Yusuf Jan, Khwaja

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Yusuf Jan, Khwaja (1850-1923) a member of the Dhaka nawab family, a social worker, and a pro-people leader. Khwaja Yusuf Jan was born in Dhaka on 21 January 1850. Following the family tradition, he learnt Arabic, Urdu, and Persian as well as English from private tutors. He was a member of the Dhaka Municipality from 1884 to 1923, either elected or nominated. He was the Chairman of Dhaka Municipality from 1897 to 1901, Vice-Chairman from 1901 to 1905, and again Chairman from 1905 to 1916. He was the Vice-Chairman of Dhaka District Board from 1897 to 1905 and Chairman from 1921-1923. Khwaja Yusuf Jan was a member of the East Bengal Legislative Assembly, a post that he held for a long time since 1907, as a representative of the municipalities of Dhaka Division. He was Honorary Magistrate of Dhaka for 28 years. The contribution that he made towards the improvement of the water works and sewerage system of Dhaka City is remembered even today.

In 1883, Khwaja Yusuf founded the 'Mohammedan Association'; to organise the Muslims of Dhaka. On 16 October, 1905, the day of the 'Partition of Bengal';, a meeting of the Muslim leaders of the surrounding region was convened at the Northbrook Hall in Dhaka under the leadership of Nawab Salimullah. In this meeting the Mohammedan Association was renamed 'Mohammedan Provincial Union';. This was the first political platform of the Muslims of Bengal and Khwaja Yusuf was made its secretary. Later, he presided over the meeting of the provincial Muslim League that was held in Dhaka on 16 October 1910. He also presided over the meeting that was convened to stage agitation against the Repeal of the partition of bengal.

Yusuf Jan was associated with organisations such as the All India muslim league, the Executive Committee of the Bengal Land Holders'; Association, East India Association-London, Dhaka Mitford Hospital Managing Committee, jagannath college Governing Body, Dhaka Madrasa Managing Committee, Executive Committee of the Northbrook Hall and Library, Standing Committee for the appointment of Qazis, Managing Committee of the Dhaka Orphanage and the salimullah orphanage, Lunatic Asylum (Dhaka) and Ahsanullah Engineering School Committee. In addition, he was the secretary of the Managing Committee of Lady Duffrein Hospital, Dhaka, and a visitor of the Dhaka Central Jail.

In recognition of his services to the people the British Government awarded him a Certificate of Honour in 1903 and the titles of Khan Bahadur in 1904 and Nawab in 1910. The Municipality of Dhaka named a market after him at Naya Bazar in 1913. Nawab Mohammad Yusuf Jan died on 8 November 1923 and he was buried at Begumbazar in the family graveyard of the nawabs of Dhaka. [Mohammad Alamgir] [Alamgir, Mohammad Keeper and In-Charge, Ahsan Manzil Museum, Dhaka]