Since 2008, November 11 has been observed as National Education Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin, India's first education minister. He was the education minister of independent India for over ten years, from 1947 to 1958, and was known as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. In 1992, he was posthumously awarded India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
A journalist, politician, freedom fighter, and educationist, Abul Kalam Azad wore several hats in addition to being India's education minister. Here are some interesting facts about India's late education minister, who revolutionised the country's educational system.
- Firoz Bakht, also known as Muhiyuddin Ahmad, was Azad's full name and he was born in 1988.
- Using the alias Abul Kalam 'Azad,' he gained a great reputation for his writings on religion and literature in the major Urdu publications of the time.
- He did not approve of the Congress movement till he was 22 years old because of its "slowness," and he could not join the Muslim League because its political goals were unpredictable to him.
- Maulana Azad began publishing the Al - Hilal, an Urdu weekly from Calcutta, from July 13, 1912. He was an outspoken political and religious radical. The publication of the pamphlet surprised conservatives and caused a stir. In 1914, the British government banned his newspaper.
- In 1923, at the age of 35, Azad became the youngest individual to serve as President of the Indian National Congress.
- From 1919 to 1926, Azad was the leader of the 'Khilafat Movement.'
- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was essential in the establishment of Jamia Millia Islamia in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in October 1920.
- Azad served as president of the Congress from 1940 to 1945, during which time the Quit India revolt was initiated.
- He became the most prominent Muslim politician to oppose the foundation of Pakistan.
- He died in New Delhi on February 22, 1958. In Delhi, Azad's grave is located near the Jama Masjid.
- The Government of India posthumously awarded Azad the Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his invaluable and exceedingly beneficial contribution to India.
- The Maulana Azad National Urdu University is situated in Hyderabad, India.