(1) Imam Aga Ali Shah, His Highness Aga Khan II (1298-1302/1881-1885), the 47th Imam was born in 1246/1830 at Mahallat, where he spent the first decade of his age. In the outset of 1256/1840, Imam Aga Ali Shah had been taken to Iraq, where he stayed a few years with his mother. Under the instruction of Iranian and Arab teachers, eminent for their piety and learning, he had been taught the oriental languages, and he achieved a reputation as an authority on Persian and Arabic literature, as a student of metaphysics and as an exponent of religious philosophy. He mostly spent his time at Baghdad and Karbala in hunting expeditions with the Iranian princes, notably in company with Zill al-Sultan, the eldest son of Shah Fateh Ali, who ruled for forty days in Iran. During the late 1256/1840, the Qajarid regime allowed Imam Aga Ali Shah to take up temporary residence in Iran.
His first marriage actualized with Marium Sultana in Iraq. From Karbala they had gone to Baghdad where they had a friendly meeting with Major Henry Rawlinson (1810-1895), the then British political agent in Turkish Arabia. He decided to take the family of Imam Hasan Ali Shah under his protection. Imam Aga Ali Shah and his mother Sarv-i Jahan Khanum (d. 1299/1882) and his wife Marium Sultana, reached Bombay in 1268/1852.
On succeeding to the Imamate in 1298/1881, Imam Aga Ali Shah maintained friendly relation with the British India that had been cemented by his father. He was granted the title of His Highness by the British government, which was officially informed to him by the then governor of Bombay on August 9, 1882.
The Qajarid king of Iran, Nasiruddin Shah (d. 1313/1896) had sent a message of condolence and sympathy to the Imam on the occasion of his fatherâ€™s death. Later, a robe of honour and the emblem of Iranian crown studded with diamonds were sent to the Imam as a sign of his relationship.
He was appointed to the Bombay Imperial Legislative Council from 1880 to 1885, when Sir James Fergusson (1808-1886) was the governor of Bombay. According to Naoroji M. Dumasia in The Aga Khan and his Ancestors (Bombay, 1939, p. 61), "The nomination to the Council in those days was a rare distinction bestowed only on men of outstanding ability and high social position." He discharged his responsibilities and onerous duties in a manner, which drew admiration of all. He was also the President of Mohammadan National Association at Bombay, and an honorary patron of the Western India Turf Club.
He was well concerned about the welfare of the Ismailis in India and spared no pains in raising the social status of his followers. Destitute members of the community received generous help from time to time at his hands. He also opened The Khoja Ismaili School at Bombay and elsewhere in 1882. It was perhaps a veritable beginning of a renaissance in Indian Ismaili community, whose tradition is continued till now in the world. He promoted educational and philanthropic institutions for the Indian Muslims with the cooperation of a certain Rahimtullah Muhammad Sayani, a most enlightened member of the community.
The Imam also generated his close contact with the Ismaili communities in Upper Oxus districts, Badakhshan, Samarkand, Burma and East Africa. The growing prosperity of the Ismailis and his own towering position, earned his prestige among the Muslim population of India.
The Imam used to visit interior Sind, notably in district Thatta. He liked the climate of Karachi, where he lived in Honeymoon Lodge. After his marriage with Lady Aly Shah in 1867, the Imam moved to Karachi most probably in 1871-72, where his son and successor was born in 1877. He also built a palace in Karachi at garden zone, known as pir'ji wadi (the fertile tract of the pir), which was converted to Aga Khan Gymkhana in 1940. The palace faced the park, then known as Government Garden, and later it came to be known as Gandhi Garden. He sought permission from Heavy Napier Bruce Erskine, the Commissioner in Sind (1879 to 1887) to build a gate of the park in 1882. The Imam bore its cost, where an existing plate indicates the donation of the space for the gate.
