City celebrates Maulana Azad birthday today
Born in Mecca and brought up in Calcutta, he edited and launched several pathbreaking publications in Urdu, led the Indian National Congress at 35, spent a total of ten and a half years in various jails, became India’s first education minister and was buried near Delhi’s Jama Masjid.
Freedom fighter, orator, essayist, Islamic scholar and politician Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958) whose birthday on November 11 is celebrated as National Education Day wore several hats. But his contribution as publisher-editor of Urdu weekly Al-Hilal, launched in 1912 with the basic concept to “ädopt the virtues that exist and disown the evil that abounds,” is singular. It helped Muslims reorder their priorities. If, due to the British’s divide and rule policy, some Muslims saw Hindus as their adversaries, Al Hilal blew it off, persuading Muslims to plunge in the freedom struggle wholeheartedly.
Now an unlikely protector of yellowing 50 copies of AlHilal is Maulana Mirza Abdul Qayyum Nadvi, an Aurangabad-based bookseller and spokesperson of All India Muslim OBC Organisation.
“No history of our freedom struggle is complete without the mention of Al-Hila’s role. The paper didn’t last long but revolutionised Urdu journalism,” says Nadvi who bought the volumes from a bookshop in old Delhi.
Maulana Azad has suffered neglect and is victim of general amnesia. The tallest Muslim leader who never accepted the partition plan and died heartbroken due to India’s vivisection is fading from the country’s consciousness.
However, as part of celebrations of National Education Day to commemorate Azad’s birthday, Maulana Azad Minorities Financial Development Corporation’s chairman Haji Hyder Azam has planned distribution of sanction letter of educational scholarshipS by CM Devendra Fadnavis and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, on Sunday. “Apart from distributing sanction letters for loan of over Rs 41 lakh among 20 students of Thane district students and women beneficiaries of micro finance who have repaid the loans will also be felicitated,” says Azam.
SP’s corporator Rais Shaikh has petitioned BMC to rename Maulana Azad Road in Central Mumbai as Bharat Ratna Maulana Azad Road.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad with Jawaharlal Nehru