TRIBUTE TO MAULANA AZAD

Like every year the nation celebrated the nation cele- brated ‘National Education Day’ on Nov 11 as a tribute to Independent India’s first Education Minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on his birth anniversary. It is per- tinent to mention here that Born on November 11, 1888, the scholar served as the first education minister of independent India from 1947 to 1958 and laid the foundation for an edu- cated India. It was only on September 11, 2008, that the Ministry of Human Resource Development decided to cele- brate November 11 as ‘National Education Day’ in view of Azad’s enormous contribution to the cause of education in India. Though Maulana Azad did not receive any formal schooling, yet he was well versed in multiple subjects like Urdu, Persian, Arabic, and Hindi besides being a scholar of mathematics, philosophy, world history, and last but not the least science. He believed that education plays a fundamen- tal role in the development of the nation and moving ahead with this strong conviction as an education minister he gave impetus to adult education at a time when the country was faced with serious issue of illiteracy that could have led to complexity of problems in every sector. It would not be wrong to state that it was Azad’s tremendous love and fas- cination for learning due to which he championed and vocif- erously advocated the cause of education in India. Ultimately he became a strong advocate of universal pri- mary education, girls’ education, free and compulsory edu- cation for all children up to the age of 14, vocational training and technical education. Azad also deserves full credit for establishing some of the prominent educational and cultural institutions of the nation including the Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Even the first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Architecture and the University Grants Commission were established under his tenure. It is fully acknowledged that he was not only an educationist par excellence, but also a freedom fighter very well known for his politically and religiously radical beliefs. It was by dint of his ace abilities and hard work right from his childhood that he became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress at the age of 35 in 1923 with the Quit India rebellion launched under his leadership. In pre independence era he started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal to criticize the British Raj. Azad’s vision can be well gauged from the fact that he was the most prominent Muslim leader to oppose the creation of Pakistan and advised Muslims not to go into Pakistan after division of the subcontinent. He was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his huge contribution both as an educationist as well as a free- dom fighter. While the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Maulana Azad’s his 134th birth anniversary paid rich tributes to him stating that Azad continues to be widely admired for his scholarly nature and intellectual prowess, he also remained at the forefront of our freedom movement, work- ing closely with other leading lights. The PM also asserted that Maulana Azad was highly passionate about education, it is time for the youth across the nation to emulate the great educationists strong determination and passion for educa- tion in their life as education plays a fundamental role in development and prosperity of the nation and its people. This would be a befitting tribute to independent India’s first Education Minister on his 134th birth anniversary.