Open main menu

Nurul Amin (Bengali: নূরুল আমীন, Urdu: نورالامین‎; 15 July 1893 – 2 October 1974), referred to as the Patriot of Pakistan,[citation needed] was a prominent Pakistani leader, and a jurist. He is noted as being the last Bengali leader of Pakistan.

Nurul Amin
نورالامین
নূরুল আমীন
Nurul Amin.jpg
8th Prime Minister of Pakistan
In office
7 December 1971 – 20 December 1971
PresidentYahya Khan
DeputyZulfikar Ali Bhutto
Preceded byFeroz Khan Noon
Ayub Khan (acting)
Succeeded byZulfikar Ali Bhutto
Vice President of Pakistan
In office
20 December 1971 – 21 April 1972
PresidentZulfikar Ali Bhutto
Preceded byPost created
Succeeded byPost abolished
Leader of the Opposition
In office
9 July 1967 – 7 December 1970
Preceded byFatima Jinnah
Succeeded byKhan Abdul Wali Khan
Chief Minister of East Pakistan
In office
14 September 1948 – 3 April 1954
GovernorFeroz Khan Noon
Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman
Preceded byKhawaja Nazimuddin
Succeeded byFazlul Huq
Personal details
Born(1893-07-15)15 July 1893
Shahbazpur, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now in Bangladesh)
Died2 October 1974(1974-10-02) (aged 81)
Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan
Resting placeMazar-e-Quaid, Karachi
Political partyPakistan Muslim League (since 1962)
Other political
affiliations
Muslim League (1947–1958)
Alma materAnanda Mohan College
University of Calcutta

Starting his statesmanship in 1948 as Chief Minister of East Bengal, he headed the Ministry of Supply. After participating in parliamentary elections in 1970, Amin was appointed and served as Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was the first and the only Vice President of Pakistan from 1970 till 1972, leading Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.

An anti-war and principal Pakistan movement activist, Amin is considered a patriot who worked to keep Pakistan united. He initially opposed the creation of Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Liberation War – but after the 25 March massacre, devoted his position to reopening communication channels between the warring sides, curbing wartime crimes and repatriating Bengalis stranded in West Pakistan after Bangladeshi liberation.

Early lifeEdit

Amin was born on 15 July 1893 to a Bengali Muslim family in Shahbazpur in his father working place, in what was then undivided Bengal's Tippera District (now in Brahmanbaria District).[1] He then moved with his family to Nandail Upazila which was his native home in neighbouring Mymensingh District.[2] In 1915, Amin passed the college entrance examination from Mymensingh Zilla School, joining Mymensingh Ananda Mohan College two years later to obtain his Intermediate in Arts (I.A); he graduated with a bachelor's degree in English literature in 1919.[2][3]

After graduating, Amin took the position of teaching at the local school named gaffargaon islamia government high school and then another local school in Calcutta, but decided to pursue his career in law.[2][3] In 1920, Amin began at the University of Calcutta; he gained an LLB in Law and Justice in 1924, and passed the Bar exam the same year.[3] Amin started his career in law after joining the Mymensingh Judge Court Bar.[3]

Public serviceEdit

In 1929, Amin was appointed as a member of Mymensingh Local Board, and later became a member of Mymensingh District Board in 1930.[3] In 1932, the British Indian Government appointed Amin as commissioner of Mymensingh Municipality. In 1937, Amin was appointed as the Chairman of Mymensingh District Board, an assignment he continued until 1945.[3]

During this time, Amin's interest in politics increased. He became an early member of the Muslim League led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah.[3] During this time, Amin was appointed President of the Muslim League's Mymensingh district unit. In 1944, he was elected vice president of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League.[3]

In 1945, Amin participated in Indian general elections, securing a landslide victory. He became a Member, and the following year was elected as the Speaker General of the Bengal Legislative Assembly.[3]

United PakistanEdit

Pakistan MovementEdit

Amin became a trusted lieutenant of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in East Bengal, fighting for the rights of Bengali Muslims in British India.[4] Amin took an active part in the Pakistan Movement, organising Bengali Muslims, while he continued to strengthen the Muslim League in Bengal.[4]

In 1946, Jinnah came to visit Bengal, where Amin assisted him. He promised the Bengali nation to build a democratic country.[4] In East Bengal, Amin promoted the unity of Muslims. By the time of creation of Pakistan, Amin had become one of the leading advocates and activists of the Pakistan Movement; he had wide approval ratings by the Bengali population.[4]

Chief MinisterEdit

Jinnah appointed Amin Chief Minister of East Bengal. Amin worked for the Muslim League in East Bengal, while continuing his relief programme for the population. As Chief Minister, his relations were significantly strained with Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and Governor-General Khawaja Nazimuddin. Soon after the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, Amin was appointed as Minister of Supply. He was elected as a member of the Pakistan National Assembly from 1947 until 1954.

