1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aga Khan III.

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AGA KHAN III. (1877-), Indian Moslem leader (see 1.363). During 1910-21 the Aga Khan's widening influence both on Indian and international affairs was shown in various directions. He had headed the Moslem deputation in 1906 to the Viceroy, Lord Minto, which submitted the case for encouraging abandonment of the studied aloofness of their community from Indian political life; and he was president of the All-India Moslem League thereupon formed during its first constructive years. He initiated the fund, and personally collected more than Rs.30 lakhs, for raising the Mahommedan college at Aligarh to university status, which was effected in 1920. In the immediate pre-war years he did much to soothe Indian Moslem sentiment in respect to the Turco-Italian and two Balkan wars. He was touring amongst his followers in East Africa when the World War broke out, and immediately cabled to the jamats or councils of the millions of Ismailiahs within British territories and on their borders directing his followers to place themselves unreservedly at the disposal of the British authorities. Both in East Africa and on arrival in England he pleaded for combatant participation in the war, but Lord Kitchener reserved him for services no one else could render. When Turkey was drawn into the struggle the Aga Khan issued a stirring manifesto showing that the Allies had no overt designs on Islam, and calling upon the Moslems of the Empire to remain loyal and faithful to their temporal allegiance. His immediate followers provided a solid phalanx of whole-hearted support of Britain, which had a most steadying influence in sterilizing the efforts of impatient headstrong elements. Secret missions of great diplomatic importance in Egypt, Switzerland and elsewhere were entrusted to His Highness, and enemy anger found scope not only in bitter newspaper attacks but in designs upon his life. His great influence was reënforced by his close and intimate contact with leading Allied statesmen and the breadth and liberality of his outlook on the problems of reconstruction. His remarkable study of Indian and Middle Eastern affairs in India in Transition (1918) was not without considerable effect in the final shaping of reforms under the India Act of 1919, and was consistent in broad principle with his post-war criticisms of the British Government's Mesopotamian and Arabian policy.

The Aga Khan laboured unceasingly to secure mitigation of the Allied terms toward Turkey, and joined in many representations, public and private, both at the Peace Conference and subsequently, as to the immense importance to Great Britain, the ruler of the greatest aggregation of Moslems in the world, of not depriving Turkey of a real independent existence. But the issue was complicated by many considerations, and British statesmen seemed less ready to accept his advice in peace than to use his influence in war. To the G.C.I.E. and the G.C.S.I. there was added in 1916 a salute of 11 guns and the rank and status of a first-class chief of the Bombay Presidency, the only previous instance of the grant of a salute outside the Indian territorial ruling families being that of the first Sir Salar Jung. (F. H. Br.)