The renowned writer, journalist and an active politician, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an epitome of communal harmony in modern India. Born as Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin on 11 November, 1888 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Azad had his initial formal education in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Later, he opted for philosophy, geometry, mathematics and algebra. He also learnt English language, world history, and politics. He was married to Zuleikha Begum at the age of 13. He gave up his clergyman profession to serve the nation and joined the freedom struggle. He died on 22 February 1958, in Delhi.
Here Are 10 Interesting Facts About Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
- He started the Urdu weekly newspaper, Al-Hilal, in1912 to condemn the British policies and wrote articles on Indian nationalism. Two years later, when Al Hilal was banned due to establishment of Press Act, Azad started a new journal, Al Balagh, for nationalist causes and communal unity.
- Finally, the Al Balagh was also banned under the Defence of India Regulations Act. He was imprisoned in Ranchi till 1 January 1920.
- Later, Abul Kalam Azad was elected as the president of the All India Khilafat Committee. He also founded the Jamia Millia Islamia institution in Delhi along with other Khilafat leaders.
- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad became the youngest man to hold the President’s post of the Indian National Congress in 1923.
- He also served as Independent India’s first Minister of Education from 1947 to 1958. During his tenure, he stressed on providing free and compulsory education for all under 14, adult illiteracy, advancement of secondary education and importance of educating the poor and the women folks.
- Mahatma Gandhi inspired Abul Kalam Azad who became an active supporter of the non-violence, salt movement and non-cooperation movement.
- He opposed the partition of Bengal, rejected All India Muslim League’s plea for communal separatism and opposed India’s partition post- independence. Throughout his life, Azad advocated and worked for religious harmony.
- He has been named Maulana Abul Kalam Azad as ‘Maulana’ is the honorific title meaning ‘learned man’ and ‘Azad’ was the pen name which he adopted.
- Abul Kalam Azad was posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna in 1992.His autobiography, India Wins Freedom, was also published posthumously in 1959.
- The Maulana Azad Education Foundation in 1989 was set up on his birth anniversary to promote education amongst the socially backward class. His birthday is celebrated every year as National Education Day in India.