Yar Mohammad Khan

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Yar Mohammad Khan
Born September 9, 1920
Rai Saheb Bazar, Dhaka, British India
Died August 29, 1981
Madras, India
Resting place Rai Saheb Bazar Family Graveyard, Dhaka
Nationality Bangladeshi
Occupation Politician, Founder of Bangladesh Awami League and The Daily Ittefaq
Spouse(s) Late Begum Jahanara Khan

Yar Mohammad Khan (September 9, 1920 – August 29, 1981) was one of the founders of the Bangladesh Awami League.[1][page needed][2][3][page needed][4][page needed] He was the founder treasurer[5] of the Awami League and one of the five members of the founding committee of the party, along with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and Shamsul Haque. His residence in 18, Karkun Bari Lane, Dhaka was the first main office and headquarters of Bangladesh Awami League and was so for the first few years of the party.[6] He was also the main sponsor of Bangladesh Awami League and it was his able financing that helped mobilize and galvanize Awami League in its initial stages that contributed in bolstering the strength of the party and hence catapulted it to the position of being the main political party that eventually led Bangladesh's struggle for independence against the West Pakistan regime.

The Unfinished Memoirs[edit]

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed his views about a prominent leader like Yar Mohammad Khan in his autobiography The Unfinished Memoirs. Yar Mohammad Khan as one of the key founders of Awami Muslim League in 1949. Presenting to you as historical masterpiece in the words of Sheikh Shaheb in his biography, The Unfinished Memoirs.[6] Following scripts are written by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[7]

Political career[edit]

Organized the first public meeting of Awami Muslim League at Armanitola, Dhaka[edit]

We called another public meeting in Armanitola Maidan on 11 October. We had one microphone and our workers went around on a horse carriage to announce the date and time of the meeting. Muslim League attacked them and snatched away the microphone from them. I said, Why have you snatched our microphone away? That is very unfair. Give it back to us. They said, We didn't take it and have no idea

who is responsible for it. Right then two Awami League workers, Yar Mohammad Khan and Hafizuddin were passing by in a rickshaw. I hailed Yar Mohammad and appraised him about what was happening. Yar Mohammad Khan was a long-time resident of the city and came from a good family, was well-off, and had many people working for him. He told them, why did you take away the microphone? So what if we have? At this Yar Mohammad raised his fist and hit the man. Their colleagues at the Muslim League now joined in and attacked us. The owner of Presidency Library, Mr Humayun came out and took Yar Mohammad Khan to his office. Meanwhile our opponents began to hail abuse on us from outside the office. I took a rickshaw and rushed to the Awami League office where I recruited some ten to twelve of our workers. Hafizuddin took a rickshaw too and sped to Yar Mohammad's neighborhood. Instantly, his brother, relatives, friends and neighbors thronged to the spot. Those who were abusing Yar Mohammad Khan, vanished immediately.When I came back to the scene, the police had arrived. Yar Mohammad's men accompanied him and they attacked the local Muslim League office, which was just round the corner in Rai Saheb Bazar. From this day forward, no one had the courage to assault or harass us any more in Dhaka. From this time onward Yar Mohammad began to take an active part in politics too, consolidating our party's strength in Dhaka city.[8] This incident was enough to establish Awami League in the Dhaka city.

Formation of Awami Muslim League[edit]

In 1949, Moulana Bhasani discussed with disaffected elements of the East Pakistan Muslim League the possibility of forming a new political party. A committee, headed by Bhashai as president and Yar Mohammad Khan as secretary, was set up to organise a June 20 conference on the matter. There a resolution was adopted creating the Awami Muslim League.[9]

In 1949 People were gearing up for a grand meeting of workers. From our jail cell we came to know that elaborate preparations going on. An office has been set up at 150 Mughaltuli. Shawkat Mia was looking after all the logistical details. Who else in Dhaka was competent enough to take care of food and accommodation matters? Yar Mohammad Khan, a veteran League worker of Dhaka was assisting him. Mr. Khan was resourceful in that he had the finances and the manpower to help. The party was formed and named East Pakistan Awami Muslim League. Moulana Bhasani was made President, Shamsul Huq was General Secretary, Ataur Rahman Khan, Vice President, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Joint Secretary and Yar Mohammad Khan, Treasurer.[10]

Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani's guest house in Dhaka[edit]

While I was in the sedative-induced sleep, Moulana Bhasani had sent instructions directing me to evade arrest. Moulana Bhasani used to stay with Yar Mohammad Khan's house at 18 Karkun Bari Lane. I had to meet him to find out why he had wanted me to evade arrest. I took a rickshaw to a fellow party worker's house. The two of us then headed for Yar Mohammad Khan's house. I could enter the house through a rear door. We took this route to get in. The policemen who were guarding the front door thus failed to spot us. The Moulana and Yar Mohammad seemed very glad to see me. I asked Moulana why he had wanted me to flee and avoid arrest.

Funding Awami League in establishing[edit]

Mr. Ataur Rahman Khan was assisting me in every manner possible in running the party. Yar Mohammad Khan was also helping me in many ways. After Shamsul Huq I had to organize the party. Yar Mohammad Khan began to assist me in party work and I found him indispensable. The first party council meeting was summoned in Dhaka. However, getting a hall for the purpose proved difficult. In the end Yar Mohammad Khan managed to get Mukul Cinema Hall for the council.[11]

United Front[edit]

I came to know that Sher-E-Bangla Fazlul Huq signed an agreement to form United Front. I just couldn't figure out how such a thing could have taken place. When I came back to Dhaka I went to Mr. Yar Mohammad Khan's house to meet Moulana Bhasani. The Awami League office was on the ground floor of the building where Yar Mohammad Khan's lived.[12] Soon after Sher-E-Bangla was elected the leader of the United Front he was invited by the Governor of East Pakistan to form the ministry. He told the Governor that he would soon submit the list of the ministers. That evening Mr. Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Moulana Bhasani went to meet him. I accompanied the two to Mr. Huq's house. However, I was not made privy to their discussions which took place in another room. After a while Shahid Surwahardi and Moulana Bhasani came out and we went straight to Yar Mohammad Khan's residence. Mr. Ataur Rahman Khan was already there. They told us that Mr. Huq wants to form a government with 4-5 ministers. At that meeting Shahid Surwahardi, Moulana Bhasani and all of us decided that Awami League wouldn't join his cabinet now. Mr. Huq declared to Mr. Surwahardi and Moulana Bhasani that, 'I won't make Sheikh Mujibur Rahman minister in my cabinet. Mr. Suhrawardi responded, 'It is up to me and the Moulana to decide who the Awami League will nominate.' When we all were discussing all these in Yar Mohammad Khan's house, Mr. Huq sent a message that he would include me in his cabinet.

Member of East Bengal Legislative Assembly[edit]

Yar Mohammad Khan was elected to the East Bengal Legislative Assembly on a United Front coalition ticket in 1954. 'United Front' consisted mainly of four parties of East Bengal, namely Awami League, Krishak Sramik Party, Nizam-e-Islam and Ganatantri Dal.[13]

Dissolution of United Front government and arrest of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman[edit]

Renu got my things ready. I told her, 'Do what you think is best but staying at Dhaka will be tough for you all. It will be best for you to go to our village.' I had requested my friend Yar Mohammad Khan to rent a house for her if Renu decided not to go to our village. He and the owner of Hotel Al Helal, Haji Helal Uddin had done so and helped her in my absence. A few days later when Yar Mohammad Khan was bringing Renu to meet me he was arrested at the prison gate. He had been elected MLA from a Dhaka Constituency.[14] Renu sent me a telegram to inform me that my father was very ill and had little chance of surviving. At that time Mr. M.N. Khan was the chief Secretary of East Pakistan. At 8 pm I heard he had given my release order. I was sad at the thought of leaving behind my colleagues especialty Yar Mohammad Khan since had been arrested at the time when he had come to meet me at the prison. I told him, 'Either you will be released or I will be back in prison with you again.[15]

Kagmari Conference[edit]

Yar Mohammad Khan was the treasurer of the Kagmari Conference committee of Awami League held on 6–10 February 1957. During the Kagmari conference Maulana Bhashani said "good bye" ("Assalamu Alaikum") to the West Pakistani authority. Mirza Mehdy Ispahani who was a close companion of Yar Mohammad Khan flew by a helicopter and attended the historic Kagmari conference.