Like his father, the Imam was closely associated with the Nimatullahi Sufi order. Before going to India, he had generated close ties with Rahmat Ali Shah, the head of the Nimatullahis, who had been the guest of Imam Hasan Ali Shah in Mahallat in 1249/1833. Subsequently, the Imam maintained his relation with Rehmat Ali Shah (d. 1278/1861). He also tied relations with Munawwar Ali Shah (d. 1301/1884), the uncle and the successor of Rehmat Ali Shah. The Imam also entertained several notable Iranian Nimatullahis in Bombay, including Rehmat Aliâ€™s son, Muhammad Masum Shirazi, Naib al-Sadr (d. 1344/1926), the author of the Taraâ€™iq al-Haqaâ€™iq, who visited Bombay in 1298/1881 and stayed with the Imam for one year. Safi Ali Shah (d. 1316/1898), an eminent Nimatullahi also enjoyed the hospitality in 1280/1863.
The Imam wedded with Marium Sultana in Iraq, who died at Bombay after leaving behind two sons, Shihabuddin Shah (1268-1302/1851-1885) and Aga Nur Shah (1272-1302/1855-1885). These two sons had been brought up in Hasanabad at Bombay. Aga Nur Shah, aged 30 years, was a good sportsman. He once fell down from his horse while riding, and sustained serious injuries, which proved fatal, and his death took place three months before the death of his elder brother. The Imam appointed his elder son, Shihabuddin Shah as a pir on 1299/1882, who died at the age of 33 years on December 15, 1884. The Imamâ€™s second wife belonged to a Shirazi family, and after her death, the third marriage was solemnized with Shamsul Mulk Lady Aly Shah.
The Imam was a skillful rider and great sportsman. He was very fond of hunting, but never made use of shelters in the hunting field for big game. Standing exposed to danger he took a sure and steady aim at wild animals. In this way he had bagged no less than forty tigers. He died on Wednesday, August 17, 1885 in Poona. (1) Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah mentioned the reason of the death of Imam Aga Ali Shah that, â€œMy fatherâ€™s death was occasioned not by any mishap when he was out after tiger, but by a long dayâ€™s water-fowling near Poona in August, 1885. There were several hoursâ€™ heavy rain, the going underfoot was heavy and wet, and my father was soaked to the skin. He caught a severe chill which turned swiftly and fatally to pneumonia. He was dead eight days later.â€ (Memoirs of Aga Khan, London, 1954, p. 11)
(2) Imam Aga Ali Shah expired in the year 1885. This year is marked with the death of many celebrities and eminent persons in India. For example, Sir James Edward Alexander (1803-1885), Rev. Krishna Mohan Banerjea (1813-1885), John Alexander Cameron (d. 1885), Sir William M. Coghlan (1803-1885), William Sir Hardman Earle (1833-1885), Charles Chandler Egerton (1798-1885), Walter Edward Fane (1828-1885), Sir William Robert S. Fitzgeraid (1818-1885), Naoroji Furdunji (1817-1885), Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), Arthur W. Forde (d. 1885), Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), Arthur W. Forde (d. 1885), Charlies Wood Halifax (1800-1885), Harish Chandra (1859-1885), Sir Alfred Hastings Horseford (1818-1885), Maharaja Ranbir Singh (1832-1885), William McCulloch (1816-1885), Sir William Muir (1817-1885), Sir Arthur Purves Phayre (1812-1885), Charles Raikes (1812-1885), Joachim Hayward Stocquerler (1800-1885), Hugh Henry Rose Strathnairn (1901-1885), Tarkavachaspati Taraanath (1812-1885), Ernest Trumpp (1828-1885), Richard Wadeson (1826-1885), Sir Mordaunt Wells (1817-1885), etc.
(3) Hasanabad in Bombay is a place in Mazagon, where a mausoleum enshrined the tomb of Imam Hasan Ali Shah. This edifice is a beautiful in proportions and chaste in design and of lovely materials. The single room is surmounted by a large dome beneath the centre of the tomb. On three sides of the room are large double-doors, of simple design in silver.
(4) The name of the ship according to â€œNur al-Mubinâ€ (p. 447) was Mobalo of the Persian Steam Navigation Co.
(5) The old records reveal that Imam Aga Ali Shah had appointed Ramzan Ismail Baledina as the Mukhi of Kharadhar Jamatkhana in 1882 in place of Mukhi Alleno, while the Imam retained the post of Hashim Fadhoo as the Kamadia (vide, â€œSaddur Court Khoja Case,â€ 1888, p. 10). It means that Mukhi Kassim Musa came in Karachi with Imamâ€™s coffin in the period of Mukhi Ramzan Ismail Baledina and Kamadia Hashim Fadhoo.
