Thursday, November 10, 2011

Maulana Abul Kalam
Muhiyuddin Ahmed
(11 November 1888
– 22 February 1958)
was a Muslim
scholar and a senior
political leader of
the Indian
movement. He was
one of the most
prominent Muslim
leaders to support
Hindu-Muslim unity,
opposing the
partition of India on
communal lines.
Following India's
independence, he
became the first
Minister of
Education in the
Indian government.
He is commonly
remembered as
Maulana Azad; he
had adopted Azad
(Free) as his pen
Maulana Abul Kalam
Azad was born in
the year 1888 in
Mecca. His
forefather's came
from Herat (a city in
Afghanistan) in
Babar's days. Azad
was a descendent
of a lineage of
learned Muslim
scholars, or
maulanas. His
father's name was
Maulana Khairuddin
and his mother was
the daughter of
Sheikh Mohammad
Zaher Watri.
In 1890, Azad's
father moved to
Calcutta. Educated
according to the
curriculum, Azad
learned Arabic and
Persian first and
then philosophy,
mathematics and
algebra. He was
taught at home,
first by his father,
later by appointed
teachers who were
eminent in their
respective fields.
Seeing that English
was fast becoming
the international
language, Azad
taught himself to
read, write and
speak the language.
He adopted the pen
name "Azad" to
signify his freedom
from traditional
Muslim ways.
Azad was
introduced to the
freedom struggle by
revolutionary Shri
Shyam Sunder
Chakravarthy. Most
revolutionaries in
Bengal were Hindus.
Azad greatly
surprised his fellow
revolutionaries with
his willingness to
join the freedom
struggle. At first his
peers were
skeptical of his
Azad found the
activities restricted
to Bengal and Bihar.
Within two years,
Azad helped setup
centers all over
north India and
were anti-Muslim
because they felt
that the British
Government was
using the Muslim
community against
India's freedom
struggle. Azad tried
to convince his
colleagues that
indifference and
hostility toward the
Muslims would only
make the path to
freedom more
Azad began
publication of a
journal called Al Hilal
(the Crescent) in
June 1912 to
recruits amongst
the Muslims. The Al
Hilal reached a
circulation of 26,000
in two years. The
British Government
used the Press Act
and then the
Defense of India
Regulations Act in
1916 to shut the
journal down.
Azad roused the
Muslim community
through the Khilafat
Movement. The aim
of the movement
was to re-instate
the Khalifa as the
head of British
captured Turkey.
Azad supported
Gandhiji's non-
movement and
joined the Indian
National Congress
(I.N.C) in January
1920. He presided
over the special
session of Congress
in September 1923
and is said to be at
the age of 35, the
youngest man
elected as the
President of the
Azad was arrested
in 1930 for violation
of the salt laws as
part of Gandhhiji's
Salt Satyagraha. He
was put in Meerut
jail for a year and a
Azad was the
opponent of
partition of India
into India and
Pakistan. He
supported a
confederation of
provinces with their
own constitutions
but common
defense and
economy, an
suggested in the
British Cabinet
Mission Plan of May
1946. According to
Azad partition was
against the grain of
the Indian culture
which did not
believe in "divorce
before marriage."
Partition shattered
his dream of an
unified nation
where the Hindu
and Muslim faiths
would learn to co-
exist in harmony.
Maulana Azad
served as the
Minister of
Education in Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru's
cabinet from 1947
to 1958. He died in
August 1958. Azad
was honored with
the Bharat Ratna
posthumously in