Huq, AK Fazlul

Huq, AK Fazlul (1873-1962) statesman, public leader and holder of many high political posts including those of the Mayor of Calcutta (1935), Chief Minister of undivided Bengal (1937-1943) and East Bengal (1954), Home Minister of Pakistan (1955) and Governor of East Pakistan (1956-58).

AK Fazlul Huq

Abul Kashem Fazlul Huq, popularly known as Sher-e-Bangla or Hak Saheb, was born on 26 October 1873, at his maternal uncle's house at Saturia, a prosperous village in the Southern parts of the district of Bakerganj. But his ancestral house was at Chakhar, a village 14 miles away from Barisal town. He was the only son of Muhammad Wazid and Saidunnissa Khatun. Huq's father was a reputed civil and criminal lawyer of the Barisal Bar, and his grandfather Kazi Akram Ali, a good Arabic and Persian scholar, was a prominent muktear of Barisal.

After the traditional Islamic education in Arabic and Persian at home, Fazlul Huq passed the Entrance Examination in 1890 from the Barisal Zilla School, the FA Examination in 1892 and BA Examination (with triple Honours in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics) in 1894 from the Presidency College, and obtained the MA degree in Mathematics in 1896 from the University of Calcutta.

Obtaining the BL degree in 1897 from the University Law College, Calcutta, Fazlul Huq started legal practice as an apprentice under Sir asutosh mookerjee.

Huq had the good fortune of receiving affection in numerous and various ways from aswini kumar datta and prafulla chandra ray. After the death of his father Huq started legal practice in Barisal town. He also worked as a part-time lecturer of Raj Chandra College of this town during the period 1903-1904. 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. From 1908 to 1912 Huq was the Assistant Registrar of Co-operatives. He resigned from public service and opted for public life and law. Being advised by sir asutosh mookerjee he joined the Calcutta High Court and started legal practice.

In the hands of Sir khwaja salimullah and Nawab nawab ali chowdhury, he got initiation in politics. With their assistance he entered the Bengal Legislative Council in 1913 as an elected member from the Dhaka (Dacca) Division by defeating his powerful rival Rai Bahadur Kumar Mahendra Nath Mitra. Since then he had been associated with the Bengal Legislature till 1947, except for two years (1934-1936) when he was a member of the Central Legislative Assembly.

In 1913 Huq became the Secretary of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League and continued in this post till 1916. He also served as a Joint Secretary of the All India Muslim League. Huq was the president of the All India Muslim League from 1916 to 1921. As a member of the indian national congress he was also actively connected with that organisation. Huq was one of those who were instrumental of formulating the Lucknow Pact of 1916 between the Congress and the Muslim League. In 1917 Huq was a Joint Secretary of the Indian National Congress and in 1918-1919 he served this organisation as its General Secretary. In 1918 Fazlul Huq presided over the Delhi Session of the All India Muslim League. In 1919 Fazlul Huq was chosen as a member of the Punjab Enquiry Committee along with Motilal Nehru, chitta ranjan das and other prominent leaders set up by the Indian National Congress to go into the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre. Huq was the president of the Midnapore Session of the Bengal Provincial Conference in 1920.

Huq joined the khilafat movement in 1919. But he had difference with the congress leaders on the question of Non-cooperation. He supported the boycott of British goods and titles related to the programme of the non-cooperation movement adopted by the congress in 1920. But he was opposed to the idea of boycotting of schools and colleges, particularly considering the backward condition of the Muslim community. He felt that the boycott resolution would hamper the progress of the Muslim boys and girls. He therefore, left the Congress.

In 1920 Huq brought out a daily paper nabajug along with kazi nazrul islam and muzaffar ahmad. The deposit of this paper was confiscated several times due to its anti-government policy. So, he could not run this daily for a longer period. He devoted his time to the cause of Muslim education and became a leading figure of the Muslim Educational Conference. In 1924 Huq became the Education Minister for about six months under the dyarchy in Bengal. As Education Minister he had undertaken several measures to create educational infrastructure in the country. He assisted the deserving Muslim students by creating the Muslim Educational Fund. For imparting teaching in Persian and Arabic to the Muslim students he also created a separate Directorate for Muslim Education in Bengal. Huq also made arrangement for reservation of seats for Muslim students in all the Government educational institutions affiliated to the Calcutta University. Huq had a role in the restructuring of the Madrasa Education in Bengal.

