Mohammad Ikramullah, K.C.M.G., H.Pk., father of Princess Sarvath

Mohammad Ikramullah was a senior ICS officer in the Government of India before partition and represented that country in many international fora, most particularly as Advisor to the preparatory commissions of the United Nations in London and San Francisco, and at its first general assembly, between 1945 and 1946.

Whilst a member of the provisional government of Pakistan, he was Secretary and Advisor at the Ministries of Commerce, Information and Broadcasting, Commonwealth Relations and Foreign Affairs. Appointed the first Foreign Secretary of the Government of Pakistan in 1947, he went on to serve as Ambassador to Canada, Portugal, France and Britain. He was instrumental in setting up the Commonwealth Economic Committee and had been nominated as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth at the time of his death. Princess Sarvath's paternal uncle, Mohammad Hidayatullah was Chief Justice, Vice-President of India and at one time Acting President. Other members of her immediate family have served their countries in Ambassadorial and Ministerial capacities, and many of them are distinguished academics and writers.

Her Royal Highness Princess Sarvath's paternal family are from Bhopal in Central India. Her grandfather, Khan Bahadur Hafiz Mohammed Wilayatullah's family served for several generations at the Court of Bhopal, one of the largest Muslim Princely States.

The family is reputed to have come originally from the Hijaz and are regarded as both Quraishi and Chishti. There are documents held in the State Archives of India which trace the family's presence in India back to the time of the Emperor Auranzeb, and it is assumed that some earlier branches of the family came to India with the first Muslim conquerors. Many of the Princess' paternal ancestors male and female were writers and poets including many writers, poets, educators and politicians who were deeply involved in India's struggle for independence

 

Begum Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, mother of Princess Sarvath

Begum Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, was the only daughter of Sir Hassan Suhrawardy, and mother of Princess Sarvath, and was Pakistan's first woman member of Parliament. She served as Ambassador to Morocco and was several times a delegate Leader of the Pakistan Delegation to the United Nations. Begum Ikramullah took an active part in the drafting of the Declaration of Human Rights and the Conventions Against Genocide in 1948.

Begum Ikramullah, who was one of the very first Asian women to gain her Ph.D. from London University in the late 1930's, has many publications and books to her name.

Begum Ikramullah's paternal ancestors, the Suhrawardys, take their name from Suhraward in Persia and Azerbaijan. The family is directly descended from the Sufi mystic and saint Shaikh Shahabuddin Suhrawardy, who lived in Baghdad in the 12th Century. Shaikh Shahabuddin was the author of what came to be regarded as the standard work on mysticism 'Awriful-Maariffi'. He was a disciple and successor of Shaikh Abdel Kadir Gilani, and the mosques and shrines over their tombs still survive in Baghdad and are places of pilgrimage to this day.

Other members of the family included Shaikh Shabuddin Yahya Suhrawardy, who came to be known as 'Shaikh al Makhtuli' and was born in Persia, but lived, was executed and buried in Aleppo. Many of the Suhrawardys were scholars and reformers. Her Royal Highness' great grandfather Shaikh Obaidullah al Obaidi Suhrawardy was known as the 'Bahr-ul-Uloom', or the sea of knowledge. He was not only a highly respected scholar of Arabic and Persian, but unusually for that time, believed that English was the key to a modern education and in the education of women. He was also one of the founders of the Dacca Maddrassah, which was one of the very first trilingual schools with an international curriculum in the sub-continent. Shaheed Suhrawardy was one of the founders of Pakistan and held the posts of Finance Minister, Justice Minister and Prime Minister of Pakistan. Begum Ikramullah's maternal ancestors were Persian aristocrats from Shiraz who came to India in the 17th century. Again, Princess Sarvath's maternal ancestors included many writers, poets, educators and politicians who were deeply involved in India's struggle for independence.