Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Abul Kalam Azad

Azad was one of the most important arranger of the Dharasana Satyagraha in 1931, and appeared as one of the most significant national leaders of the time, notably leading the causes of Hindu-Muslim unity as well as supporting secularism and socialism. He served as Congress President from 1940 to 1945, during which the Quit India revolt was launched and Azad was locked up with the whole Congress leadership for three years. Azad became the most well-known Muslim adversary of the demand for a separate Muslim state of Pakistan and served in the acting national government.
Amidst public turmoil following the partition of India, he worked for religious agreement. As India's Education Minister, Azad overlooked the institution of a national education system with free primary education and modern institutions of higher education. He is also attributed with the establishment of the Indian Institutes of Technology and the foundation of the University Grants Commission, an essential institution to manage and advance the higher education in the nation.

Azad's family descended from a line of renowned scholars of Islam, coming from Herat and had settled in India during the reign of the Mughal emperor Babur. His mother was of Arab descent, and his father, Maulana Khairuddin was from Herat. The family lived in the Bengal region until Maulana Khairuddin left India during the Indian rebellion of 1857 and settled in Makkah, the holiest city in Islam, where he got married to an Arab woman, mother of Azad. Azad mastered several languages, including Urdu, Arabic, Hindko, Persian, and Hindi. He was also skilled in the subjects of Hanafi fiqh , shariat , mathematics, philosophy, world history and science by eminent tutors hired by his family. An eager and strong-minded student, the intelligent Azad was running a library, a reading room, a debating society before his teenage, he wanted to write on the life of Ghazali, was also adding learned articles to Makhzan at fourteen, was teaching a class of students, most of whom were twice his age, when he was merely fifteen and succeeded in completing the traditional course of study at the young age of sixteen, nine years ahead of his generation, and brought out a magazine at the same age.

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