AK Fazlul Huq's political strategy was to make the rural elite his power base. It is evidenced by his initiative in founding the short-lived Calcutta Agricultural Association (1917), and yet another short-lived organisation called Bengal praja party (1929). It was this party which was later transformed into a regular semi-political organisation called Nikhil Banga Praja Samiti with Sir abdur rahim as its president and himself and Khan Bahadur Abdul Momin vice presidents. Soon there was a personality clash between the two leaders. Huq's faction of the Samiti changed its nomenclature to krishak praja party (KPP) in 1935. Under Huq's leadership, the KPP started a mass movement with the objectives of the restoration of peasant rights, relieving the peasants of the oppressions of moneylenders and zamindars, and making raiyats proprietors of land by abolishing the zamindari system. These slogans made the KPP popular among the agrarian middle classes now enfranchised under the Act of 1935.

Though Huq participated in All India politics, his mind was mainly confined to Bengal. In 1934 mohammed ali jinnah became the President of the All India Muslim League. Huq was not happy with the programme of the Muslim League. His differences with Jinnah were intensified. This was particularly manifested at the time of the election under the Act of 1935. Fazlul Huq drafted his Election Manifesto in 1936 and during his election campaigns he vehemently opposed the Muslim League led by Jinnah. As Huq wanted to build up a new Bengal with all segments of population, his election manifesto created a great stir among the population of Bengal. Huq made his victory easier by isolating the League from the Muslim masses. He defeated Sir khwaja nazimuddin at the Patuakhali Constituency.

In the elections of 1937, KPP emerged as the third largest party in the legislative assembly, first being the Congress and second the Muslim League, and Huq emerged as a potential figure in Bengal politics. He wanted to form a Coalition Cabinet with the Congress in Bengal. In fact, a favourable atmosphere was created for the formation of a Huq-Congress Ministry. Huq was very much embarrassed and disheartened when the Central leadership of the Congress did not agree to such a ministry. In this situation Huq was compelled to form a coalition Ministry with the Muslim League. Jinnah was eagerly waiting for this opportunity. Thus the Huq-League Ministry with Huq as the Prime Minister was formed in Bengal in 1937. There was no doubt that for imprudence and lack of farsightedness of the Congress Central leadership the followers of Jinnah could strengthen their hold in Bengal.

Huq became instrumental in making the political programme of the Muslim League effective. Taking the advantage of this ministry a section of League leaders fomented religious sectarianism. By 1939 these elements extended their influence everywhere in the rural and urban areas of Bengal. The Muslim League, led by the followers of Jinnah, became the party of the Muslim masses. Though in personal life Huq was free from religious sectarianism, he had to adjust himself with the Communalist-reactionary forces of the League in running the affairs of the Cabinet. Huq became more and more aware of his separate identity as a member of the Muslim community, which was often revealed through his speeches. Naturally, Huq was then the most favoured man within the League. Jinnah selected him for proposing the lahore resolution, popularly called the Pakistan Resolution, on 23 March 1940, at the Lahore Session of the All India Muslim League.

Huq Ministries (1937-1943) After the elections of 1937, no single party had the absolute majority in the legislature, and thus formation of a coalition government became inevitable. The idea of coalition being turned down by the Congress, Fazlul Huq, the leader of the KPP parliamentary group of 35 members, could persuade the Muslim League and some other minority and scheduled caste groups to join him in forming a coalition government. On April 1, 1937, as the leader of the Coalition Party, Fazlul Huq was installed as the Chief Minister of the Government of Bengal. The ministry that was commissioned by the governor, Sir Anderson (1932-1937), consisted of, besides Fazlul Huq as Chief Minister holding the portfolio of education, 5 Hindus and 5 Muslims: nalini ranjan sarkar (finance), Bijoy Prasad Singha Roy (revenue), Maharaja Siris Chandra Nandy (communications and public works), Prasanna Deb Raikut (forest and excise), Mukunda Behari Mallick (cooperative credit and rural indebtedness), Sir Khwaja Nazimuddin (home), Nawab khwaja habibullah (agriculture and industry), huseyn shaheed suhrawardy (commerce and labour), Nawab musharraf hossain (judicial and legislative), and syed nausher ali (public health and local self government).

