Huda, Nawab Syed Shamsul

Huda, Nawab Syed Shamsul (1862-1922) was a lawyer, politician, and a member of the Bengal Executive Council. He was born in a zamindar family of Gokarna, a village in Brahmanbaria district. His father Shah Syed Reazutullah was a classical scholar and was the editor of the late nineteenth century Persian weekly called The Durbeen. Shamsul Huda studied at Hughli and Presidency Colleges. He obtained BL degree in 1886 and MA in Persian in 1889.

Shamsul Huda served as a teacher of Arabic and Persian in the calcutta madrasa for some time. Then he joined the Calcutta High Court bar in 1887. To the development of Bengali journalism, he made a considerable contribution. He published a Bengali newspaper titled Sudhakar, bought the publication rights of the Bengali newspaper Mihir-O-Sudhakar and helped finance Muhammedan Observer, the first English weekly newspaper published by an Indian Muslim. He became a member of the Senate of Calcutta University in 1894. His expertise in legal studies earned him the - 'Tagore Professor of Law'- chair at Calcutta University in 1902. As the Tagore Professor, Huda gave a series of lectures on 'Principles of Crimes in British India'. As an activist in the Muslim regeneration movement Shamsul Huda involved himself in the movement for the expansion of education among Muslims.

Syed Shamsul Huda presided over the Provincial Muhammadan Educational Conference at Rajshahi in 1904. He was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of East Bengal and Assam in 1908. In 1909 he became a member of the Imperial Legislative Council. He was elected president of the All India Muslim League in 1912. Huda was the first Bengali to sit in the Governor's Executive Council. He worked in this council from 1912 to 1917. He was honoured with the titles of Nawab in 1913 and KCIE in 1916, and appointed a judge of the Calcutta High Court (1917-1921). From law he again turned to politics and was elected the first president of the Bengal Legislative Council in 1921. He died in October 1922. [Golam Kibria Byuiyan]

Bibliography SM Ali, Personality Profiles, NIPA, Dacca, 1965; Sufia Ahmed, Muslim Community in Bengal, 1884-1912, Dacca, 1974.