Khwaja Nazimuddin: A great patriot

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Khwaja Nazimuddin, a rich landlord and a nephew of Nawab Salimullah, was the creation of Nawab family of Dhaka. feudal aristocracy. He was born to lead Muslim Bengal. He was the son of Khwaja Nizamuddin and Nawabzadi Bilkees Bano and was married to Shah Bano, daughter of Khwaja Ashraf in 1924. He was most outstanding and successful member of Dhaka Nawab family. He died on 22 October 1964and lies buried beside the graves of Fazlul Haq and Suhrawardi in the ground of Dhaka High Court.
He had the education from the renowned universities and was a mixture of eastern and western thoughts and ideas. He was a born aristocrat. He was a man of faith, sincerity, and simplicity. He had great love for Islam and its traditions. There was not a trace of pride. The politics that he professed was clean and fair. He knew how to win and how to lose with grace. In political life he was distinguished by two qualities, consistency and loyalty. His brother Khwaja Shahabuddin was the brain behind him. He was a politician, against whom never a single charge of corruption or misuse of power levelled.
He was unwavering in his loyalty to the Quaid-i-Azam and devotion to the cause of Pakistan. Throughout his political life he remained loyal to his political organization, his leader and his colleagues. He remained a member of the Muslim League from the first till the last days of his political career, and it is a known and established fact that he was among the most loyal and devoted associates and stalwarts of Quaid-i-Azam and Pakistan Movement.
Quaid-i-Azam always trusted Nazimuddin and had him closely associated with the Simla Conference as well as the discussions with the Cripps and the Cabinet Mission. He showed throughout his political career that the loyalty could expect rewards from their pleased masters.
Nazimuddin belonged to an elite family and his life was full of honours and triumphs, but more than that all his career was notable for the nobility of his heart and conduct. The numerous victories, he scored and the highest offices as well as titles of great honour which were bestowed on him right from 1922 to 1953.
It was the early twenties, when Nazimuddin started his career as Chairman of the Dhaka Municipality in 1922, a position he held till 1929. During that time, he was also a Member of the Executive Council of Dhaka University. For his good work at both these institutions, in 1929 he was appointed a Member to the Governor’s Executive Council. He continued to serve in this capacity till 1937.
He was elected a Member of Bengal Legislative Assembly from Barisal Muslim constituency in 1923, 1926 and 1929 and was the Education Minister of united Bengal from 1929 to June 1934 and later as Minister for Agriculture. In the former capacity he successfully steered the Compulsory Primary Education Bill; removing disparity that existed in education between the Hindus and the Muslims. As Minister for Agriculture in 1935, he showed way the Agriculture Debtors Bill and the Bengal Rural Development Bill which freed poor Muslim cultivators from the tyranny of Hindu moneylenders.
Nazimuddin was associated with the Muslim League from the mid-thirties and remained concomitant with it till his last breath. The Muslim League was re-organized in Bengal in 1935 by virtue of the inspiration given by the Quaid-i-Azam and the active leadership of Khwaja Nazimuddin. He was among the pioneers from Bengal to respond to the Quaid-i-Azam’s call to reorganize the Muslim League in Bengal in preparation for the forthcoming general elections of 1937.
Since then he has been one of the most loyal lieutenants of the Quaid-i-Azam and one of the bravest supporters of the Muslim League. He had been a vigorous and regular Muslim Leaguer. His able leadership had brought all the different Muslim parties under one platform except that of Fazlul Haq and his Krishak Praja Party.
During the Shyama-Haq Coalition (1942 to 1943), Nazimuddin acted as the Leader of the Opposition. On 24 April, 1943, Muslim League formed the Ministry with Nazimuddin as the Prime Minister on the fall of Haq Ministry on 28 March 1943.The famine was increasing in Bengal. Nazimuddin and his Ministry boldly faced the situation and resolutely set themselves to the task of overcoming the famine.
In 1946, Nazimuddin was elected a member of the Central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi and was appointed Deputy Leader of Opposition. That showed the trust and confidence bestowed on him by the Quaid-i-Azam at that very critical stage. The nation and the leaders of the Muslim League did not forget his sincerity to the cause of the Muslims of India and to the Muslim League.
Within the formation of Pakistan he became an important part of the early governments. He was appointed Chief Minister of East Bengal after the creation of Pakistan on 14 August 1947. In the contest for leadership, Nazimuddin was supported against Suhrawardy by the Central League leadership, because of Suhrawardy’s involvement with the united Bengal movement, and his association with Gandhi.
On two different and hard situations for the country Nazimuddin was called upon unanimously to serve the nation. First, on the occasion of the passing away of the Quaid-i-Azam in 1948, he was considered by everybody to be the most suitable person to occupy the office of the Governor General of Pakistan. He accepted the office as a challenge and became the second Governor General of the country.
The position was largely ceremonial, and executive power rested with the Prime Minister, but he performed his role as constitutional Governor General with dignity. and propriety. When after the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951, the cabinet members unanimously invited Nazimuddin to take over as Prime Minister.
Later, he was also elected a member of Pakistan Constituent Assembly as well as the President of Muslim League. He commanded the respect and enjoyed the confidence as Prime Minister, yet on 17 April, 1953 was dismissed in clear violation of the constitution by Governor General Ghulam Mohammad the civil-military bureaucracy. The unconstitutional and undemocratic dismissal of Nazimuddin as Prime Minister of Pakistan was a serious blow to the development of democracy in Pakistan.
In June 1953, Nazimuddin resigned from the post of the President ship of Muslim League and kept himself aloof from active politics, and stayed at peaceful vicinity of his daughter’s home. In 1958 he was awarded by the title of Nishan-i-Pakistan.
He refrained himself from politics and led a life of retirement until 1962. But, in 1963 he returned to politics and became the President of Pakistan Council Muslim League. He devoted his energies for the revitalization of Muslim League. He was a great patriot; he strongly resisted the secessionist tendencies in East Pakistan at the cost of his own popularity.
History will remember him as a gentleman and a man of virtue though not great. His loyalty to his political masters and his birth in the Nawab’s Family of Dhaka, were the elements of his success.
He was not morally corrupt and power hungry, he never aspired or conspired for power, it always bestowed upon him as a reward of his loyalty and sincerity, while, his political rivals used every foul means to grasp power. In human qualities of piety, honesty and dignity, he was outstanding. In 1950 he declared “Pakistan would remain incomplete until the whole of Kashmir is liberated”.
Khawaja Nazimuddin was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1926, and was knighted in 1934 by the King-Emperor, George V, when he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE).After a long illness, Khawaja Nazimuddin died on 22 October, 1964 at the age of 70, and was given a state funeral.

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