Mian Shah Din
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Mian Shah Din was born at Lahore in 1868 in the Arain Mian Family of Baghbanpura, Lahore.
In 1887, he graduated from the Government College, Lahore, and left for higher study of Law in England, being the first Muslim from the Punjab to go abroad for this purpose. While in England he joined Sir Abdul Rahim and others in the foundation of the Anjuman-i-Islamiya, London, which was established on 10 November 1889. This was the first Muslim organization in the United Kingdom and Shah Din was elected its Vice-President.
In 1891, he established Young Men Mohammedan Association at Lahore. Two years later, he read out at the All-India Mohammedan Educational Conference, a learned and thoughtful paper on “The Education of Musalmans in the Punjab”, which remains a mine of information for the historians. This paper impressed Syed Ahmad Khan so much that Shah Din was chosen, at the early age of twenty-six, to preside over the next session of the All-India Mohammedan Educational Conference.
Mian Shah Din was one of the members of the Simla Deputation in 1906. After the All-India Muslim League was established, an active provincial branch was organized in the Punjab in November 1907 and Shah Din was elected its president.
In Oct. 1908, he was appointed as a (first Muslim) Judge of the Punjab Chief Court. Mian Shah Din presided Muhammadan Educational Conference in 1894 and 1913. He was fellow of the Punjab University, Lahore, in 1895 and worked as a Trustee of the Aligarh College in 1896. He also launched monthly magazine "Humayun". Allama Iqbal's poem 'Humayun' is also about that magazine.
Under the Minto-Morley Act of 1909 Mian Shah Din along with Sir Mian Mohammad Shafi, Umar Hayat Tiwana and Chaudhary Shahab-ud-din was taken on the Punjab Council. These leaders were marked by their progressive and liberal views. Drawn from the Muslim middle class, this group was western educated. It had championed the Pan-Islamic Movement which emerged in 1911 even at the cost of displeasing the government. It felt betrayed at the annulment of the Partition of Bengal, and claimed ‘Islam to be in danger’. In March 1908, Mian Shah Din was elected President of the All-India Muslim League.
Mian Shah Din died in 1918 at the age of fifty, and was eulogised by Muhammad Iqbal.
Books for further reading
- Justice Shah Din, by Bashir Ahmad (1962).
- Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan, Lahore, 1997 (7th edition), by S.M. Ikram.
- The Punjab in 1920’s (A Case Study of Muslims) Karachi, 1997, by Zarina Salamat.