And finally we would like to give you an opportunity to give special message to all youths in Tanzania. Specially those who are getting on with life in say schools or universities. You can tell them anything at all …

Well, thank you very much. I have spoken to the students at the schools which we run here, Aga Khan Schools in Tanzania, and I think they know my thoughts on the question of education. Basically I believe that those students who are at school now should keep in the back of their minds the fact that this is the time and the only time that they can prepare themselves for the future to serve their country, to serve their own families and to serve organisations they take part and I think if they would keep this realisation in the back of their minds, during their educational career, they will succeed in bringing into their studies a sense of purpose which might not be there if they failed to realise that once they complete their education they cannot put the clock back any more than I have been able to in sports for example. They either complete their education and make a success of it and then go ahead and try to make success of their lives or they mess up their education and there is little chance they will be of much success afterwards.

Radio Tanzania: Your Highness, first of all we would like to thank you on behalf of all of us in Radio Tanzania for according us this honour to come and talk to you. Your Highness, your present 54 day tour of East African countries is certainly one of the most extensive you have undertaken so far. Could you explain the purpose of your visit?

His Highness the Aga Khan: Yes indeed. The last time I was able to make a long and thorough and extensive tour of East Africa was many years ago before Uhuru in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and I wanted to see what developments had taken place in these three lovely countries of East Africa. And, I believe, to get a clear impression of the development that has taken place it is necessary to go into some of the smaller centres and not only be taken up in the fury of the capitals.

RT: But your visit I think has a great impact as far as the industrial field is concerned and you are reported to have said that the best way in which Ismailis can be of use to African countries and help them in their development is to evacuate those fields where the interference might restrict African Development. Could you elaborate on that statement?

I think that [what] we must now try to do is to use our brain power, our commercial sense and whatever capital we have, to support those development programmes where, maybe, support is not easily found.

AK: Yes, I can certainly elaborate on it. I think in all developing countries, and not only in the East African countries, the development takes place through a conjunction of efforts and in East Africa, as you know, the various communities, prior to independence, developed each one their own way. This was I think, is generally accepted and I believe that now the conjunction of efforts must take place in such a way that those who have particular aptitude bring these aptitudes in the support of general development in those areas of the economy where these aptitudes will have the results. Now the members of the Ismaili Community, I think, are good businessmen, they have good business sense. I have done as much as I could, in conjunction of course with the wonderful efforts of the Government, to improve the educational level of the schools — that is the Aga Khan Schools — in this country and I think that [what] we must now try to do is to use our brain power, our commercial sense and whatever capital we have, to support those development programmes where, maybe, support is not easily found. That is what I am really getting at when I say that I believe that Ismaili Community can contribute in a big way to develop East Africa if they will go into industry.

RT: So that is why we can say that you have taken the initiative and actually personal interest in the East African Industrial Service?

AK: Yes, this is quite correct. Industrial Promotion Services were founded by myself and I can tell you that our programme is only just beginning and I hope to extend the programme considerably in the years ahead.

RT: So you can foresee that the services will have a wider scope in the future?

AK: Very definitely. I would like to see Industrial Promotion Services acting as a company which will guide private investments in East African countries along the lines which are suggested by the Government in collaboration with the Government Development Corporations, also in collaboration with private initiative in East Africa and foreign know-how and foreign capital, where necessary.

RT: And on what kind of industries you would want to concentrate on in the IPS first?

AK: Well, this of course depends a little bit on the general state of economy in this country where the IPS is working, but for the moment we are specialising on consumer goods and transformation processes and, I think, maybe in few years time, we may move on to intermediate or even a few heavy industries, but for the moment from what our studies have told us, it is mainly consumer goods and transformation of local goods that we feel we can do the best work.

RT: Now getting out of East Africa, we would like to touch world problems as a whole. First of all we would like to start with the United Nations. In a way Your Highness, your family has a long tradition of association with the United Nations. Your grandfather, for example, [the] late Aga Khan The III, served as the President of League of Nations and your father was at one time Chief of the Pakistani Delegation to the General Assembly and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan is the present U.N. High Commissioner for refugees and now your young brother Prince Amin Mohamed has joined the United Nations Economic, Social Affairs department. Doesn’t it make you feel that you should have followed suit and served the United Nations for at least a short time?

[A]lthough one day I certainly might like to get into the field of International Diplomacy, I certainly don’t see that day near at the moment because there are many other matters that I must handle first and which are very important for me.

AK: I think that is fair comment except quite frankly I think most people know that I have a large amount of work and I would never wish to take on responsibilities I did not believe I had the time to fulfilling them and although one day I certainly might like to get into the field of International Diplomacy, I certainly don’t see that day near at the moment because there are many other matters that I must handle first and which are very important for me.

RT: And what do you think of the present world situation as a whole? I mean it has been described as chaotic, dangerous or explosive and so on. How would you describe it?

