Prime Minister of Bengal

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Prime Minister of Bengal in the British Indian Empire
Arms of Bengal.png
Arms of Bengal
British Raj Red Ensign.svg
StyleThe Honorable
AppointerGovernor of Bengal
Formation1 April 1937
First holderA. K. Fazlul Huq
Final holderH. S. Suhrawardy
Abolished14 August 1947

The Prime Minister of Bengal was the head of government and the Leader of the House in the Bengal Legislative Assembly in British India. The position was dissolved upon the Partition of Bengal in 1947.

History[edit]

The office was created under the Government of India Act 1935, which granted Bengal a bicameral legislature, including the Bengal Legislative Council and the Bengal Legislative Assembly. The Prime Minister was in charge of the executive branch.[1] The Prime Minister of Bengal played an important role in pan-Indian politics, including proclaiming the Lahore Resolution and dealing with Japanese attacks during World War II.

The Congress party boycotted the office due to its anti-British policy. The office was held by three Muslims. The first premier was A. K. Fazlul Huq, the leader of the anti-feudalist Krishak Praja Party. Huq formed his first government with the All India Muslim League in 1937.[citation needed] The League withdrew support in 1941, after which Huq forged a coalition with the Hindu Mahasabha led by Syama Prasad Mukherjee. The Huq-Syama coalition lasted till 1943. Huq was succeeded by a Muslim League ministry led by Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin. An unpopular conservative, the Nazimuddin ministry lasted till 1945,[2][3] when governor's rule was imposed. The next election saw H. S. Suhrawardy lead the Muslim League to a majority. Suhrawardy sought an undivided Bengal with support from Hindu leaders and the British governor; but faced challenges like the Noakhali riots and Direct Action Day.

Office holders[edit]

Writer's Building in Kolkata, the former seat of the Government of undivided Bengal
The mausoleum of Huq, Nazimuddin and Suhrawardy in Dhaka
No Name Image Term(s)[4] Party Governor Viceroy
1 Sher-e-Bangla
A. K. Fazlul Huq
A k fazlul hoque.jpg 1 April 1937 - 1 December 1941
12 December 1941 - 29 March 1943
Krishak Praja Party Sir John Arthur Herbert The Marquess of Linlithgow
2 Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin Khawaja Nazimuddin of Pakistan.JPG 29 April 1943 - 31 March 1945 Bengal Provincial Muslim League Sir John Arthur Herbert (-1944)
Sir Richard Casey (1944-)
The Marquess of Linlithgow
The Viscount Wavell
3 H. S. Suhrawardy Suhrawardy of Bengal.jpg 23 April 1946 - 14 August 1947 Bengal Provincial Muslim League Sir Richard Casey (-1946)
Sir Frederick Burrows
The Viscount Wavell
Earl Mountbatten

Legacy[edit]

When Bengal was partitioned, the office was succeeded by the Chief Minister of West Bengal and the Chief Minister of East Bengal.

All three Bengali premiers moved to East Bengal, where they continued to be influential statesmen. Nazimuddin and Suhrawardy became Prime Ministers of Pakistan, while Huq served as East Bengal's chief minister, and later as East Pakistan's governor. The three premiers are considered the forerunners of politics in modern Bangladesh.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sen, Saibal (15 August 2013). "Post-Independence, a Prime Minister for Bengal!". Times of India.
  2. ^ Ayesha Jalal (1994). The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-521-45850-4. The [Nazimuddin] ministry was unpopular ... No one was particularly sorry to see the League ministry fall.
  3. ^ Alamgir, Mohammad (2012). "Nazimuddin, Khwaja". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. On 1 December 1941 he resigned from the cabinet because of dissension between Huq and Jinnah. During the Shyama-Huq coalition (1942 to 1943) he acted as the Leader of the Opposition.
  4. ^ "Premier of Bengal". West Bengal Legislative Assembly. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.