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Friday, August 28, 2009

Birth Centenary of Aga Khan III (November 2, 1977)

The stamp is horizontal in format and is divided into two portions. The right hand side contains the portrait of Aga Khan III, printed in multi-colour against a bluish background and the left side contains the inscriptions “Birth Centenary of Aga Khan III” and “2nd November,. 1977” with yellow background. A white floral pattern appears below the words “2nd November, 1977”. Pakistan in Urdu and English and the word “Postage” are printed ii green whereas the Denomination “Rs.2/-” appears in red. A yellowish gold border is printed around the stamp.
Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah, popularly known as Aga Khan III was born at Karachi on 2nd November, 1877, (25th Shawwal, 1294). When only 8 years old he succeeded to the Imamate, the spiritual leadership of the Ismaili Muslims. At that young age he showed great qualities of leadership and began to administer his followers’ affairs under the able guidance of his mother Lady Ali Shah. History has shown that few men in the world encompass in themselves so many qualities and virtues to lead a community spread over the world. His upbringing and traditional training and education coupled with his unbounded love to acquire knowledge enabled him to enter into public life with success and dignity. In his early life he undertook extensive travels which greatly broadened his knowledge and vision, his personal prestige and international contacts. As a result of his knowledge and zeal he soon became one of the outstanding leaders of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.
The spirit in which Aga Khan undertook the work of the welfare of the Muslims in India is indeed remarkable. He arranged to hold the 1st Muslim Education Conference and worked untiringly for the establishment of a Central University for the Muslims of India. In 1906 he was elected to present the case of the Muslims of India for separate electorate. He was also one of the moving spirit behind the formation of a separate political party for the Muslims of India known as the All India Muslim League. In November 1902, he was nominated to the Imperial Legislative Council of India which in those days was a small select body of influential people wielding real authority. This was a considerable honour for a young man still in his twenties. He was elected several times to preside over the meetings of the All India Muslim League, All India Muslim Conference, etc, and wielded his influence to bring about political unity amongst the different factions and parties of the Muslims of this subcontinent. He also represented the Muslims in the Round Table Conference and worked untiringly for a settlement between the major political parties of this subcontinent.
In 1932 he was nominated to represent India at the League of Nations and in 1937 was unanimously elected as the President of that body. His eventful and crowded life came to an end on 11th July, 1957 and his last remains lie buried at Aswan in Egypt.
In recognition of the extremely valuable services of this great statesman and Philanthropist to the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan Post Office is issuing a Commemorative Stamp of Rs.2/- to mark his birth Centenary on 2nd November, 1977.