Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy


Oxford, OX2 6QD
United Kingdom
51° 47' 13.6464" N, 1° 17' 24.6012" W
Date of birth: 
08 Sep 1892
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
05 Dec 1963
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1913
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1913-20 (student)

1932 (Round Table Conference)


Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was born to Justice Sir Zahid Suhrawardy and Khujesta Akhtar Banu in Midnapur, Bengal (now West Bengal), India, on 8 September 1892. He received his early education from his mother and his uncle, Sir Abdullah al-Mamun (who had studied at Oxford University and been a founder-member of the Pan Islamic Society in London), before he entered the Calcutta Aliya Madrasah and graduated with honours in science from St. Xavier's College. He obtained an MA degree in Arabic Calcutta University in 1913 before leaving for England later that year.

In England he enrolled at Oxford University, where he graduated in science with honours and received his BCL degree. His elder (and only) brother, Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy, graduated from Oxford as well, and both were involved with the Oxford Majlis. Huseyn was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1918 and returned to Calcutta in 1920 where he started practising as a barrister.

Soon after returning to India, Suhrawardy married Begum Naiz Fatima, the daughter of Sir Abdur Rahim, who was a judge of the Calcutta High Court, a member of the Governor's Executive Council and president of the Indian Legislative Assembly. Begum Naiz died in 1922. They had one son, Shahab Suhrawardy, who died in London in 1940 while pursuing his studies at Oxford, and one daughter, Akhter Jahan Suhrawardy, who married Shah Ahmed Sulaiman, the son of Sir Mohammad Sulaiman.

He joined the Swaraj Party, under the leadership of C. R. Das, in 1923 and became Deputy Mayor of Calcutta in 1924. After the death of Das, Suhrawardy turned to separatist policies and eventually joined the All India Muslim League. In 1946, Suhrawardy headed the Muslim League government, as Prime Minister, in Bengal. On 16 August 1946, mobs of Muslims attacked Hindus in their demand for a Pakistan. Suhrawardy is often held responsible for not intervening. In 1956, Iskander Mirza made Suhrawardy Prime Minister after Chaudhry Muhammad Ali had resigned. However, due to the political turmoil of Pakistan at that time, he resigned on 17 October 1957. After being disqualified from politics by Muhammad Ayub Khan, Suhrawardy relocated to Lebanon where he died in 1963.


Satya Ranjan Bakshi, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Muhammad Ali Bogra, Sarat Chandra Bose, Chittaranjan Das, Abul Hashim,  A. K. Fazlul Huq, Iskander Mirza, Khawaja Nazimuddin, Sir Abdur Rahim, Kiran Shankar Roy, Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy.

Involved in events: 

Direct Action Day, 16 August 1946

Published works: 

Bartol'd, Vasily Vladimirovich, Mussulman Culture, translated from the Russian by Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (Calcutta, 1934) 

World Religions: Their Contrasts and Resemblances: Islam (London, [1947])

Joint Electorate in Pakistan (Karachi: Department of Advertising, Films and Publications, [1957])

Statement on Foreign Relations and Defence (Text of the Statement made in the National Assembly by Prime Minister, Mr. H. S. Suhrawardy, on February 22 1957) (Karachi, 1957)

Winding up of Foreign Policy Debate (Text of the Speech delivered by Mr. H. S. Suhrawardy, Prime Minister of Pakistan, on 25 February 1957) (Karachi, 1957)

Nirbacita Baktrita o Patrabali (Dhaka: Akshara, 1987)

Secondary works: 

Chatterji, Joya, Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932-1947 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) 

Ikramullah, Shaista Suhrawardy, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy: A Biography (Karachi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991)

Kamal, Kazi Ahmed, Politicians and Inside Stories: A Glimpse Mainly into Lives of Fazlul Huq, Shaheed Shurawardy and Moulana Bhashani (Dacca: Kazi Giasuddin Ahmed, 1970)

Kha, Roedan, The British Papers: Secret and Confidential India - Pakistan - Bangladesh Documents, 1958-1969 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)

Lyon, Peter, Conflict Between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2008)

Qayyum, Abdul, Three Presidents, Three Prime Ministers (Islamabad: Dost Publications, 1996)

Talukdar, Mohammad H. R. (ed.), Memoirs of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, with a brief account of his life and work (Dhaka: University Press Limited, 1987)

Wolpert, Stanley, Gandhi's Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)