AK: Well, I am not a politician and my work is really to try to help people to find their own course in life and develop according to certain principles in which we as well as Muslims believe. The only thing I can say is that I think this is the time when every effort should be made to restore peace everywhere in the world simply because I think may be within the next ten years there will be an enormous consciousness, which maybe does not exist at the moment, of the fact that the human beings breath the same air, they have the same colour blood running in their veins, basic to the same hopes and the same aspirations all over the world. I think this would come at a time when our human race really starts bumping up at problems of the outer world and when our communications on this Earth bring the peoples of the various parts of the world in much closer contact than they are today. This is already happening.

RT: The question of the world peace, Your Highness, was what prompted His Holiness Pope Paul VI to pay a personal visit to the United Nations and address the General Assembly last year. It was October 4th, if I remember right. How would you explain the response to the Pope’s message so far?

AK: Well it is very difficult for me to say because to answer a question like that I would have to have travelled extensively since that message which I am afraid I would have not been able to do. But I would have thought that the response has been encouraging, but there again it is encouraging within the limits of wishes of each individual nations. I believe that this problem is really one of the sincerity of purpose of those nations who are at the United Nations. It is their sincerity of purpose which will determine whether or not they honestly wish for a peaceful world.

RT: And do you think that the other religious leaders should also take similar actions by either sending pleas to United Nations of paying personal visits and address the General Assembly?

AK: It is a difficult question for me to answer because there are many many religious leaders in the world and I don’t think that all religious leaders should aspire to go and speak to the General Assembly of the United Nations. I think perhaps the better course would be for every religious leader in the work he does to try to preach the principles which would establish the peace that we are all hoping for. I think this, perhaps, is a real practical way of trying to solve the problem we are facing today.

RT: And one of our problems in Africa, I think our immediate problem is the question of refugees. And now then you are associated with this problem, as far as Prince Sadruddin is the United Nations Refugees High Commissioner, perhaps you have discussed privately with him and what do you think of the problem which has been described a great humanitarian problem.

AK: I think the refugee problem is one of the delicate problems of today’s world. Quite frankly in my own community, in the Ismaili community, we try to get around solving this problem through self-help schemes etcetera. I have not discussed this in great deal with Prince Sadruddin because he is very busy and so am I, but certainly in so far as I can be of assistance to him, in his programme, I think that he knows that he can always seek my support.

Basically, I think [skiing] is still my favourite sport but my days of [a] sportsman are well over and gone I am afraid.

RT: Now getting away from the economic on social or political problems, I would like to ask one or two questions [about] yourself. Your Highness, I know you are a great sportsman. Do you get enough time to practice your skiing or tennis or … ?

AK: I must say that this is the first trip to East Africa when I may have simply not been able to do any sports at all. I no longer have the time to do any form of regular sports. Sometimes I get a week of skiing. Basically, I think that is still my favourite sport but my days of [a] sportsman are well over and gone I am afraid.

RT: You wouldn’t even like to go back five or ten years back when you took part in the Olympic Games?

AK: Oh, if I had the occasion to I would certainly welcome it, but life is such that these things are things of [a] time and when the time is over you can’t put the clock back. I personally would like to have gone on with the competitive skiing etcetera [but] it was just no longer possible.

RT: And finally we would like to give you an opportunity to give special message to all youths in Tanzania. Specially those who are getting on with life in say schools or universities. You can tell them anything at all …

AK: Well, thank you very much. I have spoken to the students at the schools which we run here, Aga Khan Schools in Tanzania, and I think they know my thoughts on the question of education. Basically I believe that those students who are at school now should keep in the back of their minds the fact that this is the time and the only time that they can prepare themselves for the future to serve their country, to serve their own families and to serve organisations they take part and I think if they would keep this realisation in the back of their minds, during their educational career, they will succeed in bringing into their studies a sense of purpose which might not be there if they failed to realise that once they complete their education they cannot put the clock back any more than I have been able to in sports for example. They either complete their education and make a success of it and then go ahead and try to make success of their lives or they mess up their education and there is little chance they will be of much success afterwards.

I think certainly one thing is that your teenagers have maturity and a consciousness which is not to be found in many parts of the world.

RT: African countries I think have reputation of having a very understanding youth as far as teenage problems are concerned. Do you agree with this thought?

AK: Well I do not know what you mean by understanding youth in reference to teenage problem but I think certainly one thing is that your teenagers have maturity and a consciousness which is not to be found in many parts of the world.

RT: Well thank you very much, Your Highness, and we thank you again for giving us this opportunity.

AK: It was a pleasure to talk to you.

SOURCES

  • Original typed transcript

    [Text verified and/or corrected from this source by NanoWisdoms]

  • A few short excerpts were published in the Daily Nation, Nairobi, Kenya, 29 October 1966, pp 3

    [Text verified and/or corrected from this source by NanoWisdoms]

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