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Aga Khan

shah title india persian

Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili sect of Shi'te Muslims; a hereditary title. His millions of followers are dispersed through the Near East, India, Pakistan, and parts of Africa and are descended from 14th-century Hindus converted by Persian Ismails. Aga Khan I (Hasan Ali Shah; 1800–81), a Persian provincial governor who emigrated to India in 1840, was invested as leader of the sect in 1866. Aga Khan II (Ali Shah) held the title from 1881 until his death in 1885. Aga Khan III (Sultan Sir Mahomed Shah; 1877–1957) represented British India at numerous conferences and as first president of the All-Indian Muslim League worked for Indian independence. Aga Khan IV (H.H. Shah Karim; 1936– ) inherited the title in 1957.

See also: Islam.

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