An Ode to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

11. BlogHeader_EduDay





‘I am proud of being an Indian. I am part of the indivisible unity that is Indian nationality.’

Born on November 11, 1888, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the first Education Minister of India. He was a visionary personality who served to lay down the foundations of an education system in India which recognizes the many disparities of access, economics and background which exist in the country. He was of the firm belief that any and every individual deserves quality education, a belief we share and actively endorse. Education opens possibilities – the kind which everyone is entitled to.

Spend some quick moments with us today to learn more about this visionary leader –

  1. His full name was Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin, but in the annuls of history, he is fondly remembered as Maulana Azad. While Azad doesn’t feature in his real name, it was adopted as a nom de plume, or a pen name by him. The word ‘Azad’ means free – an apt sobriquet for a person devoted to the cause of Indian independence.
  2. Interestingly, some say that his birth name was Feroz Bakht.
  3. Azad was a writer. He wrote fine Urdu poetry and also authored articles on several topics, most notably on religion, society and philosophy. His journalistic voice was strong as well. He was recognized for his articles criticising the British reign and fervently supporting the cause of Indian independence.
  4. His parents hoped that he would grow up to become a clergyman, and hence, he was rigorously trained in Islamic theology. In his later life, he also authored several prolific articles about religion.
  5. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress. He took over the reins of the Presidentship, when he was only 35 years old.
  6. In 1912, he started a weekly newspaper in Urdu language, called Al-Hilal. This newspaper published articles about British atrocities and the issues faced by the Indian populace, never shying away from openly criticizing the British Raj. The Raj, on its part, of course, banned the newspaper in 1914.
  7. He contributed significantly towards the establishment of Jamia Millia Islamia, the original campus of which was in Aligarh. He was again active when the university was shifting campus from Aligarh to Delhi.
  8. It was under his second term as a Congress President that the Quit India Movement was launched. He courted arrest during this anti-British movement, much like several other INC leaders.
  9. He died on 22nd February, 1948. He is buried close to the Jama Masjid, New Delhi.
  10. Azad was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously, in the year 1992.


The National Education Day is celebrated each year on the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad and helps keep the great man alive in our mind. More importantly, the day serves to keep the message of the man echoing in our hearts and minds, that of taking education to the furthest corners of the country, for that is only how India may progress.

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