The towering personality of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first
Education Minister of Independent India, was laced with head and
heart qualities of a thinker, philosopher, writer, educationist,
preacher, freedom fighter, patriot, visionary etc.
If these invaluable traits ingrained in a person, who led India’s
freedom struggle from the forefront along with Mahatma Gandhi,
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel etc., are imbibed
and replicated in this era by the young generation on whose
shoulders would lie the reins of the country then the problems
afflicting countrymen could be solved to a great extent.
Maulana Azad passed away 52 years ago leaving behind an indelible
impression of his vision and clarity of thoughts on the minds and
hearts of the people in his era which if revived today can do
wonders for the crisis-stricken society and help in building an
exemplary Indian nation.
The above thoughts were expressed by Prof. Haider Abbas Rizvi,
ex-Head of the Urdu Department in local Saifia College, on Monday in
his presidential address in a seminar organized on “Relevance of
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s Thoughts & Contributions in Modern Times”.
The seminar was organized under the aegis of College of Teacher
Education, Bhopal which is affiliated to the Maulana Azad National
Urdu University, (MANUU), Hyderabad. Dr. Mohammad Saheel Khan, the
organizing secretary, in collaboration with other members of the
teaching and non-teaching staff of the college put in untiring
efforts to make the seminar a great success.
The first session of the seminar was presided over by Prof. Rizvi
while the second session was presided over by another Urdu
litterateur Mr. Naseem Ansari of MHK Institute, Bhopal. Mr. O. F.
Khattani, president of Madhya Pradesh State Officers Association,
delivered the inaugural address. An exhibition on life and works of
Maulana Azad with some rare photographs and sketches of his portrait
were put up by the students of the B. Ed. college on the occasion.
Prof. Rizvi, while lauding the seminar as the need of the hour,
appreciated the papers presented in the seminar. He hoped that the
B. Ed students of the college present on the occasion would make
Maulana Azad as their ideal and emulate him in their practical life.
Earlier, the Principal of the college Prof. Mahmood Siddiqui while
welcoming the guests threw light on the objectives of the seminar.
At the outset Hafiz Masroor Khan recited verses from the Holy Qur’an.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Dr. Mohammad Suhail Khan. The
proceedings of the seminar was conducted by Dr. Sajid Jamal with
Those who presented papers in the seminar included: “Tahreek Azadi
Mein Maulana Azad Ka Kirdar” by Mr. Khalid Abidi; “Maulana Abul
Kalam Azad’s Role in the Reform of Education” by Prof. J. S. Grewal;
“Maulana Azad Ka Sciency Mizaj” by Dr. Mohammad Ahsan; “Maulana Azad
Ki Adabi Khidmat” by Ms Nusrat Mehdi; “Maulana Azad Ki Shaksiyat Ke
Roshan Pahlu” by Prof. Tahira Abbasi; “Maulana Azad Bataur Sahafi”
by Arif Aziz; “Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and National Education
System” by Ms Sheeba Hasan and “Taleemi Daere: Maulana Azad Ka
Tasavvur-e-Ilm” by Dr. Talmeez Fatima Naqvi.
Mr. Naseem Ansari speaking on the occasion lauded Maulana Azad’s
intellect and visionary thinking and said the great freedom fighter
was dead against the bifurcation of India to form Pakistan. To avert
the division of the country the Maulana tried his level best but
when on one hand Muslim League was hell bent for the partition while
on the other a large group in the Congress party was also in its
favour. On the basis of religion countries do not come into
existence as Pakistan which was formed in the name of Islam could
not hold together and later split into two in the name of language.
Thus, religion could not stop the birth of Bangladesh. This is all
history now, he remarked.
Mr. Ansari opined that the formation of Pakistan could not come up
to the expectations of the Indian Muslims as those who migrated from
India are still called “Mohajirs” (refugees) and continue to face
many problems there. He hailed the organizers for holding such a
valuable seminar to understand the multi-facet personality of
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
Prof. J. S. Grewal in his paper entitled “Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s
Role in the Reform of Education” said 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 post-independence years. As the Minister
for Education he insisted that both the Union and the States must
share responsibility in promotion of education. He appointed the
University Education Commission, (UEC), in 1948 and Secondary
Education Commission, (SEC), in 1952. Between 1947 and 1958, on his
initiative the budgetary allocation for Education was raised fifteen
fold, he pointed out.
Prof. Grewal said Maulana Azad gave expression to his educational
philosophy and interpretation of the issues of late 1940s and 1950s
through his address delivered to the Central Advisory Board of
Education, (CABE), where reports of University and Secondary
Education Commissions were discussed. The results of these
Commissions resulted in the establishment of University Grants
Commission, (UGC), and All India Council for Secondary Education.
He said that Maulana Azad at a meeting of CABE held in February 1954
had pointed out that Secondary Education cannot serve the need of
the country till it is recognized. Basic Education had been accepted
as a pattern of elementary education with Craft-Centered Approach.
The SEC had suggested 5+3+4 pattern of education. The
recommendations were placed before a committee which was set up by
the CABE to process this report.
Prof. Grewal said that Maulana Azad brought about reform in higher
education through the UGC which he established in December 1953. The
UGC was perceived to be an agency through which all the reforms
could be carried out. He appointed a Committee of Vice Chancellors
to process the recommendation of University Education Commission.
The four major reforms put forward by the committee included: (a) An
improvement in the pay scales of University teachers; (b) The
provision of Government loans to the students; (c) Greater emphasis
on tutorials as opposed to lecture method of instruction and (d) The
provision of merit scholarship to students.
Maulana Azad also felt that unless the school students, who feed the
Universities with students have good background, University
education will remain unsatisfactory. He did not approve “over
religiosity” of the people and also extreme “fanaticism” which
characterized thinking of many people in those days, he added.
Dr. Mohammad Ahsan, Regional Director of MANUU, Bhopal Centre, while
presenting his paper titled “Maulana Azad Ka Siency Mizaj” said that
when Maulana Azad on the insistence of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit
Nehru took over the responsibilities of the Union Education Ministry
the countrymen were taken by surprise as this freedom fighter,
cleric, linguistic, litterateur and journalist also has the
Dr. Ahsan opined that to lace this Education Ministry with modern
technological demands and bring India at par with the developed
countries of the world a brain with such far-foresighted vision was
needed. Thus, education is the department which is responsible to
build a strong nation and goes a long way to brighten up the future
of the people of any country.
He said that immediately after taking over the charge of the Union
Education Ministry he paid special attention on technical education
and included basic education along with science education into
National Education System of the country.
He pointed out that many projects were taken up during his tenure as
Union Education Minister from 1947-58 such as opening of National
laboratories, National Archives, national libraries and Department
of Archaeology etc. He assisted Pandit Nehru in setting up the
Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and many
a chain of Science Laboratories in India.