Beginning of a new life[edit]

Yar Mohammad Khan being the president of Dhaka City Awami League finally resigned in 1958 and quit politics forever due to some unavoidable circumstances. After that the chairman of Ispahani Group requested him and he started working and joined M. M. Ispahani Limited as a Director. No matter what, but these great political leaders Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Mirza Mehdy Ispahani, Yar Mohammad Khan and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were friends forever. And they truly respect each other and this made them legends. Even after quiting politics Yar Mohammad Khan invited Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Maulana Bhashani in his family programs. In 1970, Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Yar Mohammad Khan and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gathered at a wedding program of Yar Mohammad Khan's eldest daughter Shamim Akhtar Khan. [16]

The Daily Ittefaq[edit]

Along with Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani, Yar Mohammad Khan was also the founder of The Daily Ittefaq.[17] Yar Mohammad Khan financed publishing the 'Weekly Ittefaq' from the Paramount Press at 9 Hatkhola Road, Dhaka. The Ittefaq was first published as a weekly paper on December 24, 1949 by Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and Yar Mohammad Khan who was its founder publisher and also the founder treasurer of Bangladesh Awami League. As both were actively involved politics and the anti-Pakistan movement, they appointed Tofazzal Hossain as its editor, who was working in Kolkata at the time as a journalist.[18] Ittefaq had a significant role in the 1954 general elections, and it contributed to the victory of the United Front. Ittefaq always strongly opposed all military rule of Pakistan starting from Ayub Khan to Yahya Khan. Eventually during this time, Ittefaq went from being a weekly to becoming a daily newspaper.[19] In 1958 Tofazzal Hossain changed the name of the original founder and publisher and replaced it with his name. The newspaper incorrectly displays Tofazzal Hossain as its founder.


He died on August 29, 1981 in CMC Hospital Vellore Madras, India from a Cardiac arrest, living behind his wife, two sons, five daughters, a host of relatives and admirers.


  1. ^ Nair, M. Bhaskaran (1990). Politics in Bangladesh: A Study of Awami League, 1949-58. Northern Book Centre. ISBN 978-81-85119-79-3. 
  2. ^ "National Newspapers | Bangladeshi Newspapers, Bangla Newspapers Online - All Daily Newspapers from Bangladesh, Bengali Newspaper". bangladeshnewspaper4all.com. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Ullāha, Māhaphuja (2002). Press Under Mujib Regime. Kakali Prokashani. ISBN 978-984-437-289-4. 
  4. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hasan (1995). Peshawar: Historic City of the Frontier. Sang-e-Meel Publications. 
  5. ^ Harun-or-Rashid Rahman (2012). "Bangladesh Awami League". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  6. ^ a b "The Unfinished Memoirs". Penguin Books India. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  7. ^ https://view.publitas.com/liberationwarbangladesh/the-unfinished-memoirs-sheikh-mujibur-rahman/page/238
  8. ^ https://view.publitas.com/liberationwarbangladesh/the-unfinished-memoirs-sheikh-mujibur-rahman/page/167
  9. ^ Umar, Badruddin (2004). The Emergence of Bangladesh: Class Struggles in East Pakistan (1947-1958). Oxford University Press. pp. 108–109. ISBN 0-19-579571-7. 
  10. ^ https://view.publitas.com/liberationwarbangladesh/the-unfinished-memoirs-sheikh-mujibur-rahman/page/156
  11. ^ https://view.publitas.com/liberationwarbangladesh/the-unfinished-memoirs-sheikh-mujibur-rahman/page/283
  12. ^ https://view.publitas.com/liberationwarbangladesh/the-unfinished-memoirs-sheikh-mujibur-rahman/page/299
  13. ^ Ahmed, Kamal Uddin (2012). "United Front". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  14. ^ https://view.publitas.com/liberationwarbangladesh/the-unfinished-memoirs-sheikh-mujibur-rahman/page/321
  15. ^ https://view.publitas.com/liberationwarbangladesh/the-unfinished-memoirs-sheikh-mujibur-rahman/page/333
  16. ^ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
  17. ^ The Daily Ittefaq
  18. ^ Rahman, Md Hafizur (2012). "Hossain, Tofazzal". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  19. ^ http://www.londoni.co/index.php/who-s-who?id=342