Freedom fighter and India’s very first education minister Maulana Azad was born as Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed Azad was on this day (November 11) a total of 128 years ago and his birth anniversary is celebrated as the National Education Day in India. Apart from being the education minister, Azad was also a scholar, poet, journalist and enigmatic educator before his death on February 22, 1958 at the age of 70 years.
Here are some interesting facts about the man who became famous as Maulana Azad:
- Born as Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin on November 11, 1888 eventually became known as Maulana Azad
- He adopted Azad (Free) as his pen name
- Azad began composing poetry in Urdu language at a very young age and also wrote treatises on religion and philosophy
- He rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, publishing works critical of the British Raj and espousing the causes of Indian nationalism
- Azad became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress at the age of 35, in 1923
- Azad became the leader of the ‘Khilafat Movement’ (1919-26), during which, he came into close contact with the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi
- During this period, Azad became an enthusiastic supporter of Gandhi’s ideas of non-violent civil disobedience and worked to organise the non-cooperation movement in protest of the 1919 Rowlatt Acts
- Azad became the most prominent Muslim leader to oppose the creation of Pakistan
- He became the first Minister of Education in independent India
- His birth anniversary is celebrated as the National Education Day in India
In 1992, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna.