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In history, few are born who transcend the boundaries of time and place, leaving their imprints on the world stage. Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, Aga Khan III was undeniably one such trailblazer whose legacy extends far beyond his role as the leader of the Ismaili Muslim community. Born in Karachi, Pakistan on 2 November 1877, Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah inherited a rich legacy of leadership and community advancement.
Striking a harmonious balance between one’s spiritual and worldly pursuits has always been an aspiration for Ismailis worldwide. Mawlana Hazar Imam has consistently emphasised the importance of maintaining this equilibrium. Meet Ali Baig, hailing from Yasin Tehsil Ghizer District, who is the Honourable Chief Justice of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Chief Justice Baig serves as a shining example of this fundamental principle. Throughout his illustrious professional journey, he has actively contributed to various Jamati institutions in diverse roles, embodying the essence of this balance.
Nahida Bibi, a 27-year-old from Sultanabad, Yasin, embodies the success of a businesswoman; one who starts with small investments and big hopes to establish themselves as a successful entrepreneur.
Hailing from Hundur, a remote valley of Yasin in Gilgit-Baltistan, Noor ul Ain is a student at the Ismailia Youth Service (IYS) in Karachi. She is an alumnus of the Bridge Programme and now mentor students at the Gahkuch Bridge Camp 2023. From the humble beginnings as a student of the Bridge Programme to becoming an advisor, her journey is an inspiration and shows the positive impact of the Aga Khan Education Board’s initiative of improving quality of life through education.
I’ll never forget the feeling of the sand beneath my feet as I walked along the beach, watching the tide come in. I’ll never forget the sound of 120 people wincing audibly as I dislocated my elbow at a middle school wrestling meet. Most of all, I’ll never forget the way the entire world and all its problems melted away as I sped down a hill on my longboard.
Noorima Rehan is a 17-year-old aspiring Ismaili vocalist from Ghulkin, Gojal, Hunza. Located approximately 142km from Gilgit, Ghulkin is situated on the west of Hunza in the Karakorum, surrounded by glaciers and streams. Noorima's love for music runs deep within her being, and she finds herself singing in every moment of her life. Her vocal skills have propelled her to new heights. Most notably, she recently represented Pakistan during King Charles III's Coronation Concert in London.
In a world grappling with the impacts of ecological crisis, a ray of hope shines through the tireless efforts of individuals dedicated to preserving our planet. Among them is Rozina Kanchwala, whose passionate advocacy is rapidly capturing attention.
On 4 March, at the Ismaili Centre Vancouver, two strangers came together to share a special moment — 50 years after first crossing paths during a milestone event in both of their lives.
A look back at the stories we told over the past year.
An eminent Muslim leader, thinker and reformer of the 19th century, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, Aga Khan III was born in Karachi on the 2nd of November 1877. It is reported that when the Aga Khan I received word of his birth, he had replied, “Name him Sultan,” as he would earn a “distinguished position in the world.” Through Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah’s remarkable achievements over his lifetime, we learned this to be true.
From a village with restricted access to education, and peculiarity associated with working women, Laghli Zamrud defied all odds and became the first midwife of Chitral.
As the nation celebrated Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day with enthusiasm, the Ismaili Girl Guides rejoiced in the day by continuing their legacy of voluntary work. 1,800 Ismaili Girl Guides across Pakistan showed their love and patriotism for the country by indulging in social action and community service giving 6,500 minutes on 75 different projects, benefiting more than 3,500 people, reflecting on the multiple themes of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by United Nations to address global issues and challenges.
Sepak Takraw, a unique sport, also known as kick volleyball, is a team sport, played with a ball made of rattan or synthetic plastic, between two teams of two to four players on a court, resembling a badminton court. Unlike volleyball, in Sepak Takraw, players are not allowed to use their hands to play with the ball and are required to use their feet, head, knees and chest to volley the ball. An emerging sport in Pakistan, Sarfaraz Rehman and Deedar Rani Durdana Khan represented Pakistan at the King’s Cup Sepak Takraw World Championship in Thailand.
"A cosmopolitan society regards the distinctive threads of our particular identities as elements that bring beauty to the larger social fabric," replied Mawlana Hazar Imam in response to a question about globalization at Harvard University. The trend toward globalization has ushered us into an age of residing as a global village. To navigate through the challenges posed by increasingly globalized societies, it has become imperative to enhance and promote inter- and intra-religious harmony and develop mutual understanding and empathy based on an acknowledgement of religious diversity and differences.
For more than a century, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and its predecessor institutions have worked for under-developed communities in Asia and Africa to enhance their quality of life. The role of Imamat in the development of the subcontinent goes back to the time of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, who was a stalwart of education. He advocated for quality education and supported the Aligarh University Movement by providing funds, leadership and guidance. By establishing the first Aga Khan School in Gwardar in 1905, Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah laid the foundation of AKDN more than a century ago.
Mental health isn't just the absence of mental illness. It extends to a more holistic spectrum of emotional and social well being, and affects how we think, feel, and act. To raise awareness of mental health issues globally and mobilise efforts around it, World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year. This year's theme highlights the urgency to make quality mental health care a reality for all.
The 20th century writer William Arthur Ward once wrote that “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day 2021, we celebrate the teachers and educators in our Jamat that continue to inspire us week after week, and thus help to positively shape the future of humanity.
In Pakistan, the Ismaili community is scattered all over the country, with a substantial number residing in the mountainous valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. These valleys are known for their beauty and splendour, but also bear many socio-economic and environmental issues. Jamati and AKDN institutions continue to provide access to basic services in the region.
Nizar Ali from Khandujal Village has become the first lawyer in Australia from Chitral. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Karachi, he struggled to procure a respectable career during the recession in 2008. Looking at his peers moving to Australia, he decided to apply for a degree in higher education in Australia.
The ongoing development of new Jamatkhanas in the northern areas of Pakistan has constituted the ground breaking of four new Jamatkhanas in Gilgit-Baltistan and Upper Chitral. The new spaces allocated are seismic-resistant and will serve as a multipurpose space for the community.