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1958)] Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was born in the year 1888 in Mecca. His forefather's came from Herat (a city in Afghanistan) in Babar's days. Azad was a descendent of a lineage of learned Muslim scholars, or maulanas. His father's name was Maulana Khairuddin and his mother was the daughter of Shei kh Mohammad Zaher Watri. In 1890, Azad's father moved to Calcutta. Educated according to the traditional curriculum, Azad learned Arabic and Persian first and then philosophy, geometry, mathematics and algebra. He was taught at home, first by his father, later by appointed teachers who were eminent in their respective fields. Seeing that English was fast becoming the international language, Azad taught hi mself to read, write and speak the language. He adopted the pen name "Azad" to signify his freedom from traditional Muslim wa ys. Revolutionary Shri Shyam Sunder Chakravarthy introduced Azad to the freedom stru ggle. Most revolutionaries in Bengal were Hindus. Azad greatly surprised his fellow Hindu revolutionaries with his willingness to join the freedom struggle. At first his peers were skeptical of his intentions. Azad found the revolutionary activities restricted to Bengal and Bihar. Within two years, Azad helped setup secret revolutionary centers all over north India and Bombay. Most revolutionaries were anti-Muslim because they felt that the British Governm ent was using the Muslim community against India's freedom struggle. Azad tried to convince his colleagues that indifference and hostility toward the Muslims would only make the path to freedom more difficult. Azad began publication of a journal called Al Hilal (the Crescent) in June 1912 to increase revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims. The Al Hilal reached a circulation of 26,000 in two years. The British Government used the Press Act and then the Defense of India Regulati ons Act in 1916 to shut the journal down. Azad roused the Muslim community through the Khilafat Movement. The aim of the m ovement was to re-instate the Khalifa as the head of British captured Turkey. Azad supported Gandhiji's non-cooperation movement and joined the Indian Nationa l Congress (I.N.C) in January 1920. He presided over the special session of Congress in September 1923 and is said t o be at the age of 35, the youngest man elected as the President of the Congress. Azad was arrested in 1930 for violation of the salt laws as part of Gandhhiji's Salt Satyagraha. He was put in Meerut jail for a year and a half. Azad was the staunchest opponent of partition of India into India and Pakistan. He supported a confederation of autonomous provinces with their own constitution s but common defense and economy, an arrangement suggested in the British Cabinet Mission Plan of May 1946. According to Azad partition was against the grain of the Indian culture which di d not believe in "divorce before marriage. " Partition shattered his dream of an unified nation where the Hindu and Muslim

faiths would learn to co-exist in harmony. Maulana Azad served as the Minister of Education in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's ca binet from 1947 to 1958. He died in August 1958. Azad was honored with the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992. Compiler: Gambhirwala, Siddharth He was a Muslim theologian, scholar and author of this 20th century in India, wh o also held high political and ministerial posts in the republic of India. In his well-known Urdu commentary of the Quran, put forth his views. IN THEIR OWN WORDS I am a Muslim and profoundly conscious of the fact that I have inherited Islam's glorious tradition of the last fourteen hundred years. I am not prepared to lose even a small part of that legacy. The history and teac hings of Islam, its arts and letters, its culture and civilization are part of my wealth and it is my duty to cherish and guard them.... But, with all these feelings, I have another equally deep realization, born out of my life's experience which is strengthened and not hindered by the Islamic spirit. I am equally proud of the fact that I am an Indian, an essential part of the ind ivisible unity of the Indian nationhood, a vital factor in its total makeup, without which this noble edifice will remain incomplete." "If the whole world is our country and is to be honored, the dust of India has t he first place......If all mankind are our brothers, then the Indians have the first place." "Not only is our national freedom impossible without Hindu-Muslim unity, we also cannot create, without it, the primary principles of humanity. If an angel were to tell me: 'Discard Hindu-Muslim unity and within 24 hours I w ill give freedom to India'; I would prefer Hindu-Muslim unity. For the delay in the attainment of freedom will be a loss to India alone, but if the Hindu-Muslim unity disappears, that will be a loss to the whole humanity." "Tagore's conception of God rises above all narrow limitations of race, religion or creed. The term Adavita translated into Arabic would read 'Wahdahu-la-Shareek,' the one who has no second...." "It was India's historic destiny that many human races, cultures and religions s hould flow to her, and that many a caravan should find rest here.... One of the last of these carav ans was that of the followers of Islam. This came here and settled for good.... In India everything bears the stamp of t he joint endeavor of the Hindus and Muslims. Our languages were different, but we grew to use a common language. Our manners and customs were dissimilar, but they produced a new synthesis. No fantasy or artificial scheming to separate and divide us can break this unity ." "As an Indian I hate the notion of slicing India into two. As a Muslim, I am not prepared for a moment to give up my right to treat the whole of India a s my domain or to content myself with a mere fragment of it."

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