In the period of Mukhi Ramzan Ismail Baledina (d. 1910) and Kamadia Hashim Fadhoo, a plot of 2500 sq. yards were acquired for the new Jamatkhana between Harris Road and Imamwada Street, Kharadhar, Karachi. The new Jamatkhana was built into five phases, therefore, the old Jamatkhana of Kagzi Bazar temporarily shifted at plot no. 3/40-41 (now Rahmatullah Manzil) at the junction of Kasssim Street and Khalikdina Street, then at Khalikdina Street (now Mahfil-e-Masumeen Street) for few months. The new Jamatkhana came to be used soon after the completion of its first phase in November 2, 1882.
(6) The port of Karachi, forming a division of the Bombay Presidency, is situated in latitude 24 degree 47â€™ 37â€ N., Longitude 66 degree 58â€™ 36â€ E. and enjoyed the advantage of being the nearest port in India to Europe. Karachi harbour is situated on the northern boarder of the Arabian sea, 50 miles west of the main mouth of the Indus River and 495 miles west of Bombay. The town was situated about a mile to the north of the Custom House.
(7) Keamari, the township near the main entrance to the port, was mere a fishing village.
(8) The tramway was opened in Karachi by Heavy Napier Bruce Erskine (1879-1887) on April 20, 1885.
(9) The volume of trade in Karachi increased to Rs. 10,59,31,948 in 1884-5.
(10) Empress Market was originated in the Saddar quarter after the English forces were encamped in 1839. It was then known as the Camp Bazar. The modern building of Empress Market or Camp Bazar was opened on March 21, 1889 by the Commissioner-in-Sind, Mr. Pritchard; and was so named in commemoration of the silver jubilee of Empress Victoria.
(11) It seems that Mukhi Kassim Musa had not visited the Lassi Jamatkhana, near Kharadhar area. His narrative indicates that he went to Saddar from Kharadhar by tram to see Empress Market and the cantonment area. He proceeded to Garden quarter and admired the hard working of the Ismailis who migrated from Kutchh. It is also curious that he gave no information of the Garden Jamatkhana in the period (1881-1902) of Mukhi Bhanji Rahimani and Kamadia Sajan Rahim Notta. He also did not make a little description of the Honeymoon Lodge.
(12) It is said that Imam Aga Ali Shah had purchased the site (now the Aga Khan Gymkhana) for Rs. 100/- in 1868, where he built few underground hunting platforms. It is situated in Karachi behind the present zoological garden in the Garden Road. The early accessible records indicate that its site was an open fertile tract with small houses, stables for horses and barracks for the servants and household of Imam Hasan Ali Shah before the time the location was turned into the premises for the present Gymkhana. The location was virtually a jungle, rich with fertile soil and small hunting ground. The entire site including principle building and grooves was called â€œHasanali Baghâ€ after the name of Imam Hasan Ali Shah. It was also known as the â€œPir Sahebâ€™jo Baghâ€ or â€œAgaâ€™jo Baghâ€ among the non-Ismaili circle. The local Ismailis generally called it â€œPirâ€™ji Wadiâ€ or simply â€œWadi.â€ Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah called it â€œWadiâ€™jo Bungalowâ€ for the first time in Karachi on January 1, 1912.
The site is crowned with an old building, one of the oldest monuments of the Ismailis in Karachi, where Imam Hasan Ali Shah and Imam Aga Ali Shah mostly resided and held darbar of the followers. It is narrated that Imam Aga Ali Shah had made a trip of interior Sind in 1868, where he noticed in Rehari, near Tando Muhammad Khan the worst and decaying conditions of the Ismailis due to the drought. He ordered the evacuation of the village to the famine stricken Ismaili farmers, and followed him. The caravan headed by the Imam trekked down to Karachi and alighted at the Garden quarter. Imam Hasan Ali Shah helped them with grain, money and clothes and allotted plots around the Wadi for cultivation to the farmers among them. In the meantime, the constant terrible famines in Kutchh forced the bereaved Ismaili families to migrate in Karachi, who mostly settled in the Garden area and professed in the farming. Imam Hasan Ali Shah, in order to fight against their poverty, made a plan to build his residence in Wadi with a view to provide job opportunities for them, who were not farmers.
