November 11 marks the 113th birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Islamic theologian, writer, and senior leader of the Indian National Congress. This day celebrates National Education Day as well in the revolutionary man’s honour.
Key Facts to Know About Azad
Maulana Azad was one of the most prominent, influential independence activists during India’s freedom fight against imperial rule.
A highly respected scholar, Maulana Azad was the first education minister of independent India (15 August, 1947-2 February 1958).
It was on September 11, 2008 the Ministry of Human Resource Development came up with this noble idea to celebrate November 11 as the National Education Day in honour of this legendary man, every year.
Maulana executed the role as a key educationist at time-independent India’s education system was being shaped.
He was instrumental in encouraging research in eastern learning and literature. The activist had established three academies to develop the fine arts.
His noteworthy contributions included the foundation of:
— University Grants commission
— All India Council for Technical education
— IIT Kharagpur
— The University Education Cmmission
— The Secondary Education Commission
— Jamia Millia Islamia
It was Maulana who propelled the compilation of technical terms in Hindi on a huge scale.
A remarkable man, Maulana was homeschooled and self-taught. By the age of 15, he was teaching a class of students who were twice his age. He knew many languages including Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Bengali.
Besides receiving a traditional Islamic education from his Islamic scholar father, he learned English in secretly.
His full name was Sayyid Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al-Hussaini Azad.
Maulana is an honorific meaning ‘Our Master’. Azad (meant ‘free’) was his pen name. He used to compose poetry in Urdu from a very young age. He also wrote treatises on religion and philosophy. Maulana had also worked as a journalist (1912- published weekly Urdu-language newspaper in Calcutta, Al-Hilal) and left a rich body of work (India wins Freedom, Ghulabe Khatir, Ghubar-e-Khatir, Tazkirah, Tarjumanul Quran).
In the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana was truly ‘Mir-i- Karawan’ (the caravan leader), “a very brave and gallant gentleman, a finished product of the culture”.
Owing to his significant contribution in the field of education, the legendary man is fondly remembered till today.