A. K. Fazlul Huq

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Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq
আবুল কাশেম ফজলুল হক
A k fazlul hoque.jpg
Governor of East Pakistan
In office
President Iskander Mirza
Succeeded by Sultanuddin Ahmad
Chief Minister of East Bengal
In office
Governor-General Ghulam Muhammad
Iskander Mirza
Succeeded by Abu Hussain Sarkar
Prime Minister of Bengal
In office
1 April 1937 – 29 March 1943
Governor-General The Marquess of Linlithgow
Governor John Arthur Herbert
Preceded by Post created
Succeeded by Khawaja Nazimuddin
Personal details
Born Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq
(1873-10-26)26 October 1873
Bakerganj, British India
(now Jhalokati, Bangladesh)
Died 27 April 1962(1962-04-27) (aged 88)
Dacca, East Pakistan, Pakistan
(now Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Resting place Mausoleum of three leaders
Citizenship British Indian (1873–1947)
Dominion of Pakistan (1947–1956)
Pakistan (1956–1962)
Political party Indian National Congress
All-India Muslim League
Agriculturalist Tenant Party
Workers and Agriculturalists Party
Spouse(s) Khurshid Begum
Jannatunissa Begum
Mussammat Khadija Begum
Children A. K. Faezul Huq
Alma mater Calcutta University

Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq (Bengali: আবুল কাশেম ফজলুল হক; 26 October 1873—27 April 1962);[1] popular with the title Sher-e-Bangla (Tiger of Bengal), was the first to advocate and present the Lahore Resolution, which called for the creation of sovereign Muslim-majority states in eastern and northwestern British India in 1940.[2] In 1943 he was elected Prime Minister of Bengal during the British Empire in Bengal.[3] A distinguished lawyer and advocate, he served as General Secretary of the Indian National Congress; and was a working committee member of the All-India Muslim League. In 1929, he founded the Krishak Praja Party (K.P. P.). After the independence of the two states Dominion of Pakistan and Dominion of India, he moved to Pakistan and led the United Front government in East Pakistan, serving as Chief Minister and Governor. He later served as central minister of home affairs, food and agriculture. A lifelong Bangla nationalist, he is regarded as one of the fore running leaders in the independence of Pakistan. He established the Bangla Academy in Dhaka. Huq died in 1962 and was buried on the grounds of Ramna Park in Shahbag.

Early life[edit]

Huq was born in Saturia village, located in Bakerganj district (now Jhalokati District in Barisal Division, Bangladesh).[4] He passed the entrance examination in 1890 from Barisal Zilla School and the FA Examination in 1892. He then obtained a BA degree (with triple Honours in chemistry, mathematics and physics) from Presidency College.[5] Later he got admitted in MA in English at Calcutta University. Just six months before the final exam, a friend of his father teased him that, Muslims are weak in mathematics and that's why he was studying English. Huq opposed it strongly and challenged his father's friend that he will sit for mathematics exam instead of English. With special permission to attend the exam he passed the Master of Arts in mathematics from Calcutta University with distinction.[5] His formal education was completed with a BL degree in 1897 from the University Law College.

Political career[edit]

After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, A. K. Fazlul Huq emerged as a leader and advocate of the Muslim community of Bengal.[6] Huq was involved in the formation of the All-India Muslim League in Dhaka on 1906. He joined the Bengal Legislative assembly in 1913.[7] After being alienated from the Congress party where he served as its general secretary in 1916–1918, it was up to the Muslims to nominate a mayor in Calcutta. He was involved with the Khilafat Movement and presided over the first all India Khilafat Conference held in Delhi.

