Khawaja Nazimuddin was born in Dhaka on July 19, 1894. Khawaja was a wealthy landlord. He had been a nephew of Nawab Salimullah Khan, one of the founders of the All-India Muslim League and a member of Dhaka’s Nawabs. Nazimuddin was one of Pakistan’s leading founding fathers and a Bengali conservative politician. He served as first Governor of Bengal (1948–51) and then as Prime Minister (1951–53).
He received his early education from a home Tutor. After completing intermediate he entered in the University of Aligarh. After graduation from Aligarh University, he went to London for higher studies. From Cambridge University, he passed his M.A., and from the Middle Temple, he completed his Bar at Law.
He moved back to India to support his brother Khawaja Shahab-ud-Din and became interested in civil and public affairs, which brought him into Bengal’s politics. Then, the two brothers joined the Muslim League.
Designated as Chairperson of League Municipality
Nazimuddin was successfully elected as chairman of the municipality from 1922-to 1929. He was appointed as Minister of Education until 1934. He later became a member of the Executive Council of Viceroy Willington in 1934.
Appointment as Agricultural Minister
When he was Minister of Agriculture in 1935, he introduced the Rural Development Bill and Debtors Bill in Bengal, liberating poor and helpless Muslim farmers from the oppression of Hindu money lenders. He contested on the Muslim League platform in the 1937 election.
Designation as Home Minister
He was designated as Home Minister after the alliance between the Krishak Praja Party and the Muslim League. He became a close assistant to his conservative elite status when Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the president of the Muslim League, nominated him as an executive committee member to support the Muslim League agenda.
Left the Alliance
He split up from the Fazlul Haq alliance in 1940 and became the leader of the opposition. He led a campaign against the Fazlul premiership, concentrating mainly on the problem of Bengali nationalism.
As a Prime Minister of Bengal
In 1943 Governor John Herbert dismissed Fazlul-Haq, and the government was given to Nizamuddin. He played a crucial role in the achievement of Pakistan during his tenure as Chief Minister of Bengal. He remained Chief Minister of Bengal until 1945 when the motion of no confidence approved against him and ended his term. Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy replaced him as CM of Bengal.
Chairperson of Muslim League
He served as the Muslim League Chairman in Bengal between 1945 and 1947 and supported the political cause of a separate homeland. Once again, he participated in elections to the Hussein party in 1947 and was elected president of the Muslim League in East Bengal. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, he was appointed to be the first CM in East Bengal.
Khawaja Nazimuddin as Governor General of Pakistan (1948–51)
On 14 August 14 August 1947, Nazimuddin was appointed as president of the Muslim League after Muhammad Ali Jinnah. On 1 November 1 November 1947, Nazimuddin was appointed as acting Governor-General of Pakistan because Quaid-e-Azam’s health was not good. When Quaid-e-Azam died, he was appointed as permanent Governor-General.
Founded a Parliament Committee
He remained neutral as the Governor-General did not intervene in government matters and politically supported PM Liaquat Ali’s government. In 1949, he established the ‘Basic Principles Committee‘ of the parliamentary committee, which recommended P.M Pakistan’s constitution.
Khawaja Nazimuddin Prime Minister (1951–53)
Following the 1951 murder of Liaquat Ali, Muslim League leaders requested to Nizamuddin to hold the government and the presidency of the party since they did not find anyone suitable for these positions. So Khawaja Nazimuddin became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. His government focused on promoting conservative policy-oriented strategies.
During his administration, East Bengal and all four provinces faced challenges related to the poor economy and growing provincial nationalism that made him ineffective in running country affairs. The Muslim League was divided between 1951 and 1952 into two parties in Punjab-Sindh and Bengal.
Conduction of Country’s 1st Census
In 1951, PM Nizamuddin’s administration conducted the Country’s first census, which showed that 57% of the population was Indian nationalists who mostly lived in Karachi, which complicated the situation.
Riots in Nazimuddin Era
At Dhaka’s meeting in Jan 1952, Khawaja Nizamuddin announced that ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared Urdu the official language of Pakistan. After the Bengali Language Movement started on 21 February 1952, a protest demanded official and equal status for the Bengali, but this protest turned wild when police killed many civilians by firing.
On the other hand, in 1953, Jamaat-e-Islami led an aggressive religious movement to remove the Ahmadi minority from official positions 1953 and called for an Ahmadi declaration as non-Muslims. People started to protest all over the country, specifically in Lahore. In Lahore, the situation was much worse. When the CM Punjab, Mumtaz Sultana, remained unable to control the situation, the prime minister Nizamuddin came to Lahore and imposed Martial law. Khawaja Nizamuddin dismissed Mumtaz Dultana and appointed Feroz khan as CM of Punjab.
Dismissal of Nazimuddin
Violence and agitation spread all over the country due to the Bengali language movement and the Anti-Ahmadi movement. Nazimuddin’s administration was unable to control the Country.
Therefore Governor-General Ghulam requested the PM to step down in the interests of the Country. PM Nazimuddin refused to comply, then Ghulam used his authority granted by the Indian Government Act of 1935 and dismissed Khawaja Nazimuddin.
Awards and Achievements
- The ‘Solicitor of the Order of the Indian Empire,‘ a rank of courage created by Queen Victoria, was granted to Nazimuddin in 1926.
- In 1934, he was named King George V as “Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire.“
He died on 22 -October 1964. He was buried at the ‘Suhrawardy Udyan‘ in the Dhaka High Court, next to the graves of national leaders of Bangladesh, Fazlul Haq, and Suhrawardi.
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