(13) Captain S.V.W. Hart in his report, â€œTown and Port of Kuracheeâ€ dated 28th January, 1840 shows that there were 350 Khojas and Memons out of the population of 13850, remarking that â€œno correct calculation can be formedâ€. It was enumerated in 1838. Above figure indicates that the population was 13850, in which 9000 is shown Hindus and 4850 general Muslims. It may be noted that only a year earlier, T.G. Careless had reported Muslims and Hindus were evenly divided in a total population of 14,000. There is an obvious discrepancy between the two reports. The report of 1839 mentions two leading merchants. They were Khoja Ghulam and Khoja Banoo, who were engaged in fish and hide trade. Another person named Muab Ali Khoja was a leading trader in the early years of British rule. It appears that large number of Khojas were later attracted by commercial opportunities in Karachi. About in 1847, Karachi had the main concentration of Khojas in Sind and that there were 300 families in the town. The population of Karachi in 1881 was 73560 according to the census report, and 1,05199 in 1891.
Karachi Municipality introduced an elective principle in 1884 and a civic body was formed in January, 1885, consisting 32 members of whom 16 were elected, while another 16 were nominated by the Government. Mukhi Ramzan Ismail Baledina was also a nominated member among the Ismailis.
(14) Gwadar is situated 258 miles from Karachi. Vessels drawing 3 fathoms have to lie 1.75 miles off the shore. It was a port of the former Makran district, comprises coastal plains, fronting the Arabian sea to the south. It is in Makran division, Baluchistan province of Pakistan. It was about 20 miles long and 10 miles wide. The town of Gwadar lies on the Arabian sea coast, about 30 miles to the east.
(15) Makran is a corruption of the Persian word, Mahi Khoran i.e., fish-eaters. The Arab writers called it Mah Keran from mah (town) and keran (sea), means a town situated at sea-shore.
(16) Bandar Abbas is situated on the northern shore of Hormuz Bay opposite the islands of Qeshm, Larak and Hormuz. Port Abbas was built in 1623 by the Persian king Abbas I to replace the city of Hormuz. It was under the lease to the rulers of Muscat, but in 1868 Persia cancelled the contract and resumed direct control. Major Percy Molesworth Sykes visited Port Abbas in 1893 and writes, â€œOutside the modern town, which lines the beach, are fast vanishing remains of masonry buildings, and the present government and custom house was in past time the Dutch factory. This was a grand edifice and its massive beams and flooring still look as strong as everâ€¦â€¦.The importance of Bandar Abbas today, is, as yet, scarcely appreciated. Its drawback is a terribly bad climate, upon which all travelers have commented in more or less quaint and forcible languageâ€¦.In addition to its native population, which fluctuates from 8000 to 4000 inhabitants, it is also the temporary home of some 50 Hindus, while the beach presents a varied scene in which Baghdad Armenians, Persians, Arabs, Afghans, and Baluchis, all play their part, not to mention an occasional European.â€ (vide â€œTen Thousand Miles in Persiaâ€, London, 1902, pp. 299-301)
(17) Port Linga or Bandar Linga is a town of Iran on the northern shore of the Persian Gulf and about 100 km by sea from Bushire. It is the chief port for the Persian province of Laristan. The old port was Kung, 8 miles east of Linga. It was in occupation of the Portuguese. The Persian government took its possession in 1887 and deported to Tehran the last hereditary Arabian Sheikh. Major Percy Molesworth Sykes visited Linga in 1893 and writes, â€œAfter a smooth run we touched at Linga, the prettiest port in the Gulf, with its fringe of palms, behind which rises a scarped mountain. Its trade, which is considerable, is mainly a transit business, goods for the Pirate Coast being distributed from this centre. The roads to the interior are most difficult, and the value of Linga as a port suffers considerably from this factâ€ (vide â€œTen Thousand Miles in Persiaâ€, London, 1902, p. 87).
(18) Bushire is situated at southwestern Persia, near the head of the Persian Gulf at the northern end of a flat and narrow peninsula, connected with the mainland by tidal marshes. It covers an area of 8677 sq. miles.