The ministry that took charge of the administration of the province was a combination of parties and groups with divergent ideological orientation. It was crafted and held together by the leadership skill of the charismatic Fazlul Huq who enjoyed the confidence of both the communities. But partisan quibbling and bickering soon developed within the Coalition resulting in stresses and defections. These were partially from individual ambitions; shifting loyalties, interplay of British imperial interests, Congress intransigence to work the constitution, and the League's avid determination to gain the political control of the province under its own terms. Much of the dissent and dissension within the Coalition Party, however, happened over such issues as reforms of tenancy and land revenue system, tenancy rights, educational policy, and rural indebtedness, which threatened to compromise the interests of the privileged class, across the party lines.

In spite of some similarities in the electoral platform of the PRAJA PARTY and the League, the thrust of the former was for radical agrarian reforms; and was closer to the Congress in that regard as well as for its abhorrence of communalism. In contrast the League was committed to the strategy of communal separatism in politics, and was against any appropriation of private property. Though subscribing to the League's reactionary programme, the Praja Party, especially its radicals, was committed to change the fate of the peasants and tenants of Bengal, a majority of whom happened to be Muslims and resided in the rural districts of Eastern Bengal.

In the absence of understanding between the two major components of the Coalition'the Muslim League and the krishak praja party'and in the presence of vested landed, and business interests of the League, and among other heterogeneous elements in the coalition, from the very inception of the Huq ministry, it became faction-ridden as the radical wing of Praja Party pressed for reforms which they had promised during the electoral campaigning. The first sign of stress within the ranks of the Coalition Party surfaced, when the governor, using his personal prerogative prevented the inclusion of shamsuddin ahmed, the secretary of the Praja Party, in the cabinet on the ground of his record of anti-state activities, and imprisonment. The governor also opposed the inclusion of another Praja Party representative in the cabinet. In the process Huq found his position untenable in the cabinet. With the exception of himself and Nausher Ali, all other Muslim members in the cabinet were from the Muslim League, and this proved to be a stumbling block in implementing the radical programme of the Praja Party.

Notwithstanding Huq's difficulties, the Praja Party pressed for a series of resolutions including the abolition of the zamindari system, introduction of free primary education, repeal of all repressive laws, and release of all political prisoners and detainees. The smouldering tension within the Praja Party came to a head when during the first budget session held on 29 July 1937, a number of party members led by Shamsuddin voted with the Congress in several divisions. Several days later a group of 21 members of the left wing of the Praja Party left the Coalition on the grounds of breach of election promise by Fazlul Huq. In the defection drama the League gained the upper hand, and Huq became dependent on the League for legislative support. As urged by the League, Huq declared the defectors as acting against the interests of Islam.

To extricate himself from the awkward situation Huq approached the Congress for an alliance on some reasonable terms. But when rebuffed by the Congress, Huq fell deeper into the clutches of the Muslim League. On 15 October 1937, at Lucknow, Huq formally subscribed to the Muslim League creed, and urged all the Muslim members of the Bengal Coalition to join the League, and made a strong plea for Muslim unity under the banner of the League. Although Huq did not openly sever his link with the Praja Party, but without Huq's leadership, for all practical purposes, the party lost its stature as also Fazlul Huq's popularity among the masses began to decline.

Huq's hold on the Coalition further slipped away in quick succession due to the defections of two groups. On 15 March 1938, a splinter section of 13 Praja Party members led by tamizuddin khan, who bore ill-will against Huq for not including him in the ministry, withdrew his support from the Coalition objecting to the terms of reference of the proposed land revenue commission. Another defection occurred on 18 March 1938, when persuaded by Gandhi and sarat bose, 15 members of the Scheduled Caste left the treasury bench. With the latest defection, the ministry increasingly began to assume the character of a Muslim ministry, and by default appeared to be protagonists of Muslim interests alone.

Fazlul Huq's reliance on the League increased intensely when, on 22 June 1938, Nausher Ali withdrew his support from the Coalition without tendering his resignation from the ministry. Choosing this unprecedented course of action Nausher Ali was looking for an opportunity, following a parliamentary practice, to force the entire ministry to resign so that a broad-base stable ministry could be formed. The resulting impasse was resolved when the governor asked the entire cabinet to resign but it was reinstated immediately without Nausher Ali. Technically, a new ministry took office. However, when this drama was enacted the legislature was not in session, and, therefore, it was not immediately required to defend its majority. In announcing his decision to withdraw his support from the Coalition, Nausher Ali made it public that conservative elements in the cabinet in collaboration with the vested interests were engaged in a mean conspiracy against the peasants of Bengal. To follow up with his allegations he released unilaterally a series of private correspondence between himself and the Chief Minister. Nausher Ali was known for his strident views on land tenure system, and apparently was looking at the Congress for a future alliance.

As the Praja Party dissipated over time, the League found itself without rivals, and the ministry's focus shifted from socio-economic reforms to communal issues. With the ranks of the opposition swelled, a series of Congress sponsored no-confidence motions in August 1938, against the ministry was tabled in the house. Backed by the solid support of the 25 Europeans, the ministry, however, escaped defeat. The Europeans, in return, extracted many benefits in the jute industry, which affected the interest of the primary growers. With the harvesting season in progress, mill owners slumped their production, thereby forcing an uneconomic price to the cultivators of a major cash crop. The ministry's survival now became totally dependent on the Europeans. To free himself from the new stranglehold, Huq interceded with his estranged colleagues of the Praja Party. Following a protracted negotiation, Huq was able to persuade Shamsuddin and Tamizuddin to join the cabinet on 17 November 1938. Shamsuddin, however, resigned on 27 February 1939, as he could not function as a team member in a cabinet packed by ultra-conservative interests. tamizuddin khan soon joined the Muslim League, thereby leaving Huq again in the lurch.

While Huq's efforts to mend fences with the left element of the Praja Party were not productive, a fresh stress also developed in another front. Nalini Ranjan Sarkar resigned on 20 December 1939, on the ground of increasing communal outlook of the Muslim members of the Coalition and controversies over the war resolution pressed in the legislature assuring the Viceroy of full cooperation of the ministry in the imperial war efforts. The immediate result of Sarkar's resignation was the intensification of the communal divide, and power sharing across the divide began to be a difficult terrain. Interplay of legislative politics widened the communal cleavage.

Despite the operation of several fissiparous forces, the ministry's legislative and administrative record was noteworthy in certain areas. Many of those measures, although conducive to the common run of the people, were perceived by the Hindus as designed to cater to the interests of the Muslim majority, and thereby provided plenty of ammunition to Hindu opposition to the ministry both within and outside the legislature. The bulging edifice of Hindu opposition helped the conservative Muslims to build a stonewall against any political dialogue accommodating the interests of both the communities.

So far Fazlul Huq was able to contain the opposition to his government albeit with difficulty, but he soon encountered a new challenge. In July 1941, when Huq joined the Viceroy's Defense Council against Jinnah's writ, the latter retaliated by expelling Huq from the League and withdrawing the League from the Coalition Party. This dramatic development, however, provided Huq with new opportunities to weave a new alliance of the political forces across the communal divide.

Huq resigned on 2 December 1941 but was able to form a broad-based progressive Coalition Party, which included the progressive, secular elements of the Praja Party, most Hindu members, including the Bose group of the Congress, and the rightist radicals of the hindu mahasabha. The new ministry, known as Shyama-Huq ministry, was commissioned, on 12 December 1941, only after the governor's personal initiative to install a League dominated ministry had failed.

Huq's second ministry, with the support of various parliamentary groups including the Congress, forward bloc Congress, Hindu Mahasabha, krishak praja party (Shamsuddin), independent scheduled castes and Krishak Praja Party (Huq), had eight members and one parliamentary secretary. They were: Khwaja Habibullah, Khan Bahadur Abdul Karim, Khan Bahadur Hashem Ali Khan, Shamsuddin Ahmed, shyamaprashad mukherjee, Santosh Kumar Bose, Pramath Nath Banarji and Upendranath Barman. It was almost an all-party ministry only without the League.

The new ministry represented a variety of views and a number of capable men. The reconciliation of Mukherjee with his bitter competitor Fazlul Huq heralded the prospect, in the minds of many, the beginning of an era of Hindu-Muslim political reconciliation. Freed from the dependency of the League, Fazlul Huq now could expect to launch a viable programme for socioeconomic upliftment of the common people. As long as the new Coalition lasted, communal harmony prevailed. But the work of the Progressive Coalition was set at naught by the machination of the provincial governor Sir John Herbert (1939-1943). The governor had developed bad vibrations about Huq because of the latter's insolent and strident attitude compared to the League leader, Khwaja Nazimuddin. Personality issues aside, Herbert was also coerced by the European members to install a cabinet responsive to their business interests. Also, a group of up-country Muslim businessmen, known by the sobriquet of 'Calcutta Trio'- MAH Ispahani, K Nooruddin, and AR Siddiqui- who were also members of the legislature, with Jinnah's blessings were engaged in a conspiracy to overthrow Fazlul Huq.

Once out of office the Muslim League assiduously deployed its entire energy against Huq and the new coalition. The focal point of the League's propaganda was that Huq in closing ranks with Mookerjee, was working against the political and religious interests of the Muslims and appealed to the governor to dismiss the Huq ministry. Other adversities were added to the League offensive against the ministry. The fear of Japanese invasion and the implementation by the military of a 'denial policy' implemented in 1942 caused considerable hardship to the delta region. A devastating cyclone and tidal waves whipped the coastal region on October 26 but relief efforts were hindered due to bureaucratic interference. On August 3, a number of prisoners were shot down in Dhaka jail but no inquiry could be held again due to bureaucratic intervention. Another severe strain on the administration was caused when the Congress launched a 'Quit India' movement on August 9, which followed severe British repression. The entire province reverberated with protest. The situation was further complicated when Mookerjee resigned bitterly complaining against the interference of the governor in the work of the ministry.

A few days later, on 15 March 1943, the Chief Minister disclosed in the floor of the Assembly that on several occasions, under the guise of discretionary authority, the governor disregarded the advice tendered by the ministry and listed those occasions. The governor did not take those allegations kindly, and, largely due to his initiative, no-confidence motions were voted in the assembly on March 24 and March 27. On both occasions the motions were defeated, although by narrow margins. To enforce his writ, the governor asked Huq to sign a prepared letter of resignation on 28 March 1943 and assigned himself the responsibility of administering the province under the provision of Section 93 of the constitution. A month later a League dominated ministry was commissioned with Nazimuddin as the Chief Minister.

During his first ministry (1937-1941), Huq did some laudable work for the amelioration of the sufferings of the peasantry. He protected the poor agriculturists from the clutches of the usurious creditors by enforcing the Bengal Agricultural Debtors' Act (1938). He also set up the debt settlement boards in all parts of Bengal. The Money Lenders' Act (1938) and the bengal tenancy (amendment) act (1938) improved the lot of the peasants. The Land Revenue Commission appointed by the Government of Bengal on 5 November 1938 with Sir Francis Floud as Chairman, submitted the final report on 21 March 1940. This was the most valuable document related to the land system of the country. The Tenancy Act of 1885 was amended by the Act of 1938 and thereby all provisions relating to enhancement of rent were suspended for a period of 10 years. It also abolished all kinds of abwab and selamis (imposts) imposed traditionally by the zamindars on raiyats. The raiyats got the right to transfer their land without paying any transfer-fee to zamindars. The law reduced the interest rate for arrears of rent from 12.50% to 6.25%. The raiyats also got the right to get possession of the nadi sekasti (land lost through river erosion and appeared again) land by payment of four years of rent within twenty years of the erosion. Thus several acts enforced during Huq's Premiership helped the peasants to lighten some of their burdens though Huq could not fully execute his programme of Dal-Bhat placed before the people during his election campaigns.

In order to remove the backwardness of the Muslim Community Huq as Premier of Bengal issued orders for the reservation of 50% appointments for the Muslims and strictly enforced this ratio in the offices of the Government of Bengal. The government accepted the principle that, provided that qualified candidates are available 15 per cent of appointments by direct recruitment shall be reserved for the scheduled castes but such reservation shall not exceed thirty percent of non-Muslim direct appointments. There was, however, no percentage of reservation of posts for Anglo-Indians, Indian Christians and Buddhists, but the Government assured them that special consideration will be given to such community provided that qualified candidates are available.

As Education Minister during his first ministry, Huq took steps to accelerate the spread of education among the Muslim. He however, considered it his duty to advance the cause of education among all communities inhabiting the province. With this object in view he introduced Primary Education Bill in the Bengal Legislative Assembly, which was passed into law making primary education free and compulsory. But there was a storm of protests from the opposition members and the press when Fazlul Huq introduced Secondary Education Bill in the Bengal Legislative Assembly as it incorporated 'principles of communal division in the field of education' at the secondary stage. Huq was associated with the foundation of many educational institutions in Bengal, such as Islamia College (now renamed Maulana Azad College), Calcutta, Lady Brabourne College, Calcutta, Wajid Memorial Girls' High School and Chakhar College.

The second ministry (1941-1943) turned out essentially to be a front against the Muslim League. At least, this was the impression that the League wanted to create in the minds of the Bengal Muslims. The very nature of the formation of the second ministry of Fazlul Huq made it a barren affair as regards enactment of laws and activities. Other than jobbery and personal bickering and animosities, nothing happened during the fifteen-month period of his second ministry.

