1815-1914

The British Empire


The Aga Khan was one of the most influential religious leaders in British India. Born in Karachi in 1877, he succeeded his father as Aga Khan becoming the 4th Imam of the Ismaili sect. As such he was the effective leader of more than twelve million Muslims in three continents. The Aga Khan sought to integrate his followers with other communities and played a major role in the political life of British India, and served on the Viceroy’s Legislative Council from 1902 -1904. In 1906 he became the first president of the All-India Muslim League and during World War One he went to Egypt to defend the  British presence in Egypt and counter the view that the British were enemies of Islam.

In 1930 the Aga Khan attended the Round Table conference and was the chief Indian delegate at the League of Nations Assembly in 1932 and 1935-37. He was interested in education and founded the Aligarh University in 1920. After 1934 his influence declined as Jinnah rose in prominence. He died in 1957 and is buried in Egypt.


Aga Khan III