Major Percy Molesworth Sykes was in Bushire in 1893 and writes, â€œâ€¦.to land at Bushire, and, consequently, had proceeded in Basra; the steamer stuck on the bar, and then, after a considerable detention, they finally underwent nine or ten daysâ€™ quarantine on Abbasak, taking up their quarters the day after we leftâ€ (p. 311). â€œIt is situated on a peninsula, which sometimes becomes an island, as the mashila, or swamp which connects it with the mainland is frequently under water. The town itself, like its inhabitants, is half Persian, half Arab in characterâ€ (312). â€œThe Residency is a spacious building, guarded by Bombay Marine Infantry, and contains offices, treasury and stables, besides living rooms, but it possesses no garden, and the only lawn tennis court is in front on the beachâ€ (312). â€œDuring the winter the climate is occasionally bracing, but the long summer is very trying, although not so unhealthy as might be supposedâ€ (313). â€œBesides the Resident, who from his position of influence naturally leads the European colony, there are German, French and Dutch Consuls, the first two possibly for the purpose of creating trade, as they have few interests at present.â€ (313), vide â€œTen Thousand Miles in Persiaâ€ (London, 1902)
(19) Balsora was the corruption of the Arab, Basra which means â€œthe black pebbles.â€ It was founded in the reign of Caliph Umar in 638 A.D. The river steamers were handled by Messrs Lynch Brothers in Basra to Baghdad. Henry Walter Bellow was at the bank of Tigris River at Baghdad and Basra in 1872, but gave no description in his â€œFrom the Indus to the Tigrisâ€ (London, 1874).
(20) Efendi is a Turkish title given to literary or religions people.
(21) Wadi al-Salam (the valley of peace) is located around 160 kilometers South of Baghdad, about 2 furlongs near the shrine of Hazrat Ali, where exist many important historical sites in and around this city. Besides the shrine of Hazrat Ali, which is the focus of the city, there exist graves of other prophets. Those who have visited Najaf will remember vividly that to the North and East of the town there are acres of graves and myriads of domes of various colours and at various stages of disrepair. Whoever goes to Najaf, follows a road that approaches the town by a winding course through this vast cemetery. This is the world's second largest cemetery, where several prophets had been buried.
(22) Najaf or Mashhad-i Ali is little more than four miles away from Kufa, or 50 miles to the south of Karbala. It covers an area of 10615 sq. miles. The name of the town Najaf is explained in the tradition. At first there was a mountain, which was fallen to pieces during Noahâ€™s time, in which his one son was drowned. In the place of the mountain, a large river appeared, but after a few years the river dried up and the place was called NAY-JAFF i.e., the dried river. Najaf is famous for having the shrine of Hazrat Ali, known among the Shiâ€™ites as Mashhad Gharwah (the wondrous place of mytrdom). The town was built by the Abbasid Caliph Harun ar-Rashid in 791 A.D.
(23) Some doubt as to whether the remains of Hazrat Ali are in fact in Najaf, for some traditions state that he was buried in Kufa and others that he was buried in Medina, or that his burial place is unknown. The vast majority of Shi'ites accept Najaf as the place of Aliâ€™s burial. Allama Majalis writes in â€œTofatuâ€™z Zairinâ€ (Tehran, 1274 A.H., p. 53) that it is related on the authority of Imam Jafar Sadik that Hazrat Ali had made a will that he should be buried secretly, because he feared that the Kharjis or others (the Umayyads) might desecrate his tomb.â€
The first building to have been erected over this location was commissioned by the Abbasid caliph Harun ar-Rashid. The Buyid ruler Aduduâ€™d Dawla (978-983) raised a mighty building over the grave in 977 that lasted until 1354, but the main part of the present structure was built by the Safavid ruler, Shah Safi (1629-1642) in 1635 and the dome was gilded by Nadir Shah (1736-1747).
There is one large central dome which stands out of a square-shaped ornate structure at the two sides of which are two minarets. The predominant colour of the exterior is gold, bright shinning gold and the entire exterior of the mausoleum is inlaid with a mosaic pattern of light powder blue, while marble, gold again with an occasional splash of Middle East rust.