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Nawab Salimullah

Nawab Salimullah


Nawab Salimullah belonged to the most prominent land owning family of Bengal and was born in 1884 at Dhaka. He was the son of Sir Ahsanullah Khan and the great grandson of Khawaja Abdul Hakim, who wielded great influence at the Mughal Court in Delhi and on the downfall of the Empire shifted to Sylhet in Bengal and eventually settled down in Dhaka.

Nawab Salimullah was hardly 17 years old when his father died in 1901 and he became the 'Nawab of Dhaka' (then called 'Dacca'}.

He was a nominated Member of the Eastern Bengal and Assam Legislative Council in 1901.

He was a great advocate and champion of the cause of the Muslim rights and supported the plan for the partition of Bengal to riddle the Muslims out of the yoke of Hindu dominance in the economic, social and commercial fields. After the partition of Bengal on October 16, 1906 when East Bengal became a predominant Muslim province, Nawab Salimullah and his friends established a 'Mohammadan Provincial Union' to politically organise the Muslims and to promote their interests in the socio-economic field.

Nawab Salimullah took a prominent part in organizing the Simla Deputation of Muslims that called on the Viceroy, Lord Minto on October 1, 1906 to press for the demand of 'separate electorate' for the Muslims in the forthcoming constitutional reforms by the then British Government in India. Although he could not join the Deputation that was then led by Aga Khan III due to illness yet, the efforts put in by him in organizing the Deputation led subsequently to the acceptance of the historic demand of 'separate electorate' for the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent by British Government in India.

Nawab Salimullah circulated a letter among eminent Muslims containing a 'scheme for All India Muslim Confederacy'. The scheme eventually became the basis of discussion at Dhaka in December 1906 where eminent Muslim Leaders had gathered to discuss and evolve a plan of action for the Muslims of India. Nawab Salimullah moved the resolution for the formulation of All-India Muslim League and made a forceful speech explaining the objectives of the proposed League on the occasion. The said meeting culminated in the establishment of the All-India Muslim League on December 30, 1906; with that the twin struggle for freedom by the Muslims from the Hindu and British dominations was soon to acquire a new dimension in the history of Indo-Pakistan sub-continent.

In 1908 Nawab Salimullah presided over the All-India Muslim Educational Conference, Amritsar. He was Vice-President All-India Muslim League in 1910 and 1913 and President of the League in 1912.

The annulment of the partition of Bengal in 1911 had deeply hurt him and he died at the young age of 31 on January 16, 1915.



India never was one, was never a nation, never was a country governed by one single power even with the sword. It is a sub-continent of different nationalities and peoples. It was never governed, in history, by one single power. Even today, when constitutionally and legally British are ruling over India, one third India is not British. The administrative oneness is entirely the making of the British. The government, which has been in this sub-Continent for 150 or 160 years, is not a government with the sanction of the peoples.... It is the sanction of British bayonets and not the sanction of the peoples.

Muslim League Council, November 9, 1942
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