NEW DELHI – Veteran Freedom Fighter and first Education Minister of India Maulana Abul Kalam Azad has been remembered across India on his 131st birth anniversary on November 11, as beacon of India’s educational growth and Hindu-Muslim unity.
Educational institutions like Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and MANUU (Maulana Azad Urdu National University), units of Indian National Congress and Maulana Azad Educational Foundation have celebrated his birth anniversary by paying homage to him and his seminal works and contributions.
JMI’s Arjun Singh Centre Distance Education held a program celebrating the Education Day which was addressed by the director of Asian Commonwealth Educational Media Centre Madhu Parhar. She said that the freedom struggle and educational works holds in high regards for us.
Maulana Azad Educational Foundation held a public meeting at Delhi’s Jama Masjid to remember Azad’s seminal contributions in the freedom struggle. They also held a candle march from Maulana Azad’s mausoleum to Jama Masjid for education, peace and unity in the country.
Federation for Educational Development held a national seminar on the Education Day in Delhi’s Dilshad Garden to remember Maulana Azad. In Aligarh, the Congress held a seminar to remember him and in Delhi, Congress Committee paid homage to the veteran freedom fighter.
In Hyderabad, glowing tributes were paid to Maulana Azad, the legendary Freedom icon and first education minister of independent India, on his birth anniversary at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU). The University is named after him. Indian government observes the day as National Education Day.
Eminent Historian, Prof. Rizwan Qaiser, Dept. of History and Culture, Jamia Millia Islamia described Maulana Azad as an idealogue of Hindu-Muslim Unity who opposed the partition of the country tooth & nail. Delivering the Azad Memorial lecture on the last day of Azad Day Celebrations at MANUU, Prof. Qaiser, compared the genius of Maulana Azad with Aristotle & Plato. Maulana Azad’s footprints on the political, literary and cultural canvas of India are indelible, he remarked. Presenting a vivid picture of Maulana Azad’s ideological and political evolution, the noted scholar declared that personality of his statute inspires generations.
Prof. Rizwan Qaiser’s lecture “Siasat, Taleem aur Saqafat : Maulana Abul Kalam Azad aur Hindustani Qaumiyat ky tameer” (Politics, Education and Culture: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and the Making of the Indian Nation) was well received by the audience with rapt attention. Speaking about Maulana Azad’s contribution as Education Minister, Prof. Qaiser, reminded that he established the network of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 1951.
Founded Sahitya Academy, Sangeet Natak Academy and Lalita Kala Academy to provide common platform to the diverse literary and cultural heritage of India. This in fact is a celebration of diversity, Prof. Qaiser quipped.
Maulana Azad also started Indian Council for Cultural Relations, specifically for Middle Eastern and Muslim countries to tell them about the presence of large number of Muslims in India. Prof. Ayub Khan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, described Maulana Azad as an epitome of humanity and sacrifice. Maulana Azad’s life and political leadership give us the lesson to assimilate with different shades of opinions, he said.
An audio visual tribute by Instructional Media Centre was also part of the programme.