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Audio:Maulana Azad's historic
address to the Indian Muslims from Jama Masjid after the
Maulana Azad's efforts in shaping the Education policy in
Maulana Azad was a great educationist too. His standing as an
outstanding scholar of Oriental learning was demonstrated in
moulding the educational system of the country in the immediate
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significant that all these moves and various political
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National Movement and Azad's meeting with him had crucial
bearing on the future course of the...Click
MAULANA ABUL KALAM AZAD was born on
November 11 in 1888 at Makkah. He was named as Firoz Bakht at birth but was known in his
youth as Muhiyuddin Ahmad. He later adopted the pseudonym of ‘Abul
Kalam Azad’. He was descended from a family which came from Herat to
India in Babar’s time. They first settled in Agra and later moved to
Delhi. It was a scholarly family and Maulana Munawaruddin, his
father’s maternal grandfather, was one of the last Rukn-ul
Mudarassin of the Mughul period. Since his grandfather died when his
father, Maulana Khairuddin was still very young, he was brought up
by Maulana Munawaruddin. Maulana Azad's father had migrated to Makkah with Maulana Munawaruddin and settled there. He built a house for himself and
married Sheikh Mohammad Zaher Watri’s daughter. Sheikh was a great
scholar of Madinah whose fame had traveled outside Arabia also.
Two years after Maulana Azad's birth his father
came to Calcutta with the whole family. He had intended to stay only
for a short time but his disciples and admirers did not let him go.
Since Maulana Azad’s father had no
faith in western education, he was educated at home by his father
and by private tutors. Students who followed the traditional system
of education normally finished their course at the age between
twenty and twenty-five, but Azad managed to complete the course by
the time he was just sixteen, and his father got together some
fifteen students to whom he taught higher philosophy, mathematics
and logic. Inspired by the writings of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, he
decided to learn English.
It was a period of mental crisis for
him as he himself described:
a period of great mental crisis for me. I was born into a family
which was deeply imbued with religious traditions. All the
conventions of traditional life were accepted without question and
the family did not like the least deviation from orthodox ways. I
could not reconcile myself with the prevailing customs and beliefs
and my heart was full of a new sense of revolt. The idea I ha
acquired from my family and early training could no longer satisfy
me. I felt I must find the truth for myself. Almost instinctively I
began to move out of my family orbit and seek my own path.”
(India Wins Freedom; page 3)
His political awakening was stimulated
by the partition (later annulled) of Bengal in 1905. He met the
great revolutionary, Shri Arabindo Ghosh with Shyam Sunder
Chaktaverty. The result was that he was attracted to revolutionary
politics and joined one of the groups. After joining the
revolutionaries, he found that their activities were confined to
Bengal and Bihar. He pointed this to his fellow revolutionaries and
within two years of the time that he joined, secret societies were
established in several of the important towns of Northern India and
Bombay. During this period, he had an occasion to travel to Iraq,
Egypt, Turkey and France and had planned to visit London but his
father’s illness obliged him to return home in 1908.
His devotion to
Indian National Movements was the result of the new religious
awakening. It was out of his deep understanding of the fundamentals
of Islamic thought that he was able to question Pakistan's religious
basis itself. Azad wrote in India Wins Freedom, “It is one of the
greatest frauds on the people to suggest that religious affinity can
unite areas which are geographically, economically, linguistically
and culturally different.” The birth of Bangladesh in 1971 perhaps
confirmed Azads' reasoning.
The Maulana started the Urdu weekly
Al-Hilal at Calcutta in July 1912. He opposed the Aligarh line of
remaining aloof from freedom movement. With the outbreak of war in
Europe in 1914, the journal was banned under the press act. He then
started another Urdu weekly Al Balagh, also from Calcutta, in
November 1915, and this continued to be Published, until March 1916
when Azad was externed under the Defense of India Regulations. The
governments of Bombay, Punjab, Delhi and the United Provinces banned
his entry, and he went to Bihar. He was interned in Ranchi until
unity of religions and oneness of God, he said, “The tragedy is that
the world worships words and not meanings and even though all are
seeking and worshipping but they quarrel with one another and differ
on mere names. Once the veil of names is lifted and the real meaning
being the same is brought out all quarrels would cease."
After his release Azad was elected
as President of the All India Khilafat Committee ( at the Calcutta
session, 1920), and of the Unity Conference at Delhi in 1924. He
presided over the Nationalist Muslims Conference in 1928. He was
elected as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1923, and again
in 1940, and continued to hold this office until 1946.
He led the negotiations on behalf of
the Congress Party with the British cabinet Mission in 1946.
He was opposed to the partition of the country on the basis of the
religion and believed the partition would create more problems than
solving them. Later he joined free India’s first government as
Minister for Education, a post he held until his death on 22
February 1958. As Education Minister, Maulana Azad extensively
worked for shaping Free India's Education policy and paved the way
for the educational revolution of the country.
Along with his political career where
he always led from the front, he left remarkable impact on Urdu
Literature. Among his other published works are
Al-Bayan (1915) and Tarjuman-ul– Qur’aan (1933-1936) which are
commentaries, Tazkirah (1916) an autobiographical work and
Ghubar-e-Khatir (1943), a collection of letters, all in Urdu.
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