Abdul Aziz Mian - January 1881

Abdul Aziz Mian

Mian Abdul Aziz was born in Lahore in January 1881. He was the fourth son of Haji Shaikh Muhammad Gaus, a prominent Ulema of Lahore. He was a traditional Indian who started his education under a Maulvi in a small Muktab and then entered a school in Lahore. He passed the Entrance Examination at the age of thirteen, and in 1899 passed the B.A. Examination from the Punjab University, Lahore, topping the list of the successful candidates. He took his M.A. in 1901 from the Government College, Lahore.

In public life Mian Abdul Aziz held a very prominent position in the Punjab. He started his life as a Lecturer in the Islamia College, Lahore. But after a short time he entered the Punjab Civil Service in 1903. He served the Government of the Punjab in various capacities and retired as Financial Commissioner in 1936. In spite of his long service under the Government he was a nationalist, as was clear from some of his speeches in the Legislative Assembly where he served as a nominated member for a number of years. Although a prominent member of the Muslim League after retirement from Government service, he worked for Hindu Muslim unity. He was Secretary of the Young Muslim unity. He was Secretary of the Young Men's Muhmmedan Association. For his services to the Government, he was given the titles of Khan Sahib in 1917, Khan Bahadur in 1925, and the Order of the British Empire in 1930.

He travelled widely in Europe and America in 1926 and again went to England in 1930 during the Round Table Conference. A broadminded man, Aziz was an advocate of social reforms, like widow re-marriage and removal of untouchability, in his speeches. Though a devout Muslim, he was free from any tinge of' fanaticism. For him religion was a personal affair and had nothing to do with public life. He was very much in favour of extension of education in India, especially he wanted that people from the villages should be provided with more facilities for education.

The period of his greatest contribution to nationalism was from 1936 to 1947. It was after his retirement from Government service in 1936 that Mian Abdul Aziz started taking an active interest in the nationalist movement. He was a prominent member of the Muslim League till the partition of the country in 1947. He wanted the nationalist movement to be carried on by constitutional means, and was against, any type of violence and revolutionary activities.

He had great admiration for the Indian peasantry, and did much to publicize their cause. He pleaded in the Legislative Assembly that "one had to live with them, work with them and work for them to realise the real greatness of the men”. “What has really happened is that, on account of the very complex social and religious system, the peasant has been ground down to a kind of obedience to certain conventions which arc very difficult to get out of him. He is not given an opportunity to cultivate his intellectual capacity and latent faculties. He is not given an opportunity by the leaders of public opinion to improve himself in social matters.”

Mian Abdul Aziz genuinely endeavoured to preserve communal harmony in the province. During the critical year of 1946-47 he tried his utmost to bring about a compromise between the Congress and the League and urged the League to join the Interim Government and give it a fair trial. His efforts proved fruitless and the partition came in August 1947. He thus represented that progressive and enlightened class of Muslim leadership in the Panjab who opposed fanaticism and division of the country till events overtook the class and turned the history of India in an altogether different direction.



Reference: DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY – Vol 1 edited by S. P. Sen – Institute of Historical Studies – Calcutta - 1972


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