Post-1943 period From 1942 Huq opposed the 'two nation theory' and devoted his entire energy to reduce the influence of Muslim League. With this object in view Huq made efforts to mobilise non-Muslim League Muslim leaders. He was for the time being successful. Dr Khan Sahib, premier of North-West frontier provinces, Fazlul Huq, premier of Bengal and Allah Bux, premier of Sindh jointly sent a telegram to the British Prime Minister demanding immediate transfer of power to the Indians. Huq also took the initiative in preserving communal harmony. Drawing attention of the Bengali Muslims to the defective Lahore Resolution, he emphatically expressed his opinion against it. The bitterness between Huq and the Muslim League became extreme and from April 1943 to August 1946 Fazlul Huq continuously opposed the League. As a result he got increasingly isolated from the mainstream of Bengal politics. In the general elections of 1946, the Muslim League secured 110 seats out of total 117 Muslim reserved seats and Huq's KPP got only four of which two belonged to himself because he contested successfully from two constituencies. HS Suhrawardy became the premier of Bengal. Politically, Huq became practically a loner though his personal popularity still remained very high.

Communal riots broke out in Calcutta on 16 August 1946. At that time Huq worked hard to restore communal harmony and to protect his Hindu neighbours in Park Circus, Calcutta. He was very much depressed to witness the breakdown of law and order in the city. Being requested by the League leaders Huq joined the Muslim League in September 1946.

Huq was extremely mortified to observe the situation arising out of the partition of the country in August 1947. He settled in Dhaka and served as the Advocate General of East Pakistan from 1947 to 1952. He was soon involved in East Pakistan politics. In February 1948, the students of East Pakistan started a movement for the recognition of Bangla language as one of the state languages. Fazlul Huq was injured when the police lathi charged the demonstrating students. Huq emerged as one of the prominent leaders of the anti-Muslim league opposition movement. The mass upsurge centering round the language movement on 21 February 1952 gave a new direction to East Pakistan politics. On 27 July 1953, Fazlul Huq founded the 'Sramik-Krishak Dal'. Huq, Maulana abdul hamid khan bhasani and Suhrawardy formed the united front to fight the election battle in 1954. Huq was elected leader of this Front. His personal popularity helped a great deal in mobilising the public in favour of the United Front election campaigning. The charisma of the Sher-e-Bangla was a dominant factor for the landslide victory of the Front. After the elections of 1954, AK Fazlul Huq became the chief minister of East Bengal, though his party was far behind the Awami Muslim League in capturing seats in the legislature. It is politically interesting that Huq could become chief minister of Bengal two times and chief minister of East Bengal again without ever having majority support in the legislature. It is indicative of his statesmanship and political management. He could always maintain a trans-party demeanour. However, Huq's ministry was short lived.

Huq had good following in the newly formed constituent Assembly of Pakistan. They acted as a pressure group for which in August 1955 Huq was invited to join the central cabinet as the Home Minister. In 1956 he became the Governor of East Pakistan and was removed from that post in 1958. Since then he retired from politics. On 27 April 1962 he died in Dhaka. His funeral drew a crowd of about half a million to mourn his death. His mausoleum is situated at the southern end of the Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, to the west of the Shishu Acacemy.

For almost half a century Fazlul Huq was a prominent political figure of the subcontinent. He was an extra-ordinary orator. He could fluently speak in English, Bangla and Urdu. As Islamic identity, Bengali identity and Indian identity simultaneously moulded his mind, contradictory ingredients were manifested through his thought and action. He had to think about the development of backward Muslim community, he was absorbed with the thought of the progress of the entire Bengali nation and at the same time he had to carefully nurture the dream of united independent India. Naturally, it was not possible for him to pursue a consistent policy throughout his long political career. He, therefore, remained a political enigma.

Huq was very simple in his private and public life. Even during his lifetime the people, irrespective of caste and creed, adored him for his generous and charitable disposition. He ran into debts for helping the distressed and the needy. People of Bengal remember Huq not for his craftiness or for erratic political behaviour but for his sincere efforts for the upliftment of the backward Muslim community, for the removal of poverty of vast peasant masses and for his generous nature. [Amalendu De and Enayetur Rahim]

Bibliography AK Fazlul Huq, Bengal Today, Calcutta, 1944; ASM Abdur Rab, AK Fazlul Huq (Life and Achievements), Barisal, 1966; Amalendu De, Pakistan Prastab O Fajlul Hak, Calcutta, 1972; N Mansergh (ed), The Transfer of Power (1942 - 47), several vols.