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'Note by the Aga Khan and M. A. Ali Baig on the situation in Egypt' [‎57v] (6/10)

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The record is made up of 1 file (5 folios). It was created in 12 Jan 1915. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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of the people is adopted, and ii in the governance of the country the good
of the Egyptians and their legitimate expectations as a self-respecting nation
are not subordinated to other considerations, the Nationalists would cordially
support the British authorities. They admitted that the measures for
extending cultivation and improving the material condition of the f ellah
had been strikingly successful, but in their opinion the educational policy of
the Egyptian Government under British guidance had been somewhat hall-
hearted, and it left an impression upon their minds that a real uplifting ol
the people of Egypt in the scale of nations w r as not desired for political
reasons, which, they urged, should not be allowed to stand in the way of
national advancement.
(18.) The Kanoun-al-Matbuat or the Press Law of 1909 has produced a
sobering effect on the Egyptian Vernacular Press. At one time there used
to be about 60 Arabic papers, and nearly the same number in European
languages in circulation in the country. The number of the vernacular
journals has considerably decreased recently.
The activities of the Arabic Press in Egypt were inspired and developed
by the different political parties, which under martial law are at present
quiescent. The most important of these organizations are :—
(1.) The Nationalist Party to which we have already referred.
(2.) The Hisb-al-Umma or the People’s Party ; and
(3.) The Islah or the Reform Party.
The organ of the Nationalist Party, M-Lewa, started in 1898 was the
most important political paper of its time. It was suppressed in 1912. Its
policy was inspired by Mustafa Pasha Kamel. The Numb replaced the
Lew a and subsequently Al-Alam. The latter was also suppressed in
November 1914.
1 he organ of the 1 lisb-al-l mma—a party composed ol men of substance,
the moderation of whose views was intended to serve as a counterpoise to
nationalist activities is .1/ (iarula. I he paper has dwindled in importance
since the resignation ol its editor, Luili-al-Sayed, an honest journalist whose
idealism was somewhat out of tune with the realities of the situation in
The Reform Party, which identilied itself with the policy of the ex-
Khedive, ventilated its views through the columns of AL-Moayijad. The
paper was at one time ably edited, and often adopted an independent
attitude, it has ceased to be ol much importance now.
Of the independent papers the /U-. l/mzm, started in 187b, is the oldest
and the best. It is an exponent of moderate and reasonable views, and its
policy is pro-British.
Al-Mokattam is another important paper. It is under the management
of Syrian Christians whose policy is strongly anti-Turkish. The paper is
looked upon as a semi-official organ of the British Agency An office of the British Government and, earlier, of the East India Company. , and the Moslem
Egyptians, we are informed, view it with distrust and suspicion. In this
connection we may incidentally mention that the attitude of the British
authorities towards the Syrians is being watched with some apprehension
by the Egyptian Moslems.
The Copts have two organs, the Misr and Al-Watan, which watch over
and advocate their interests.
Among the European papers the most important seem to be the Egyptian
('(izette, Le 1 hare dAlexandria, Le Journal <lu Gaire, I'Lgypte-Egyptian
Morning Lews and La Bourse hgyptienne. All these are exponents of
European views.
It appears to us from what we have heard that under the combined
opeiation of the I less Act and martial law, the Arabic Press has to a large
extent ceased to reflect the trend of Egyptian feeling in all its aspects. The
suppression of some of the virulent papers was, however, a necessary
measure at the present juncture.

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The file contains the views of the Aga Khan (Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah), and M A Ali Baig on the political situation in Egypt, based on a series of interviews held during a visit to Ismailia [Al Ismā'īlīyah], Suez, Port Said [Būr Saʻīd], Tanta, Alexandria, and the camps of the Indian troops, from 19 December 1914 to 12 January 1915.

It is divided into the following sections:

  • the attitude of the Egyptian people – regarding Britain, Turkey, and the First World War;
  • the Moslem Egyptians;
  • the Copts;
  • the Greeks and other races;
  • the Egyptian aristocracy;
  • the aspirations of educated Egyptians;
  • the Protectorate;
  • the new Sultan;
  • the Ministers and their Advisors;
  • the Nationalists;
  • the Egyptian press;
  • the Caliphate;
  • the Jehad Fetwa;
  • the Effect of Earl Kitchener's policy;
  • the Indian Troops;
  • Conclusion.
Extent and format
1 file (5 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at f 55, and terminates at f 59, as it is part of a larger physical volume; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel between ff 55-59; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled. Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

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English in Latin script
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'Note by the Aga Khan and M. A. Ali Baig on the situation in Egypt' [‎57v] (6/10), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B208, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 23 October 2019]

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