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Speech at the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. 1962-09-22

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Event - 1962-09-22-A
Saturday, 1962, September 22
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)

On 22nd September 1962 at Calcutta (India) an address of welcome was presented to Mowlana Hazar Imam Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Aga Khan by Shri Keshab Chandra Basu, the speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

The honourable Speaker referring to the illustrious dynasty of His Royal Highness, said, “The Revered House of the Holy Prophet of which you are the rightful representative, has made history for almost 14 long centuries” He also paid tributes to the Indian Ismailis by saying, “The Ismailis constitute a great community in India. Though numerically small, their participation in various works of India’s material life is of no mean order. During the last century, they have substantially contributed to the expansion of industry and commerce in this country.”

Following is His Royal Highness’s reply:

Dear Honourable Mr. Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Let me begin by thanking you Mr. Speaker for the very kind reception you have offered me today and for the kind words which you have spoken about me.

During the last five years I have come fairly frequently to India but have not had the pleasure and good fortune of coming to Calcutta as my community lives mainly in the Bombay, Poona and Saurashtra areas, and it has been, therefore, in these places that I have devoted most of my time. None the less, as you must know, so well, one cannot visit this great country without hearing about Calcutta, and I have been looking to this visit for a long time and am particularly happy to be able to spend a few days here.

My community being spread through so many countries of the world is really in a unique position in that it can and must work for international understanding, while at the same time being loyal and faithful citizens of the countries where it lives.
I was extremely happy, therefore, to hear from you, Mr. Speaker, that my community has played an important part during the last century in the expansion of industry and commerce in this country, and I very much hope that the work they have done in the past will act as a sure stepping stone for even greater work in the future, just as much as in the fields of business and industry as equally so in the fields health and education.

May I finish by thanking you warmly and sincerely for this fine reception and your kind words.

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