National Education Day is an annual observance in India to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India, who served from 15 August 1947 until 2 February 1958. National Education Day of India is celebrated on 11 November every year.
About Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Bharat Ratna Maulana Azad died on February 22, 1958 as Education Minister of India. He was a great Nationalist leader, a staunch Congressman, a firm Gandhite and had been to jail several times. As a lieutenant of Mahatma Gandhi, the statement said Maulana Sahib injected in the public life of the country a new favour.
He was the embodiment of the spirit of freedom and unity beyond distinctions of caste, creed and communalism. His intense patriotism, his capacity for sacrifice, his dedication in the service of the country is shining examples for the people of India to follow.
He was a pillar of strength to the Congress ever since he joined the organization. Whether as President or as a member of the Working Committee, Maulana Sahib’s voice was the voice of an indomitable fighter for the country’s freedom and its unity. Those who remember the days of the Muslim League agitation are aware how Maulana Sahib stood four squares against communalism.
As one of the leaders of the Indian freedom movement and after the attainment of freedom, as one of the architects of new India, Maulana Sahib brought to bear upon his task qualities of leadership which will leave their impress for a long time to come.
A savant philosopher, statesman, politician and administrator, Maulana Azad was an institution in himself. He worked for the country till the last breath of his life and died serving the people of India.
He was in the revolutionary movement from his earliest youth. He tirelessly worked for India’s emancipation and unity. Apart from his political activities which were those of a statesman, he was a great Muslim divine.
His commentary on the Koran is a monumental work. He was an eminent scholar in Persian, Arabic and Urdu. His studies in Eastern and Western philosophy were wide and varied. His knowledge of history, especially Islamic history, was profound. He will ever remain fresh in the memory of his countrymen.
I knew him, in the words of Pandit Nehru, as a “bridge” between the cultures of the East and the West, as the man who magnificently spanned in his person the gulf between the past and the future. It is after a travail of centuries, that a culture develops its characteristic values, attitudes and ideals and same times they suddenly find an artistically perfect expression in a human personality—in a Leonardo de Vinci, or a Goethe or an Abraham Lincoln or a Tagore or a Gandhi.
Azad was cast in the same kind of mould and was a gracious product of the Indo-Semetic Culture which had ripened during the last thousand years.
But he was more than a mere summation of the best in the past—its courtesy, its tolerance, its mellowness, its feel for spiritual values, its sensitiveness to humanism. He also represented, in his person, a creative leap into the future, because he had assimilated into his inherited riches some of the best values and attitudes from the culture of the West — its objectivity; it’s scientific spirit, its intellectual integrity, its sense of justice, its concern for the common man.
To some extent, we of this generation are all products of this cultural interaction, but in no one that I know of has this fusion been so beautifully blended into an integrated pattern as in Maulana Azad. Without any English Education, without speaking or writing English, he was as easily and effortlessly at home in Western Culture as in Eastern or Islamic Culture.