Khan, Khan Bahadur Hashem Ali

Khan, Khan Bahadur Hashem Ali (1888-1962) politician, peasant leader. He was born on 2 February 1888 at village Sehangal in Swarupkathi thana of Barisal district. His predecessor Falah Ali Khan Lodi is said to have been a descendant of Delhi sultan Ibrahim Lodi. It is believed that Falah Ali Khan Lodi came to Bengal from Delhi, and with a grant of lakheraj land settled at village Sehangal in Barisal. Arman Ali Khan, the father of Hashem Ali Khan, used to look after his own taluk in Sehangal.

Hashem Ali Khan passed Entrance examination in 1906 from Barisal Zilla School. He passed F.A examination from Calcutta Madrasa in 1908 and passed BA examination in 1910. In consideration of his outstanding performance in studies, the Madrasa authority appointed him as the Vice Principal of the Madrasa. During his service in the Madrasa he was appointed as the Superintendent of Baker Hostel of Kolkata. At this time Hashem Ali Khan succeeded in obtaining the position of DSP through a competitive examination. But he eventually did not join the post. In 1913, he obtained BL degree from the Ripon College of Kolkata and joined Alipur Presidency court bar. Hashem Ali Khan joined the Barisal bar in 1914. He joined the Congress politics, but later joined the Krishak-Praja Party and became a lieutenant of ak fazlul huq. Hashem Ali Khan was the president of Barisal district unit of Krishak Praja Party.

During the Non-cooperation Movement in 1921 Hashem Ali Khan played a leading role in motivating the people to boycott foreign commodities, and successfully influenced the pleaders of Barisal to abstain from attending the courts. At the provincial conference of Bengal Congress in Barisal he was the joint secretary of the reception committee. Under his leadership the historic peasant convention was held in 1921 at Gaurichanna of Barguna and at Agailjhara in 1930. Hashem Ali Khan was elected a member of the Bengal Legislative Council in 1934. In the elections of 1937 he was again elected a member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly as a nominee of Krishak Praja Party. In recognition of his philanthropic activities he was honored with the title of 'Khan Bahadur' in 1935 by the British Government. He was a member of the floud commission formed in 1939 in order to assess the real condition of the peasants of Bengal and to suggest ways and means for abolishing the zamindari system. He became the Minister of Co-operative and Agriculture in the second cabinet of Fazlul Huq in 1941. He played a vital role in drafting the first amendment of Land Reforms Act, 1938, Mahajani Act, 1940, Agricultural Tenant Act, 1939 and in drafting the second amendment of the Agricultural Tenant Act, 1942.

Hashem Ali Khan took active part in social and cultural activities. He was the chief director of the Nabayug published from Kolkata. Kazi Nazrul Islam and Abul Mansur Ahmad were involved in editing this newspaper. Besides, he published a literary journal Gulista from Kolkata in 1942 with the cooperation of S. Wazed Ali. In 1950, he published Khadem, a newspaper from Barisal. Hashem Ali Khan was one of the organizers of the literary conference held in Barisal in 1961 under the auspices of the Barisal Shahitya Parisad.

In 1946 he contested the election of legislative assembly as a nominee of Krishak Praja Party, but was defeated to a Muslim League candidate. Praja Party was no more a popular party. After the serious set back of Krishak Praja Party in the election Hashem Ali Khan left the party and joined Muslim League. He was elected chairman of Barisal municipality uncontested in 1952. In the elections of 1954 he was defeated by the united front candidate. In 1962 he contested the assembly election supported by the Anti-Ayub political combine. But while carrying on election campaign he met a tragic end of his life. He got drowned due to boat capsize in a river on 16 April 1962. [Delwar Hasan]