The Heritage Society Presents... Back to Heritage F.I.E.L.D


The Platinum Jubilee of His Royal Highness Prince Aga Khan, marking the celebration of 70 years of his Imamate is scheduled to be held in February, 1954.

Prince Aga Khan has already been weighed in gold and diamonds. These occasions provided his devoted followers a welcome chance to pay a befitting tribute to their spiritual lord who has organised them into a well-knit community and led them to great moral and material progress.

The Golden Jubilee was celebrated in Bombay and at Nairobi in 1936 and 1937 respectively. To take part in the celebrations in Bombay, Ismailis came from all over the subcontinent, from Burma, Ceylon, Malaya and the Middle East. To Nairobi in East Africa, the lsmailis flocked from far-flung places like Madagascar, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Belgian Congo and Abyssinia. The value of the gold at both places was a gift from his grateful community to Prince Aga Khan, but the great spiritual leader gave it back to his people for being invested in educational development and general welfare of the community.

The ceremony at Bombay was attended by a large number of ruling princes, foreign diplomats, high Government officials and business and industrial magnates.

The community offered their tribute in gold to His Royal Highness, "as a humble token of our love, devotion and gratitude for all the unbounded bounty and benefit that your Highness’s followers have derived during your Imamate in the last fifty years."

The weighing ceremony was performed by the then Governor of Bombay Province. The total weight of His Royal Highness was found to be 3,200 ounces valued at about 23,000 pounds. After the weighing an address of welcome was presented to him in a gold casket mounted on four ivory and gold elephants. In his reply to the address, His Royal Highness expressed great pleasure at the rapid strides the community had made towards progress in every sphere of life. He urged his people to pay great attention to the healthy growth of the community and advised them to, "Educate, educate, educate your children."

He said that the gold would be used for the upliftment of his people and he appointed a committee to devise the best means of utilising the money for general welfare.

Another address was presented to His Royal Highness on the grounds of the Race Course at Mahalaxmi. It said in part: "Under your inspiring leadership, the Khojas have been knit even more closely in the bond of spiritual union. In the secular field your followers have made remarkable progress in every sphere of human activity, especially the law, medicine, commerce and industry. We are particularly appreciative of your watchful care of the rising generation, and of the social well-being of the community for whom you have established schools, clubs and maternity homes. These are services of lasting benefit to the Ismailis."

In Nairobi also a vast fortune had been contributed by his admirers for the ceremony. It was a tribute of love and esteem from a community to its revered benefactor whose wise leadership had brought them great worldly prosperity. His Royal Highness thanked them for the precious present of gold, but gave it back to them for the welfare of the community in East Africa. "Some of the causes for which this gold should be used are overseas scholarships for all kinds of higher studies, secondary schools, child welfare centres and nursing homes," he said.

When His Royal Highness completed 60 years of his benevolent leadership as spiritual head, his people celebrated the occasion in 1946 by weighing him twice against diamonds. The ceremony was performed in Bombay and at Dar es Salaam.

The value of the diamonds amounted to over 640,000 pounds at each place. The amounts were an absolute gift to the leader from his followers, but he invested the money in trusts for the advancement of the community in the educational and economic spheres. In Bombay, the ceremony connected with the Diamond Jubilee was performed at the Brabourne Stadium. Over 100,000 people from various parts of the world watched this magnificent spectacle. Among those present were fourteen ruling Princes and a large number of other distinguished personages from all over the country. Messages of goodwill were received from King Farouk of Egypt, the King of Afghanistan, the Shah of Iran and other world figures, including Mr. Gandhi.

The Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Dar es Salaam were attended by Ismailis from all parts of Africa. Among the many distinguished guests at the ceremony were the Governors of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda.

The Governors of the East African territories sent special messages to the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir published by the Ismailis in East Africa. One of these messages said in part: “His Highness has not only been an unfailing source of spiritual inspiration and guidance to his followers, but in temporal matters also he has shown a consistency of wisdom and enlightenment to which few great leaders could aspire."