A. K. Fazlul Huq was elected to the Bengal Legislative Council and was appointed as the Education Minister under the dyarchy scheme in 1924. As Education Minister he was instrumental in establishing the Islamia College in Calcutta, creating a special directorate for Muslim education and reserving seats for Muslim boys in various colleges in Bengal. These reforms were seen as uplift of only one community and were opposed by the Hindu members of the Legislative Council who passed a no-confidence motion against Huq. Thus, he held office for six months only.[8]

In 1929, he launched the Nikhil Proja Samiti. In 1935, with the backing of Congress, he was elected as the first Muslim mayor of Calcutta.[citation needed] He helped establish many educational institutions for Muslims which made him popular among the middle class. His politics were described by academic Joya Chatterji as a unique blend of "secular nationalism, Bengali patriotism and Muslim populism".[9] He campaigned for the rights of peasant Muslims and against the zamindari system. His view was that both Muslim and Hindu zamindars (landlords) had been harmful for the Muslim peasant farmers.[10]

In 1937 elections took place in British India. A year before that he had converted the Nikhil Proja Samiti to Krishak Praja Party (K.P.P.). Meanwhile, Muhammad Ali Jinnah nominated him to the Muslim League Central Parliamentary Board (C.P.B.) but Huq refused to dissolve his own party citing its bi-communal composition, thus terminating his alliance with the League. When elections were held he successfully challenged Khawaja Nazimuddin for his seat. The K.P.P. won 35 seats. Despite his bitter fight with the League which had won 40 seats, the K.P.P. entered into an alliance with it. The Europeans (25), the Independent Scheduled Castes (23) and the Independent Caste Hindus (14) lent support to the alliance. As a result, Huq was appointed the Premier of Bengal.

His period in office was unstable as it was marred by controversies. In 1938, the Independent Scheduled Castes seceded and the K.P.P. slowly started disintegrating. He also moved the famous Lahore Resolution in 1940 which increased communal tensions. He moved the Lahore Resolution, drafted by Sir Zafrulla Khan, of 1940 that established Muslim League's demand for a homeland for Muslims; that ultimately resulted in the nation of Pakistan.[11] In 1941, The Viceroy of India, Victor Alexander John Hope, 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow nominated him to the Defense Council but Muhammad Ali Jinnah who headed the All-India Muslim League asked him to resign. He obeyed but, to demonstrate his unhappiness, resigned from the League Working Committee and the All-India Muslim League.[12][13] As a result of Huq's reluctance to obey, the League ministers resigned.

In the early 1940s, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League conducted a public campaign against Huq. He was accused of being a traitor and working against the interests of Bengali Muslims. This harmed Muslim unity in East Bengal and damaged Huq's reputation.[14] In 1945, he contested elections successfully from two seats. But his party was trounced badly by the All-India Muslim League. In 1947, he joined the League campaign to include Calcutta in Pakistan.[15] The opposition of the Congress, however, ensured a partition of the province. Later on he accused Jinnah of not working hard enough for the cause.

He became Chief Minister of East Bengal in 1952. He was involved in the Bengali language movement and was injured in police action.[citation needed] In 1954 Sher-e-Bangla, Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy and Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani led the United Front to an election victory in East Pakistan over the Muslim League.[4] The United Front faced controversy over two of its demands. These were "the recognition of Bangla as a national language along with Urdu" and "autonomy for East Pakistan". The New York Times columnist John P. Callaghan published a story which said that Huq wanted independence and not autonomy for East Pakistan. Huq denied it vehemently.[16] He suggested the Pakistan Army headquarters could be kept in West Pakistan while the Naval headquarters should be moved to East Bengal. The National Government should be in charge of only defense, foreign policy and currency. Ethnic rioting broke out in Adamjee Jute Mills in Narayanganj between Bengali workers and non-Bengali management.[17] As a result of this rioting, Governor General of Pakistan dismissed the East Bengal government.[18] In 1955, he was Home Minister of Pakistan and, from 1956 to 1958, Governor of East Pakistan.[19]

Personal life[edit]

He was married three times. His first wife was Khurshid Begum with whom he had two daughters. The marriage ended in divorce. His second wife was Musammat Jannatunissa Begum who was from Howrah, West Bengal. They had no children. His third wife Khadija was from Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh. They had a son together, A. K. Faezul Huq, who played an active role in Bangladeshi politics.[20]


