impetus in the last few decades with the establishment of health centres run by the Aga Khan Health Services and the renowned Aga Khan University Hospital.

In 1911‚ he started collecting funds to realise Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s dream of the Aligarh University. Apart from substantial funding‚ he made significant donations for scholarships. He also played a pivotal role in making the Pakistan Movement a success‚ leading a deputation of Muslims to the viceroy and demanding separate electorates for Muslims. He presided over the Muslim League from 1906 to 1913 and was unanimously elected as the chairman of the League of Nations in 1937.

He passed away on July 11‚ 1957 and was laid to eternal rest in Aswan‚ Egypt.

Advertisements