Syed Shamsul Hasan
Syed Shamsul Hasan (1885-1981) was an eminent leader of the Pakistan Muslim League and before independence of All India Muslim League. He was the son of a doctor and wanted to follow his father’s footstep. However, his passion for politics led him to Sir Syed Wazir Hasan at an early age. The remarkable personal qualities that separated Syed Shamsul Hasan from his peers were his modesty, self-effacement, self discipline and friendly nature. Later in life these qualities made him the most trusted vanguard of Quaid-i-Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan.
As Pir Ali Mohammad Rashdi, a journalist, said “The driving force behind the movement [for independent Pakistan] were three people- the Quaid, Liaquat and Syed Shamsul Hasan.
Syed Shamsul Hasan joined the staff of the All India Muslim League (AIML) in July 1914 as Assistant Secretary, and after a short while he took over charge of party’s central office as Secretary. He held this position till independence South Asia into India and Pakistan. Syed Shamsul Hasan was the major player behind the scenes. The importance of his role in Pakistan’s independence was realized after his death. He was not only responsible for running day to day league operations and financial management, but also keeping in touch with all the league leaders including Liaquat Ali Khan and Allama Iqbal and keeping Quaid informed. He was famous for his quick thinking, for example he once was accompanying Quaid on his Lucknow trip and on their way in came to Syed sahib’s attention that in Lucknow Quaid-i-Azam had been portrayed as “Maulana” Mohammad Ali Jinnah. In his western dress, Quaid does not look like Maulana. Quaid-i-Azam decided not to care about this concern. However, Syed sahib found a quick solution. He went to the market when train stops at Kanpur station and bought about dozen Fez caps, also known as Turkish caps. Quaid-i-Azam happily chose one and kept his image of “Maulana” in Lucknow league session.
Syed Shamsul Hasan’s intelligence and quick wits made him one of most trusted member of AIML. He was known to protect Quaid and Liaquat Ali Khan’s back and equipped them with tools that are needed to continue the struggle for an independent state. He was the only one who was entrusted by Quaid himself to safeguard and responsible to transfer the AIML records safely from Delhi to Pakistan. Syed Shamsul Hasan accomplished this task without any concern of putting his or his entire family’s life in danger. After the bifurcation of the All India Muslim League in 1948 into the Indian Union Muslim League and Pakistan Muslim League, Syed Shamsul Hasan served Pakistan Muslim League in the same capacity till October 1958.
When Iskandar Mirza declared martial law on October 7, 1958, all political parties were banned; their offices and records were taken over and sealed by this regime. Twenty days later Ayub Khan over thrown Iskandar Mirza and became the first military president of Pakistan. He took charge of all AIML records, put this real history of Pakistan in Hessian bags, removed from the site and left to decay on open rooftop of the Muslim league house. Part of it was destroyed until National Archive Researchers managed to retrieve the remnants in later years. The papers which Quaid-i-Azam had entrusted to Syed Sahib, known as Shamsul Hasan Collection. After demise of Syed Shamsul Hasan in 1981, the Collection became a part of his family archives and was painstakingly looked after by his elder son Mr. Khalid Shamsul Hasan till his death in 1995. Afterwards, the collection was taken over by his younger brother Zahid Shamsul Hasan. In 2006, this historical treasure was donated to National Documentation Center of Cabinet Division, Government of Pakistan.
Syed Shamsul Hasan was awarded posthumously Sitara-e-Imtiaz on March 23, 2007 by the government of Pakistan. He was also awarded Pakistan Freedom Movement Workers Gold Medal. This Gold medal was also awarded to his son Khalid Shamsul Hasan, for his work initially as Joint Secretary of All India Muslim Student Federation and later on for his meticulous research and analysis on Shamsul Hasan Collection Papers.