Begum Shahnawaz Biography
While the name of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi and those of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto come readily in mind, the Father-Daughter equation of Sir Muhammad Shafi and Begum Jahan Ara Shahnawaz may not sound that familiar to the new generation. Basically its belongs to a slighty distant era. But this sound no more be the case, now that Oxford University Press, Karachi, has bought out Father & Daughter: a political Autobiography. By Jahan Ara Shahnawaz. The book was first published back in 1971 by Nigarishaf, Lahore and has been responced, now under oxfords filled. The Subcontinent Divided New Beginning.
The political relationship across the generation between the author and the leading Arain lawyer and politician main Sir Muhammad Shafi is less well known today than those between other south Asian Fathers and daughters such as Jawahlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. Nevertheless, in their day, the contribution of Shafi and his daughter to the development of both Punjab and all India Muslim politics was hugely significant.The early chapters deal with the life and times of her father Muhammad Shafi K.C.S.I, C.I.E. He was perhaps the only Muslim leader who stood for separate electorates for the Muslims and throughout his career never waved in his faith in the utility for that system. Despite the British government offering him lands and other perks, he refused to give up his principles, which were not only an article of faith with him but were the very life blood of the Muslim nation. Had the Muslim leaders who stood for joint electorates succeeded and who left no stone unturned to come to a settlement the nation congress and then, on the basis of a joint demand of the Hindus and the Muslims together, with the British government, it would have deprived the Muslim of all those necessary safeguards which later became Quaid’s fourteen points, the history of the subcontinent would have been completely different, as the first Indian member of the viceroys executive council, he sanctioned the establishment of six university including the Benares, Delhi and Dacca universities. While serving as president of all India Muslim leagues, his sudden death came as great shock to the Muslims in India.
The later periods with the struggle for independence and towards the emancipation of women Begum Shahnawaz had the honor of being the only woman to have attended the Round Table Conference. She had the hour of being the only woman to address an audience in the Guildhall in the 600 years of its existence. After independence, she worked selfishlessly for Pakistan. Twenty one years of provincial legislature and seven years of both the legislative. Building of the constitution and fight for women rights in the fundamental rights committee, the fight for the charter of women rights with complete success. During her life, she gave more than a million rupee in cash as charity and donated 62 squares of land for educational and welfare purposes.
Father and daughter is the relationship which has been the most productive in south Asia history. Jawahlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto immediately come to mind. For a daughter to become the political heir constitutes the first stirring of women liberation, for in a man’s world it is never attained by mere bequest but by merit. This has been so ever since Razia sultana sojourned briefly on the throne of Delhi.