Khaliquzzaman was apparently chosen to be the voice of Muslims in the constituent assembly since the other speakers, Prasad and Nehru before him, and Dr. S Radhakrishnan who spoke after him, were all Hindus.
When it comes to our collective recollection of the proceedings of the Indian constituent assembly on the night intervening 14th and 15th August 1947, most of us can only remember that Jawahar Lal Nehru gave his famous “tryst with destiny” speech that night.
Despite all the PR highlighting that speech by Nehru from that night, it is a fact that there were 4 speakers that night heralding a new dawn for India, including one who fought for the division of India and the creation of a separate Pakistan.
After Sucheta Kriplani started the program by singing Vande Mataram, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first of the speakers. He addressed the nation first reminding the people of India about their duties in an independent country. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the president of the constituent assembly at the time. Following Dr. Prasad was Nehru, the man becoming the first Prime Minister of India, and gave his ‘tryst with destiny’ speech.
However, the really interesting speaker was the one who spoke after Nehru, Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, a Muslim League politician who fought for the division of India, and the creation of a separate Pakistan. Khaliquzzaman indeed moved to Pakistan in November 1947 after the partition where he became the first president of the Muslim League (Pakistan).
Khaliquzzaman was in fact the one to second the resolution moved by Nehru for all members of the Assembly to take an oath dedicating themselves in all humility to the service of India and her people.
Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman was apparently chosen to be the voice of Muslims in the constituent assembly since the other speakers, Prasad and Nehru before him, and Dr. S Radhakrishnan who spoke after him, were all Hindus.
Interestingly, Congress had several Muslim leaders at the time who stayed with India even after the partition but none of them was found suitable to be the voice of Muslims in the assembly. Khaliquzzaman was apparently on good terms with Nehru and other Congress leaders of the time so he was chosen as the voice of Indian Muslims despite fighting for a separate Pakistan from India.
Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman was initially associated with Congress, however, when the party didn’t appoint Muslims like him to office after sweeping United Provinces elections, he grew disillusioned with the party, joined Muslim League, and started his support for a separate Pakistan.
Khaliquzzaman was born in Chunar, a town in United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), and was one of the most prominent Muslim League leaders on either side of the partition. He stayed behind initially at the time of partition, addressed the Indian constituent assembly, and eventually made his way to Pakistan in November 1947. In Pakistan, he became the first ever president of the Muslim League (Pakistan), later becoming governor of East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) before moving on to become ambassador to Indonesia and the Philippines.
Khaliquzzaman eventually died in Pakistan in 1973. In 1990, the Pakistani Post office issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honour under its ‘Pioneers of Freedom’ series.