Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz


Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz, daughter of Mian Sir Muhammad Shaft who was one of the founders of the all India Muslim League, was born on April 7, 1896 at Lahore. She was educated at the Queen Mary's College, Lahore and was married to Mian Shah Nawaz, Bar-at-Law in 1911. With the emergence of the all India Muslim Women's Conference, she started working for it tirelessly and it was mainly at her instance that the organisation passed a resolution against polygamy.

Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz was the first female member of the all India Muslim League. She was also the first woman in All India Muslim League Council. In 1930 and 1931 she attended the First and the Second Round Table Conferences. respectively ~ as the only Muslim Woman Member and in the Third Round Table Conference in 1932 as the only representative of women for the then British India.

In 1935, she formed the 'Punjab Provincial Muslim Women's League'. In 1937, she was elected a Member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly and was appointed 'Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Medical Relief and Public Health'. In 1938, she was taken in the 'Woman's Central Sub-committee of the All India Muslim League'. In 1946, she was again elected a Member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly. In the same year she was sent to U.S.A. to explain the viewpoint of the All India Muslim League.

During the Civil Disobedience Movement in Punjab in 1947, she played an important role and was arrested along with other Muslim League leaders.

After Independence she became Member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly.

Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz wrote several pamphlets on educational and social matters. She wrote a book titled 'Husn Ara Begum' in Urdu and her memoirs titled 'Father and Daughter' in English.

She died in l979


Author: Zia-ur-Rahman Zabeeh
Ex. Director General, Pakistan Post, Islamabad
Artist: Professor Saeed Akhter
National College of Arts, Lahore
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