National Education Day

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    • Every year since 2008, November 11 has been celebrated as the National Education Day to mark the birth anniversary of India’s first Education Minister Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin, also known as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

    Who was Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad?

    • He was born on 11th November 1888.
    • He served as the education minister of independent India from 1947 to 1958.
    • He was posthumously honoured with Bharat Ratna in 1992. 
    • Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad was a freedom fighter, a politician, and an eminent educationist who was well versed in Arabic, Persian, English, and other languages. 

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    • Early life: 
      • Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1888. 
      • His mother was an Arab and the daughter of Sheikh Mohammad Zaher Watri and Azad’s father, Maulana Khairuddin, was a Bengali Muslim of Afghan origins who came to Arab during the Sepoy Mutiny and proceeded to Mecca and settled there. 
      • He came back to Calcutta with his family in 1890 when Abul Kalam was two years old. 
    • Education: 
      • Azad pursued traditional Islamic education. 
      • He was taught at home, first by his father and later by appointed teachers who were eminent in their respective fields. 
      • Many languages: 
        • Azad learned Arabic and Persian first and then philosophy, geometry, mathematics and algebra. 
        • He also learned English, world history, and politics through self-study. 
        • Azad also knew Hindustani, Hindi and English languages. 
    • Weekly Journals:
      • In 1912, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal to increase the revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims. 
        • Al-Hilal played an important role in forging Hindu-Muslim unity after the bad blood created between the two communities in the aftermath of the Morley-Minto reforms
        • Al-Hilal became a revolutionary mouthpiece venting extremist views. 
        • ‘The government regarded Al- Hilal as a propagator of secessionist views and banned it in 1914. 
      • Another weekly journal called Al-Balagh with the same mission of propagating Indian nationalism and revolutionary ideas based on Hindu-Muslim unity
        • In 1916, the government banned this paper too and expelled Maulana Abul Kalam Azad from Calcutta and exiled him to Bihar from where he was released after the First World War 1920.
    • Indian National Congress:
      • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad supported the Non-Cooperation Movement started by Gandhiji and entered the Indian National Congress in 1920. 
      • He was elected as the president of the special session of the Congress in Delhi (1923)
      • At an age of 35, he became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress. 
      • Maulana Azad was arrested in 1930 for violation of the salt laws as part of Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha. He was put in Meerut jail for a year and a half. After his release, he again became the president of Congress in 1940 (Ramgarh) and remained in the post till 1946.
    • Founder of Jamia Millia Islamia University:
      • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was one of the founding members of the Jamia Millia Islamia University, originally established at Aligarh in the United Provinces, India in 1920.
    • Contributions in Modern Education System:
      • He is responsible for shaping the modern education system of the country. 
      • The first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Architecture and the University Grants Commission were established under his tenure as the education minister. 
      • The most prominent cultural, literary academies were also built including the Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy as well as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

    Source: IE