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Platinum Jubilee

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

Platinum is a soft, ductile and silver-white metallic element. The Spanish scientist Antonio de Ulloa discovered it in gold-bearing deposits in Columbia in 1735. The English chemist William Wollaston first obtained pure platinum in 1803; and was also the first to devise a way to produce platinum in a workable form suitable for commercial purposes. South Africa, Russia and Canada produce almost all of the world's output of platinum. Its production began about in 1925, but it began to be used for jewelry in significant amounts in 1905. World production of platinum increased strongly in 1960 and in the beginning of 1970, reaching 2 million troy ounces (62 tons) per year. Since then, production has been spurred by greater demand for platinum.

To mark the completion of his seventy years of Imamate, the Ismailis decided to weigh the Imam in platinum. The Platinum Jubilee was celebrated in Karachi on 3rd February, 1954 in presence of 50,000 Ismailis, and again the sum gifted to the Imam was returned to his followers to set up Finance and Investment Corporation.

Platinum is a costly metal and the Imam did not like to spent more funds in its purchasing, and insisted to use the platinum only tenth part of his weight. According to the adjustment of the scale, one ounce of platinum was to indicate a weight of 14 ratls. Thus, Wazir Ibrahim Manji, the President of Platinum Jubilee Association began to place the pieces of platinum one after another and the scale showed the weight of the Imam for 215 ratls, to which about 15 ounces platinum were used. The whole ceremony ended within ten minutes.

It was followed by a token ceremony in Cairo on 20th February, 1955. Because of Imam's impaired health, the Platinum jubilee ceremonies in India were officiated by Prince Aly S. Khan and these were again restricted to token presentations. In Bombay, the ceremony was held on 2nd February, 1957 and from 20th to 26th February at eleven other centers. India's Platinum jubilee final ceremony was however held in Paris Jamatkhana on Friday, June 14, 1957.


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