Naziruddin Ahmad was born on 25 December 1889 in Kulia village, Burdwan district (present-day West Bengal). He did his schooling at Hooghly Collegiate School and Burdwan Raj School. He obtained a law degree from Ripon Law College (renamed Surendranath Law College), University of Calcutta.
Ahmad had vibrant careers in law, politics, journalism and civil society. He practiced law at the Calcutta High Court and later the Federal Court of India. In 1924, he became the Public Prosecutor for Burdwan District, a post he held until 1928. His first foray into politics was from Burdwan Municipality when he was elected its Vice-Chairman in 1919.
He was Secretary of the Burdwan Muhammedan Association that aimed to advance modern education within the Bengal Muslim Community and protect its interests
Ahmad was the founder-editor of Burdwan Vani, a weekly Bengali newspaper.
Role in India’s Independence Movement
Ahmad was an active member of the Praja movement in West Bengal, a pro-peasant movement that fought for labour rights. He was Secretary of the Bengal Raiyat Association – a farmers’ collective. In 1921 he wrote an open letter to the Governor of Bengal exhorting him to tour rural Bengal and witness the plight of the peasantry.
Later, he became a member of the Bengal Legislative Council, where he served as Chief Whip under Fazlul Huq’s Coalition Government in 1943.
Contribution to Constitution Making
Ahmad was elected to the Constituent Assembly on a Muslim League ticket from West Bengal. He intervened in the debates on national language and reservations for minorities
- Ahmad believed that modern India could not have just one official language.
- He argued against reservations for Muslims in the legislatures as it could perpetuate the unpleasant memory of separate electorates introduced by the British rule.
- Famously, Ahmad aggressively attacked the Drafting Committee, cheekily terming it the ‘Drifting Committee’, alleging that the Committee was making last minute changes to the Constitution without the Assembly’s approval
Who’s Who 1950 (Parliament of India).