MANDAL, JAGENDRA NATH (1892-1962) Jagendra Nath Mandal was the only prominent non-Muslim politician to support the demand for the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of British India He was a lawyer from Bengal and belonged to one of the “untouchable castes”-the “scheduled castes” now called the Dalits in India-as the British preferred to label them He was inducted in the “interim cabinet” formed by Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1946 to prepare the transition to Indian independence He joined the cabinet as one of the five members representing the Muslim League and was given the portfolio of law Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s decision to include Mandal in the Cabinet scored an important tactical point, since the All-India Congress contingent included a prominent Muslim, Maulana Abul Kalam AzadPakistan’s first Constituent Assembly came into being on 10 August 1947, four days before the country gained independence Mandal was called on to chair the first session at which Jinnah was elected the president In giving Mandal such a prominent role, Jinnah wished to emphasize that while Pakistan was a predominantly Muslim country, it would provide equal treatment to its minorities For three years, from August 1947 to September 1950, Mandal served as minister in a series of cabinets that took office in Karachi, Pakistan’s first capital In September 1950, Muhammad Ali Bogra, the second Bengali to become prime minister, dropped Mandal from the cabinet

Disappointed by this move, Mandal chose not to stay on in Karachi or go back to East Pakistan Instead, he emigrated to India, where he died

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