Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan, who was the scion of the family which fought against the British in the First war of Independence of 1857, was born in 1884 in Agra, Uttarpradesh. His father was Nawab Ishaq Khan who was an ICS officer and a Jurist. Nawab Ishaq has resigned from his job because he could not tolerate the over bearing authority of the British. Later, he served at the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College which was founded by Sir Syed Ahmed.
He sent his son Ismail to England for higher education when he was only 12 years old. Ismail completed his B.A. and Law Course in Cambridge University and returned to India in 1906. Though he got a lucrative job as an official of high rank, he did not prefer the job, but started practicing as an advocate. As he was having close relations with the family of Motilal Nehru since his father’s time, he became close to the Indian National Congress.
But, he joined All India Muslim League in 1910. He had cordial relations with all the parties and participated actively in the Khilafat and Non- Cooperation Movements. His residence ‘Mustafa Castle’ was a center for the activists and leaders of the Movement. Since he was one of the prominent leaders of the Muslim League in Uttarpradesh, he got elected to the Central Legislative Assembly unanimously in 1923. He distanced himself from the Indian National Congress in 1926, alleging that the Congress failed in addressing the problems faced by the Muslims.
He again got elected in the Assembly elections in 1937 as a candidate of Muslim League. But, in those elections neither the Congress nor the League could get sufficient strength to form the Government. Thus, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad mediated the deal between the Congress and the League. Azad proposed two ministerial berths for Choudhry Khaleequzzaman and Ismail Khan, who would support the Congress. But the deal failed as Pandit Nehru offered only one berth.
Later, Nawab Ismail Khan became the president of the All India Muslim Civil Defense Association. When the Muslim League moved the ‘Lahore Resolution’ in 1940 for the division of the nation, he did not support it. After the division of the nation, Ismail was reluctant to go to Pakistan along with his sons and co-leaders. As he remained in India, he worked as the member of the constituent assembly and as the Vice Chancellor of the Alighar Muslim University. Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan died on 28 June, 1958 in Meerut.
(Source : The Immortals, an album of 155 Muslim Freedom Fighters with the brief of each MFF in English and Telugu, authored by Syed Naseer Ahamed, Mobile : 9440241727)