Remembering Independent India’s first Education Minister & freedom fighter Maulana Azad on his death anniversary

Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad was a renowned name during India’s struggle for Independence. Or Indian National Movement. Azad was a proponent of Hindu Muslim unity, who strongly advocated communal harmony. Moreover Azad firmly believed in Gandhian principles. He openly endorsed usage of swadeshi for the cause of Swaraj also. He was a writer, poet, a journalist as well. But most importantly Maulana Azad was a freedom fighter, who struggled for India’s Independence. He played a vital role in Khilafat – Non cooperation movement. As a result, in 1923, Azad became the youngest all India President of Indian National Congress. A party which was leading India’s freedom struggle and Non cooperation movement. Under the guidance and leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. 

Dharasana Satyagraha

After the historic salt March from Sabarmati to Dandi. On 6th April 1930. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Lord Irwin (Viceroy of India). The Mahatma mentioned his reasons to select Dharasana Salt Works for next round of Civil Disobedience. Subsequently, along with some of the top leaders of Congress. Like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Mahatma Gandhi was also arrested. However the Congress decided that Dharasana Satyagraha will take place at any cost. Satyagrahis initiated the march to Dharasana. Abbas Tyabji, an old retired judge and Mata Kasturbai leaded the march. However they were also arrested immediately. Meanwhile the march continued under the leadership of Maulana Azad & Sarojini Naidu. Police barred peaceful Satyagrahis. Satyagrahis sat and waited for over 28 hours at one juncture. Eventually the police started beating them brutally. American Journalist Webb Miller witnessed and published the whole incident. He wrote:- 

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“Less than 100 yards away I could hear the dull impact of clubs against bodies. The watching crowds gasped, or sometimes cheered as the Satyagrahis crumpled before the police. Without even raising their arms to ward off the blows. With almost unbelievable meekness they submitted to the clubbing and were carried away by their comrades who had collected a score of stretchers.”

Source:- UPI Archives, May 21, 1930, Wednesday ()

Quit India movement and after Independence

Subsequently, these mass movements against colonial government made Maulana Azad a towering figure. And a staunch leader of Congress Party. Azad was again elected as the President of Congress Party in the Lahore session of 1940.

Colonial government arrested Azad with entire Congress leadership for three years during Quit India movement. Azad vehemently opposed Jinnah’s two nation theory and religious extremism. He was against the idea of partition of India. In 1946 after six long years of presidency. He voluntarily resigned as the President of INC and nominated Jawaharlal Nehru to lead the party. After Independence he became the first education minister of Independent India. As education minister, his emphasis was on educating girls and underprivileged section of society. He supported adult literacy, universal primary education, free and compulsory education for children till 14years of age. Along with vocational training. Institutions like IIT and UGC were also established under his tenure.

On 22nd February 1958 Maulana Azad passed away. Leaving behind a vibrant legacy of nationalism and communal harmony.