INDIA: Water, Words & Gold

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Whenever a bath is taken by His Highness the Aga Khan, the bathwater is carefully preserved, bottled and shipped to Mohammedan communities throughout the world. Thus the faithful are provided with a priceless boon. Holy Water in which a descendant of Prophet Mohammed has laved himself. No niggard, the Aga Khan charges for the really enormous quantity of water in which he bathes each year, only his weight in gold. The ceremony of weighing His Highness takes place each twelvemonth at Aga Hall, Bombay; and then and there the golden wage is payed by representatives of the various Mohammedan sects. No fool, the Aga Khan keeps fat. Also he is at pleasure to stand in with the British Government,* which pays him privily a fat subsidy for his good offices among the Mohammedan subjects of George V, Last week at Delhi, the splendrous new Capital of British India, it was His Highness the Aga Khan who presided as Chairman of the All Indian Mohammedan Conference (TIME, Jan. 7). On the agenda was a momentous question. Should the assembled Mohammedans endorse the demand that India be given ''Dominion Status" within a year, which was voiced last fortnight in Calcutta by the Indian National Congress, a gathering not of Mohammedans but of Hindus. When the matter had been thoroughly thrashed out and winnowed, last week, the Aga Khan deftly guided the Mohammedan Conference into adopting a resolution which absolutely ignored the Hindu demand upon Great Britain for ''Dominion Status." voicing instead merely the desire that Mohammedans should be accorded greater representation in the present native Assembly of the Government of India.

Since it is the virile Mohammedans and not the lackadaisical, jabbering Hindus who might be expected to strike a blow for "Dominion Status," the service of His Highness the Aga Khan to Britain, last week, was worth incalculably more than even the fat Khan's great weight in gold.

*And with British masses who bet heavily on many an Aga Khan horse.