His Highness Aga Khan, the founder chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims in the world. He is on a ten-day visit to India celebrating his six decades global service in different spheres of life. After his arrival on February 20, he met the President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed about various projects of AKDN. The government of India assured him to extend helping hand in his numerous projects in India. Keeping the services of his network, the President said he was the super hero for service to humanity.
During his 3-day visit to Hyderabad, he met the Governor E S L Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan. He thanked the government for its continuous support towards the development of the network. Governor appreciated the service of the network in revitalizing and making accessible to the public sites through conservation and restoration work at Quli Qutb Shah Tombs. He discussed with the Governor and the Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali the various projects functioning in Telangana. Tourism got boost from his network activities. The Deputy Chief Minister expressed his gratitude for the expertise that the network had brought to bear in its initiatives in Telangana.
After years of educating students, the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad is now focusing on teachers’ development. In collaboration with the government of Telangana, department of education, the teachers of local schools will be trained. The work will be entrusted to the professional centre at the Academy. The Academy which was established in 2011 has grown in leaps and bounds. At present 650 students from different social backgrounds from all over the country are getting trained in the Academy. The students are being trained to grapple the future challenges in national and international context. Nationwide the network is helping over 8500 students. Aga Khan told the Deputy Chief Minister that the network is planning to launch new projects in various professional arenas.
The Aga Khan Development Network has various agencies including Aga Khan Health Services, Aga Khan Academies, Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, Aga Khan Foundation, Focus Humanitarian Assistance, Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia. Besides this there are many trusts with different objectives in different countries. They are meant not only to the Ismaili Muslim community, but all people of different religious groups.
The Ismaili Muslims are spread all over the world with wide diversity of cultures particularly in Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and North America. The majority of the community is engaged in business activities. Their colony and Eebadat Khana are situated in Chirag Ali Lane in Hyderabad.
Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah Aga Khan as Imam of the community in 1957 at the age of 20. Named Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan iv is the 49th Imam of the community. He was born in Switzerland in 1936 and was educated at Harvard. After assuming the responsibility he did a lot for his community and then expended his activities throughout the world. Always under media spot light, he was awarded by many international organizations for his humanitarian services.