After the death of Jinnah, Amin was nominated as the Chief Minister of East Bengal in September 1948 by Khawaja Nazimuddin; who succeeded Jinnah as Governor General.[5] Amin assumed the office of Chief Minister in a few weeks.[5]

Historians have noted that Nurul Amin's government was not strong enough to administer the provincial state; it was completely under the control of the central government of Nazimuddin.[5] His government did not enjoy enough power, and lacked vision, imagination, and initiatives.[5] Amin failed to counter the Communist Party's influence in the region, which widely took the credit for turning the language movement in 1952 into large unified mass protest.[5]

Language MovementEdit

During Amin's term as Chief Minister, Governor General Nazimuddin (also from East Bengal but an Urdu speaker) reiterated the federal government's position that while Bengali was the language of virtually all East Pakistanis as well as the majority of Pakistanis as a whole, it was not to be considered a national language on par with Urdu.[6] In response, the Bengali Language Movement developed, and the ruling Muslim League lost popularity in East Pakistan. Both Nazimuddin and Amin failed to integrate the East Pakistani population with that of West Pakistan, and eventually the East Pakistan Muslim League lost significant administrative control of the province.[6] Amin on other hand, held Communist Party responsible for this failure, accusing them as provoking the language movement.[6]

Public dissatisfaction with Amin had grown since October 1951, when Nazimuddin became Prime Minister. Amin expelled dissidents from within the ranks of the Muslim League, but doing so simply strengthened opposition to the party.[7] In early 1952, students protested against Prime Minister Nazimuddin's declaration in the provincial capital Dacca (now Dhaka) that Urdu would be the sole national language. During the unrest, the civilian East-Pakistan police opened fire, killing four student activists. This raised more opposition in the region to the Muslim League.[8] Prime Minister Bogra (also a Bengali) visited East Bengal in early 1954 in an attempt to rally support for the League, but it was too late.[7] Leading politicians in West and East Pakistan called for Amin's resignation, and the new elections were soon held.

1954 electionsEdit

In the 1954 provisional elections, the Muslim League was fully defeated by the United Front, an alliance between the Awami League (led by Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy), the Krishak Sramik Party (chaired by A. K. Fazlul Huq), the Nizam Islam Party (headed by Maulana Athar Ali), and the Ganatantri Dal (led by Haji Mohammad Danesh and Mahmud Ali), eventually becoming more and more influential in Pakistani politics.[9] It was in this turnover that Amin lost his assembly seat to a veteran student leader of East Pakistan, Khaleque Nawaz Khan, who had also been active in the Language Movement. The Muslim League was effectively eliminated from the provincial political landscape.[9][10]

Amin served as the President of the East Pakistan Muslim League, and worked to improve its standing. During this time, the Pakistani authorities made reforms, including granting official status to the Bengali language in 1956 alongside Urdu.[11] But after Army Commander General Mohammad Ayub Khan imposed martial law following a successful military coup d'état against the government of President Iskander Mirza in 1958, Amin's political career was halted as Ayub Khan disbanded all political parties in the country.[10]

Leader of the oppositionEdit

Amin ran as a candidate in the 1965 presidential elections, in East Pakistan, winning the majority vote in the Parliament of Pakistan. He declined to work with Ayub Khan. The same year, after the death of Fatima Jinnah, Amin succeeded Jinnah as Leader of Opposition, which he held until 1969, after General Yahya Khan imposed martial law again.

Dissolution of PakistanEdit

In the 1970 elections, Amin was elected to the National Assembly as one of only two non-Awami League members from East Pakistan. During this time, the Pakistani authority had already become highly unpopular, as the Bengali language movement was suppressed. Civil unrest was sparked by the Language Movement and fuelled by discriminatory practices against the Bengali people; this led to East Pakistan's declaration of independence.

