Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was born on September 8, 1892, in an illustrious Muslim family from Midnapore in West Bengal, India. Suhrawardy’s mother was the first Muslim woman to pass the Senior Cambridge examination. He graduated with honors in Science from St. Caviares College. In 1913, he obtained his Masters degree in Arabic from Calcutta University. Suhrawardy received his B. C. L. degree from Oxford University and was called to the Bar from Grey’s Inn in 1918.
In 1920, Suhrawardy married Begum Niaz Fatima.
In 1921, he was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly. For a brief period, he served as Secretary, Calcutta Khilafat Committee. In 1923, he was appointed Deputy Leader of the Swaraj Party. The following year he was elected Deputy Mayor of Calcutta. In 1936, he became the General Secretary of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League. After the 1937 elections, Suhrawardy was appointed Minister for Labor and Commerce. After serving briefly in the Fazl-ul-Haq’s Ministry, he joined Khawaja Nazimuddin’s Ministry in 1943 as Minister for Civil Supplies.
After the 1946 elections, Suhrawardy formed government in Bengal, the only Muslim League Government in the Sub-continent. In 1949, he formed the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League, and in 1953 he renamed it as the Awami League.
In 1953, Suhrawardy teamed up with A. K. Fazl-ul-Haq and Maulana Bhashani to establish the United Front in Dhaka. Their party won the 1954 general elections. The same year he joined Muhammad Ali Bogra’s Ministry as Law Minister.
However, with the change of government in 1955, Suhrawardy took charge of the leadership of opposition.
H. S. Suhrawardy became the fifth Prime Minister of Pakistan on September 12, 1956. During his tenure, he tried to remove economic disparity between the two wings. In October 1957, Suhrawardy resigned from his Premiership due to the President’s refusal to convene a meeting of Parliament for seeking a vote of confidence.
A chronic heart patient, Suhrawardy died on December 5, 1963.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003