Remembering Maulana Azad On His Death Anniversary: A Champion Of Indian Independence And Education

Remembering Maulana Azad On His Death Anniversary: A Champion Of Indian Independence And Education

He was the first education minister of independent India, and passed away 66 years ago on February 22.

Siksha MUpdated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 03:19 PM IST
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He was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 11, 1888, under the name Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin | Representational photo

Islamic theologian Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on November 11, 1888, and passed away in New Delhi, India, on February 22, 1958. He was the first education minister of independent India, and passed away 66 years ago on February 22. Known by most as Maulana Azad, he was also one of the most well-known independence fighters in India, he battled against British authority and Pakistan's establishment because he supported the idea of a secular, undivided India.

During the first part of the 20th century, Azad was a leading figure in the Indian independence movement against British rule. Throughout his life, he was held in the highest regard as a man of impeccable moral character.

Early Life

Muhammad Khairuddin, Azad's father, was a mystic and philosopher. He had many students in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Calcutta, and authored a great deal of books in Arabic and Persian. Azad, the son of a religious leader, was taught in the conventional way from an early age, directly under his father's guidance. He studied philosophy, mathematics, and algebra after becoming fluent in Arabic and Persian. By the time he was sixteen, he had finished the full course of study. He soon gained notoriety as a scholar in Arabic, Persian, and Islamic theology before turning to teaching philosophy, mathematics, and logic.

Azad had inherited from his father the temperament of a scholar, but his desire for knowledge and his drive for action did not allowed him to pursue the tranquil life of a teacher and religious leader.

The origin of 'Maulana'

While traveling around West Asia at the age of 20, he met Turkish and Arab revolutionaries who were fighting for their countries' independence. These individuals inspired Abul Kalam, who entered politics after returning to India and founded the Urdu weekly Al Hilal in Calcutta in 1912 to spread his beliefs. On June 1, 1912, Al Hilal's inaugural issue was released. Although Abul Kalam was only 24 at the time, Muslim theologians had already acknowledged him as a "Maulana."

He served as Congress president till 1946. No elections were held during this time since nearly all Congress leaders were incarcerated as a result of the Quit India Movement (1942). Following their release, Congress President Maulana Azad headed the negotiations with the British Cabinet Mission in 1946.

India's first education minister

Following India's independence, he was named Education Minister, a role he held until his death on February 22, 1958. He played a wonderful role as India's first minister of education. In addition to founding numerous scientific and technological institutes, he also established the three "akademis" that are dedicated to the arts, literature, and music, as well as the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. Thus, he made a significant contribution to Jawaharlal Nehru's goal of creating a modern, liberal India.

Prior to turning 70, Maulana Azad passed away on February 22, 1958. A week prior to his passing, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru paid a visit to the sick Maulana, who murmured, "Khuda Hafiz," looking into his eyes.

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