1971 Liberation WarEdit

The Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, as it is now known, escalated as India and Pakistan formally acknowledged the "existence of a state of war between the two countries", even though neither government had formally issued a declaration of war.[12]

Prime Ministership and Vice PresidencyEdit

As the situation in his home province of East Pakistan worsened, Amin was appointed Prime Minister by President General Yahya Khan on 6 December 1971. On 20 December 1971, however, Amin's term as prime minister was cut short as Yahya Khan resigned, leaving the Deputy Prime Minister (and Foreign Minister) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to be sworn in as the new President. Two days later, Amin was appointed as Vice President of Pakistan, the only person to have held this post. He continued to hold this post until martial law was lifted on 21 April 1972.

PostwarEdit

Amin is a controversial figure, considered by many Pakistanis to be a patriot for supporting unity of the country, but thought by many Bangladeshis to be a collaborator with an occupation force accused of genocide and other war crimes.[citation needed]

Amin is reported to have remarked to President Yahya and his military advisers, "So Dhaka has fallen, and East Pakistan is gone, and you are enjoying yourselves..."[13]

Death and legacyEdit

Amin stayed in West Pakistan, while his home region achieved independence as the People's Republic of Bangladesh. He died in Rawalpindi on 2 October 1974, less than three years after the dissolution of the united Pakistan, and was given a public state funeral by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[14] He was buried in Jinnah Mausoleum, next to Jinnah. His tomb was specially designed, made of Italian white marble, with golden letters for his name and contributions.[14]

Nurul Amin was a trusted lieutenant of Quaid-i-Azam and a valiant fighter for the Pakistan Movement, and for Pakistan. He proved himself to be a crusader of (Pakistan's) solidarity and earned for himself the highest pedestal by dint of his efforts, intelligence, and his struggle...

— Malick Meraj Khalid, minister of law and parliamentary affairs, tribute to Nurul Amin, at ninth parliamentary session, 1976, [4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Khan, Muazzam Hussain (2012). "Amin, Nurul". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  2. ^ a b c Syedur Rehman, Craig Baxter (2010). Dictionary of Bangladesh. Library of Congress: Scarecrow Publication Inc. pp. 101–223. ISBN 978-0-8108-6766-6.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Press Release. "Nurul Amin". Pakistan Herald. Pakistan Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (1976). Parliamentary Debates. Official Report (Honorary Speech by the Prime minister). Parliament of Pakistan, Capital Territory Zone: Parliament of Pakistan. pp. 3–5.
  5. ^ a b c d e Nair, N.B (1990). Politics in Bangladesh. New Delhi: Northern Book Center. pp. 44, 53, 73, 142. ISBN 978-81-85119-79-3.
  6. ^ a b c Aklam Hussain, Sirajul Islam, (1997). History of Bangladesh, 1704–1971. Dacca: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 1997. pp. 398, 440, 470. ISBN 978-984-512-337-2.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  7. ^ a b Ziring, Lawrence (1997). Pakistan in the Twentieth Century: A Political History. Oxford University Press. pp. 153–154. ISBN 0-19-577816-2.
  8. ^ Mahmood, Safdar (1997). Pakistan: Rule of Muslim League & Inception of Democracy (1947-54). Lahore: Jang Publishers. p. 116. OCLC 39399433.
  9. ^ a b Chatterjee, Pranab (2010). A Story of ambivalent modernization. U.S.: Peter Lang Publications. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-4331-0820-4.
  10. ^ a b Pakistan Government. "Elections in Pakistan: Nurul Amin". ELection Commission of Pakistan. Electronic Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  11. ^ Swarthmore College. "Global Nonviolent Action Database". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  12. ^ "India and Pakistan: Over the Edge". Time. 13 December 1971. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  13. ^ a b Nurul Amin – The story of Pakistan
  14. ^ a b Shah, Sabir (26 December 2011). "An overview of Quaid's mausoleum". The News International. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
Khawaja Nazimuddin
Chief Minister of East Bengal
1948–1954
Succeeded by
Fazlul Haq
Preceded by
Fatima Jinnah
Leader of the Opposition
1967–1970
Succeeded by
Khan Abdul Wali Khan
Preceded by
Feroz Khan Noon
Prime Minister of Pakistan
1971
Succeeded by
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
New office Vice President of Pakistan
1971–1972
Position abolished