Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Here we listed out important facts about India’s First Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, with his Biography, Profile, Facts, Timeline, Awards, Achievement, etc.,

Born: 11 November 1888
Birth Place: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Nationality: India
Died: 22 February 1958, Delhi
Spouse: Zuleikha Begum (m.–1943)
Books: India Wins Freedom, Sallies of mind, al-Fatiha, more
Awards: Bharat Ratna
Parents: Alia, Muhammad Khairuddin

  • Mohiuddin Ahmed, better known as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Great Soldier of India, came from a family of religious divines of Delhi and was born in Mecca in 1888 of an Indian father and an Arab mother.
  • The family later migrated to India.  At that time, the Indian struggle for freedom was going on in earnest.
  • Maulana Azad was a great orator, poet, writer, journalist and a great philosopher.  He was also a great religious scholar of his time and a revolutionary.
  • As a child, he did not enjoy playing with other children and even his father insisted that Maulana should devote himself to religious readings. This resulted in his being engrossed in reading and writing most of the time.
  • He was a child with an incredibly strong memory and a strong desire to learn reading, writing and to speak different languages.
  • He learned Arabic, Persian, Urudu, Mathematics and Unani Medicine and also studied religious subjects.  He spent all his pocket money on purchasing books.
  • Initially he disliked the English language of the rulers, the British.  But in no time he learned this language as well.
  • He started giving lectures at a young age, took part in debates of different languages and taught a number of students.
  • When Maulana was around fifteen years old he started editing several magazines and subsequently brought out a magazine of his own.  Once he was invited to address a lecture at a National Conference of Urudu Scholars at Lahore in 1904.
  • People were astonished to see a lean, fair, young boy barely sixteen years of age and the participants wondered whether they had received the correct person.  However, his extempore speech for more than two hours held the audience spellbound.
  • Maulana wanted the Muslim Community to be educated and to come up in life and urged the Muslims to join the Hindu masses in the struggle against the tortures inflicted by the British.
  • In 1905 he got an opportunity to meet a  stalwart – Aurobindo Ghosh, Around 1910 he joined the army of great ‘Indian Soldiers’, who were leading the nation towards freedom.
  • Maulana Azad started voicing his political ideas through his own weekly paper “Al-Hilal” which first appeared in 1912.  This paper soon became popular amongst the large Urudu knowing masses in India and abroad.
  • From the very day of its inception, “Al-Hilal” waged an unrelenting war against the policy of the foreign rulers to divide the Hindus and Muslims.
  • The popularity of “Al-Hilal” spread like wild fire and shook the British Government to such an extent, that they banned publication of the paper and confiscated its security amounts.  This did not deter the Maulana and he started the “Al-Balagh” in 1915.
  • The political activities continued unabated and in 1916 Maulana Azad was turned out of Bengal and was imprisoned in the Bihar Jail at Ranchi for more than four years.
  • Gandhiji had already heard about Maulana Azad, who was propagating in his own way to fight the British, Gandhiji was thus keen to meet him, but the British Government did not permit him to meet Azad at the Ranchi Jail.
  • When in January 1920, Maulana Azad was released from jail, Maulana met Gandhiji at the residence of another great leader Hakim Ajmal Khan in Delhi.
  • Gandhiji was very impressed with Maulana Azad.  They discussed the freedom struggle and Maulana met his leader on an equal level.
  • The period between 1920 and 1947 was one of  strenuous struggle against the British Imperialism.  The Maulana remained in the forefront of the national struggle and was imprisoned on several occasions for long periods.
  • In 1923 he was elected President of the Indian National Congress at the young age of 35.  In his first presidential address in Urudu, he emphasized the utmost need for Hindu-Muslim unity.
  • The entire crowd was thrilled and overwhelmed by his fluent, emphatic and authoritative speech. Just as some people ridiculed him many a time but he never compromised on his principles.
  • On the night of August 8, 1942, at the historic meeting of the AICC (All India Congress Committeee) presided over by Maulana Azad, the “Quit India” call was given to the British Government.
  • The very next day most of the great leaders were arrested and sent by train to different jails, Gandhiji and Sarojini Naidu were sent to Poona Jail, whilst Maulana Azad and others were sent to the historic fort at Ahmednagar.
  • He was imprisoned for a total period of 10 years and 5 months till the end of July 1945.
  • In his struggle for freedom, Maulana accepted all responsibilities and challenges given to him by the Congress.  He guided the committee’s activities very efficiently during the crucial period from 1940 to 1946.
  • As the Congress Committee President and also as a renowned leader, Maulana Azad guided the Nation in difficult times.  All the leaders desired that he should continue as the Congress President, but he insisted that Panditji should now shoulder the responsibilities.
  • This time an interim Government was formed.  Maulana Azad and Panditji had to attend the Simla Conference on India’s Independence.
  • Due to long years of confinement in jails, Maulana Azad’s health had started deteriorating and he was very weak, yet he did not hesitate to participate in any conferences, meetings and delegations and accompanied Jawaharlal Nehru to the historic Simla Conference.
  • His moto was “Nation before self”.  Seeing Maulana’s condition, the Viceroy, Lord Wavell placed him in the Vice-Regal Estate.  Though India attained its freedom on August 15, 1947 all the great leaders received it with a heavy heart due to the partition of the country.
  • Their dream of a United India had not come true.  Despite his ill health,  Maulana Azad was inducted into the Cabinet as India’s first Minister for Education, Culture and Fine Arts, which he wanted to spread, to create a new bent of mind among the Indians.
  • Maulana Azad had a big hand in opening many schools and colleges.  He also opened an Academy and Indian Council for Cultural Relations for an all round development of the students in various fields.
  • He was a great supporter, close friend and many times advisor to Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • As a scholar, Maulana Azad produced monumental works.  Two of his work, ‘Ghubari-Khatir’ and ‘Tadhkirah’ are masterpieces of the Urdu language.  His commentary on the Holy Quran is unsurpassed in the Muslim literature.
  • This great leader, who was undoubtedly a true national politician, a revolutionary, a scholar, an orator and a writer, left this world on 22nd February 1958.
  • Maulana Azad remained a man of highly religious nature and true secular Indian culture.
  • In view of his outstanding contribution to our freedom struggle and nation building, this great leader was conferred the prestigious “Bharat Ratna” award posthumously in 1992.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

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