Sher-e-Bangla founded several educational and technical institutions for Bengali Muslims, including Islamia College in Calcutta, Baker hostel and Carmichael hostel residence halls for Muslim students of the University of Calcutta, Lady Brabourne College, Adina Fazlul Huq College in Rajshahi, Eliot hostel, Tyler Hostel, Medical College hostel, Engineering College hostel, Muslim Institute Building, Dhaka Eden Girls' College Building, Fazlul Huq College at Chakhar, Fazlul Huq Hall (Dhaka University), Sher-e-Bangla Hall (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU) Dhaka-1207, Bulbul Music Academy and Central Women's College. Sher-e-Bangla had significant contribution in founding the leading university of Bangladesh: Dhaka University. During his premiership Bangla Academy was founded and Bengali New Year's Day (Pohela Boishakh) was declared a public holiday.[21]

Throughout Bangladesh, educational institutions (e.g., Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College), roads, neighbourhoods (Sher-e-Bangla Nagor), and stadiums (Sher-e-Bangla Mirpur Stadium) have been named after him. This depicts the respect of the people for Sher-e-Bangla. One of the main roads in Islamabad A.K.M. Fazlul Haq Road is named after him.[22]


  1. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan. (1986) Eight Lives, SUNY Press. p. 189. ISBN 0-88706-196-6.
  2. ^ Rahman, Jahed (2014). Bends and Shades. Xlibris Corp. p. 68. ISBN 9781493175048. 
  3. ^ "Post-Independence, a Prime Minister for Bengal!". The Times of India. 
  4. ^ a b Haque, Syed Badrul. "Remembering Sher-e-Bangla". The Daily Star. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
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  6. ^ Guhathakurta, Meghna; Schendel,, Willem van (2013). Bangladesh Reader : History, Culture, Politics. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 134. ISBN 9780822353188. 
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  10. ^ Lewis, David (2011). Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society. Cambridge University Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-139-50257-3. 
  11. ^ Stevenson, Richard. (2005) Bengal Tiger and British Lion, iUniverse. p. 107. ISBN 0-595-36209-5.
  12. ^ Qizilbash, Basharat Hussain. "The Quaid’s lieutenants". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  13. ^ Mitra, Asok (1991). Towards independence, 1940-1947 : memoirs of an Indian civil servant. Bombay: Popular Prakashan. p. 52. ISBN 9788171545377. 
  14. ^ Nair, M.B. (1990). Politics in Bangladesh : A Study of Awami League, 1949-58. New Delhi: Northern Book Centre. p. 40. ISBN 9788185119793. 
  15. ^ "The Tiger of Bengal". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  16. ^ Chatterjee, Pranab (2010). A story of ambivalent modernization in Bangladesh and West Bengal : the rise and fall of Bengali elitism in South Asia. New York: Peter Lang. p. 23. ISBN 9781433108204. 
  17. ^ Sission, Richard; Rose, Leo E. (1991). War and secession : Pakistan, India, and the creation of Bangladesh. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 12–13. ISBN 9780520076655. 
  18. ^ Mitra, Subrata K.; Enskat,, Mike; Lawson, Clemens Spiess ; foreword by Kay (2004). Political parties in South Asia. Westport, CT: Praeger. p. 217. ISBN 9780275968328. 
  19. ^ Beaumont, edited by Christophe Jaffrelot ; translated by Gillian (2004). A history of Pakistan and its origins (New ed.). London: Anthem. p. 49. ISBN 9781843311492. 
  20. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (1986). Eight lives : a study of the Hindu-Muslim encounter. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press. ISBN 9780887061967. 
  21. ^ "Great Politicians". Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq (Krisak Proja Party). Muktadhara. 9 May 2001. p. 67. Archived from the original on 8 September 2007. Retrieved 14 September 2007. 
  22. ^ On the 49th death anniversary of the man who moved the resolution that eventually resulted in the creation of Pakistan, there is barely a mention of him in the media. Some years ago the name of the road was misspelt as Fazle Haq Road, and it has been changed to A K M Fazlul Haq. What the letter "M" stands for remains a mystery. In memory of Fazlul Haq

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