Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Sir Fazl-I-Husain's Political Heritage

Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Sir Fazl-I-Husain's Political Heritage

Article excerpt

Conceptual Framework

In regional politics, the provincial leaders from the Muslim-majority provinces were given sufficient impetus by the "Dyarchy System" which was introduced by the British Government under the 1919 Act through the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms to be a formidable force from the beginning. The system of dyarchy gave these leaders "the actual handling of administrative powers and a measure of responsibility" in the government. The British Government had favored devolution of authority at the provinces rather than at the center. The purpose was not only to attract the most influential and practical minded statesmen to the Provincial Councils, but also to encourage the regional and provincial leaders to challenge the nationalist leadership at the centre.1 The provincial leaders came both from the landlord and the middle classes which tended to be generally inclined either towards the British Government, the Congress Party or the Muslim League, depending upon their needs and interests at a particular point in time. In the Punjab province, the leaders like Mian Sir Fazl-i-Husain, Mian Sir Muhammad Shafi (1869-1932) and Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan (1892-1942), i.e., were so-called landowners and represented what has come to be called "the Anglo-Mohammedan point of view" in the Punjab politics.2

For this purpose, it will be worthwhile to concentrate upon the provincial leadership, especially in the Punjab, a large Muslim-majority province which was more advanced, influential and prosperous than any other province with a more articulate and organized set of provincial leaders.3 Among the heavy fabric of the Muslim leadership in the Punjab, Sir Fazl-i-Husain's case is entirely different and interesting in the context of Muslim politics of the province that is needed to be evaluated in an appropriate and careful way.He possessed a cool head with a strong heart, a man of conviction with far-sighted approach, accommodative political philosophy and wise strategy to resolve most of the socio-political issues skillfully in the Punjab province. But since he died in 1930s when the provincial autonomy, vested to the provinces under the Act of 1935, was just beginning to unfold its scope.. The references and comparison will also be made to other leaders of the province, relevant to the analysis, to justify the case of Sir Fazl-i-Husain in proper shape and new perspective.4 It will also be analyzed to trace out the real factors which caused the misrepresentation of his case and the blame-game leveled against his efforts and campaign for the protection of the major communities in the Punjab. It is to be viewed that what compelled Mian Fazl-i-Husain after failing twice to qualify for Indian Civil Services, to be an active educationist and politician after securing the Barrister at Law degree from Cambridge. Besides, it is to be analyzed here how Mian Fazl-i-Husain made a mark and achieved an influential position in Indian politics in general and particularly in the Punjab, despite being a contemporary of towering and celebrated personalities like Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), Sir Abdul Qadir (1874-1950), Mian Sir Muhammad Shafi (1869-1932), Sir Zafrullah Khan (1893-1985) and many others. Facts based arguments will be built about the political journey of Mian Fazl-i-Husain and how his ideas transformed into the very ideas of a champion of Muslim Cause. Additionally, how the platforms of Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam (AHI),5 the Congress, the Muslim League and the Unionist Parties played a crucial role in shaping the ideas of Sir Fazl-iHusain who consequently rendered commendable services through these platforms to raise the Muslim consciousness about their rights. Finally, the views of the fellow countrymen, both progressive nationalist and conservative, are also to be penned down in order to lay more weight on the services rendered by the real son of the soil in the Punjab politics.6

Fazl-i-Husain was a protagonist of Punjab politics, a great realist and a political genius of a consummate intellect. …

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