Justice SM Murshed: worthy of his name and fame
He became famous for his thoughts and beliefs and a few courageous and bold judgements against heavy odds. He was a man of firm, conviction, never to be deterred by fear and favour. He had to quit the chair of the chief justice because of his firm faith and belief in human justice and rule of law. Writes Fazlul Quader Quaderi
TODAY is yet another death anniversary of the legendary Chief Justice S M Murshed. He was born on January 11, 1911 in a Syed Family of Shahpur, Murshidabad in West Bengal. His father Syed Abdus Salik was a brilliant civil servant and served as District Magistrate in Bogra and Dinajpur, when such high posts, used to be adorned by the English men only. So, it was really a matter of great honour and prestige for him and his family. From his paternal side, Syed Mahbub Murshed was one of the direct descendents of Hazrat lmam Hossain and from his Maternal side the descendents of the great Islamic hero Khalid-bin-Walid. His mother Afzalunessa, was the sister of Sher-e-Bangla A K FazIul Huq.
The Syed’s as we know, are the descendents of the Holy Prophet. So, by birth, he was really a Syed, which in Bengali means the best or honoured. Among the Muslims the ‘Syeds’ are distinguished for their humbleness, honesty, hospitality, truthfulness, warm behaviour and creed in their daily life. So, Syed Mahbub Murshed was an emblem of all the human faculties of head and heart, worthy of his first name.
He was Mahbub, which means kind and friend. He was kind to the poor and friendly with the people. His kindliness and friendliness knew no bounds. He was always ready to help the needy at the time of need, his heart would melt at the distress and suffering of the poor. He was famous for social welfare service. He was very closely associated with Anjuman-e-Mafidul Islam—a philanthropic organisation for the distressed, poor and have nots. Thus he was Mahbub to them, as he was Syed by birth. Again, he was Murshed to the colleagues of his own profession. He was a symbol to the promising and budding lawyers of the country. ‘Murshed’ literally means the leader who leads people in the right direction. In his profession, he set example before his junior colleagues. He showed the golden way to them to become worthy in their profession by practicing the golden rules of human laws. In this respect, he was really Murshed to the persons engaged in legal profession. Many of his judgements stand out as milestones in the history of the Judiciary in Bangladesh. He used to believe in honesty, truthfulness and justice—the three golden rules of the legal profession. He was uncompromising in the principle of justice. He practised the ideals in which he used to believe. A man of conviction as he was would not be seen any more in the arena of judiciary. He always used to uphold the cause of truth and justice at the risk of his own life. Here he was really Murshed to his professional colleagues. Herein lies the significance of his name ‘Murshed’.
It is generally unbelievable that the name of a person can be so significant and meaningful as the name of Justice Syed Mahbub Murshed. He was worthy of his name and fame. He was a Syed by birth, a Mahbub in deeds and a Murshed in his profession. Thus, the worthiness of his name has been fully justified in his person.
As regards fame, he was a brilliant student all through his educational career. He was the first Bengali to stand first among the candidates from British India in Bar Examination at London. He also stood first in LLB Examination from Calcutta University in 1933. Murshed also had a distinction in MA examination from University College of London University and while called to the Bar in the UK from ‘Lincoln Inn’ in 1937 and 1938 respectively.
He was a great orator and a scholar of highest order in Urdu, Arabic and Persian besides English and Bengali language. His historic speech in Urdu at Lahore stands singularly unparallel and the Lahorites were charmed by his lucid language and oration. He was an ardent reader of Omar Khayum, Hazrat Ruini, Hafiz and Sheikh Saadi.
He used to compose poems in Persian language as well. He was very closely associated with many socio-cultural organisations. He was a votary of Bengali culture and poems and songs of Tagore. He was a great believer in Sufism, which drew him near the great sufi saint of Midnapur—Hazrat Shah Syed lrshad Ali-alQuaderi, and became his ardent disciple. He wrote a few poems in the Persian Language in the praise of his Pir-o-Murshed, which has not been published.
His book titled ‘Gulistan-e-Quaderi’ in English shows his unflinching faith in Islam and sufism. It also contains the history of Quaderia order of Sufism in the then undivided Bengal.
On the other hand, when there arose great controversy about Bengali language and culture, especially on Tagore, Syed Mahbub Murshed stood alone in the breach and courageously faced all the onslaughts.
He became famous for his thoughts and beliefs and a few courageous and bold judgements against heavy odds. He was a man of firm, conviction, never to be deterred by fear and favour. He had to quit the chair of the chief justice because of his firm faith and belief in human justice and rule of law.
He passed away from this mortal world on April 3 in 1979, but had left behind a rich legacy of championing human rights and courageous legal judgements which need to be cared and nursed by the present generation. It is then, and only then, his name and fame will remain dear to us.
We know the famous German musician and composer Beethoven once said, ‘by praising those who deserve praise, we lift our selves above ourselves; by honouring them, we honour ourselves’. Even in the case of the American President Abraham Lincoln it was said that he possessed ‘the greatness of real goodness and the goodness of real greatness’. Syed Mahbub Murshed, had in him all the qualities of the greatness.
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