Sayed Nazrul 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’s political career began when he joined the Awami Muslin League and participated in the Language Movement in 1952, for which he was arrested by the 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 organizer of the BAKSAL party and Mujib loyalist groups.