A K Fazl ul Huq
Written by LegendsofPakistan   

Abul Kashem Fazlul Huq (Abul Kashem Fozlul Hôk) (26 October 1873—27 April 1962), often referred to as Sher-e-Bangla (Shere Bangla, from Urdu: Sher-e Bangla "Tiger of Bengal") was a well-known Bengali statesman in the first half of the 20th century.

He held different political posts including those of General Secretary of Indian National Congress (1918–1919), Education Minister (1924), the first Muslim Mayor of Calcutta (1935), Chief Minister of undivided Bengal (1937–1943) and East Pakistan (1954), Home Minister of Pakistan (1955–56), Governor of East Pakistan (1956–58), Food and Agriculture Minister of Pakistan (1958–61)

Huq was born to an agricultural peasant's family to parents Qazi Muhammad Wajed, from Chakhar, and his wife Saidunnissa Khatun, in his mother's town of Saturia in Jhalokati district (present day Bangladesh). His primary education began at a local Madrassah ( Islamic school). Later he got admitted to Barisal Zilla School and from there passed the Entrance examination in 1890 and the FA Examination in 1892 from Kolkata. He then obtained a BA degree (with triple Honours in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics) from Presidency College, Kolkata and an MA on Mathematics from Calcutta University (De & Rahim 2003). His formal education was completed with a BL degree in 1897 from the University Law College. He was the second Muslim in the Indian subcontinent to obtain a law degree (Gandhi 1986, p. 189).

After obtaining the BL degree Fazlul Huq started legal practice as an apprentice under Ashutosh Mukherjee. After the death of his father Huq started legal practice in Barisal town. In 1906 Huq entered government service as a Deputy Magistrate. He took an active part in founding the All India Muslim League at Dacca on 30 December 1906. Subsequently he resigned from public service and joined the Calcutta High Court for legal practice (De & Rahim 2003).

Fazlul Huq got initiation in politics in the hands of Sir Khwaja Salimullah and Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury. With their assistance he entered the Bengal Legislative Council in 1913 as an elected member from the Dhaka (Dacca) Division. For 1913-1916 Huq served as the Secretary of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League and Joint Secretary of the All India Muslim League. Then he served as the President of the All India Muslim League from 1916 to 1921. He played an instrumental role in formulating the Lucknow Pact of 1916 between the Congress and the Muslim League. In 1917 Huq became Joint Secretary of the Indian National Congress and in 1918-1919 he served this organisation as its General Secretary.

In 1919 Fazlul Huq joined the Khilafat movement. But he had a difference of opinion about non-cooperation with mainstream Congress leaders. Though he supported the boycott of British goods and titles, he opposed the idea of boycotting of educational institutions, particularly considering the backward condition of the Muslim community. This difference of opinion eventually made him leave Congress (De & Rahim 2003).

Fazlul Huq amongst Muslim League Working Committee at the Lahore session

After alienation from the Congress party, it was up to the Muslims to nominate a mayor in Calcutta. It was in 1935 that, with the Congress' support, Fazlul Huq was chosen and elected first Muslim mayor of Calcutta. Prior to 1937 election, Fazlul Huq reorganized the defunct Proja-Shamiti and renamed it as Krishak Praja Party (KPP). Many contemporary politicians including Mohammad Akram Khan stood against it under the umbrella of "United Muslim Party". But Fazlul Huq won 39 seats and they won 38 seats. Congress claimed majority with 60 seats (Al Helal 2003, p. 38-39). Later that year Sher-e-Bangla joined Muslim League and subsequently become the chairman of the Bengal headquarter of the party, Suhrawardy became the secretary (Al Helal 2003, p. 43). Afterwards he acted as the Chief Minister (also called Premier) of undivided Bengal between 1937 to 1943. Fazlul Huq drafted and moved the Lahore Resolution on 23 March 1940. According to this resolution, North-eastern and Eastern parts of India happened to be formed as sovereign states (Al Helal 2003, p. 45). It established Muslim League's demand for a homeland for Muslims, that ultimately resulted in the nation of Pakistan (Richard 2005, p. 107). However after 1942 Huq actually opposed the Two-Nation Theory and tried to mobilise non-Muslim League Muslim leaders against Partition of India (De & Rahim 2003).

Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq was the key national leader behind the emergence of Bengali (especially Muslim) middle class in British India. He appointed Comrade Muzaffar Ahmed and Kazi Nazrul Islam as the editor and assistant editors of the "Daily Nabojug" (The Daily New Age), a newspaper that he brought out in 1920.

Under the editorship of this accomplished duo, the Daily Nabojug became the most progressive newspaper of Bangla voicing the issues and concerns of lower middle and working class people of Bengal.

Fazl-ul-Haq was essentially a man of the masses. As a lawyer he defended thousands of Muslims who were accused of the riot cases before the Partition. He also looked after the interests of the peasantry of Bengal. He was also a delegate of the Round Table Conferences and pleaded the cause of the Muslims to have their proper share in the administrative affairs of the country. In 1937, he was elected as Chief Minister of Bengal. During the All India Muslim League session of March 23, 1940, which was presided over by Quaid-i-Azam, Fazl-ul-Haq rose to move the historic Pakistan Resolution and spoke of protecting the rights of the Muslims of India.

Fazl-ul-Haq migrated to Pakistan and accepted the Advocate Generalship of East Pakistan. At the age of 80, he toured East Pakistan from one end to another. In 1962, his health started deteriorating. He passed away on April 27, 1962 after dominating the political stage of the Sub-continent for half a century.