Syed Nazrul Islam (Bengali: সৈয়দ নজরুল ইসলাম Soiod Nozrul Islam) (1925 – November 3, 1975) was a Bangladeshi politician and a senior leader of the Awami League. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, he served as the acting President of Bangladesh in the absence of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Syed Nazrul Islam was born in 1925 at Jashodal Dampara in the Kishoreganj District (then Mymensingh District) of the province of Bengal. He obtained degrees in history and law from the University of Dhaka and was an active student political leader in the Muslim League. Syed captained his college’s cricket and hockey teams and participated in the Pakistan movement. He entered the civil service of Pakistan in 1949 but resigned in 1951 to work as a professor of history at the Anandmohan College in Mymensingh, where he also practised law.
Syed Nazrul’s political career began when he joined the Awami Muslim League and participated in the Language Movement in 1952, for which he was arrested by Pakistani police. He would rise to various provincial and central party leadership positions, becoming a close confidante of the party’s leader Sheikh Mujib. He was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1970, where he served briefly as deputy leader of the majority. Following the arrest of Mujib on March 25, 1971 by Pakistani forces, Syed escaped to Mujibnagar with other party leaders and proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh. Mujib was elected president of Bangladesh but Syed would serve as acting president, with Tajuddin Ahmed as prime minister. Syed played a key role in leading the nationalist cause, coordinating the Mukti Bahini guerrilla force and winning support from India and other nations. After the independence of Bangladesh, Syed was appointed minister of industries, the deputy leader in parliament and a member of the constitution committee. When Mujib banned other political parties and assumed sweeping powers as president in 1975, Syed was appointed vice president and became a chief organiser of the BAKSAL party and Mujib loyalist groups.
Following the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 August 1975 Syed fled underground with other Mujib loyalists such as Tajuddin Ahmed, A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman and Muhammad Mansur Ali, but was ultimately arrested by the regime of the new president Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad. The four leaders were imprisoned in the Dhaka Central Jail and assassinated on November 3 under controversial and mysterious circumstances. This day is commemorated every year in Bangladesh by the Awami League as Jail Killing Day.
Shahid Syed Najrul Islam collegewas founded in 1996. The college was named after Shahid Syed Najrul Islam, who was the temporary President in 1971 when Sheikh Mujibar Rahman had been captured by Pakistanis.The college is close to the old Bramhaputra river and Curcuit house.