41 Facts About Maulana Azad

1. Maulana Azad is commonly remembered as Maulana Azad; the word Maulana is an honorific meaning 'Our Master' and he had adopted Azad as his pen name.

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2. Maulana Azad rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, publishing works critical of the British Raj and espousing the causes of Indian nationalism.

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3. Maulana Azad became the leader of the Khilafat Movement, during which he came into close contact with the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.

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4. Maulana Azad committed himself to Gandhi's ideals, including promoting Swadeshi products and the cause of Swaraj (Self-rule) for India.

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5. Maulana Azad assisted in shifting the campus of the university from Aligarh to New Delhi in 1934.

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6. Maulana Azad was one of the main organizers of the Dharasana Satyagraha in 1931, and emerged as one of the most important national leaders of the time, prominently leading the causes of Hindu–Muslim unity as well as espousing secularism and socialism.

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7. Maulana Azad served as Congress president from 1940 to 1945, during which the Quit India rebellion was launched.

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8. Maulana Azad worked for Hindu–Muslim unity through the Al-Hilal newspaper.

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9. Maulana Azad was born on 11 November 1888 in Mecca, then a part of the Ottoman Empire, now a part of Saudi Arabia.

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10. Maulana Azad was trained in the Mazahibs of Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali fiqh, Shariat, mathematics, philosophy, world history, and science by tutors hired by his family.

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11. An avid and determined student, the precocious Maulana Azad was running a library, a reading room, and a debating society before he was twelve; wanted to write on the life of Al-Ghazali at twelve; was contributing learned articles to Makhzan at fourteen; was teaching a class of students, most of whom were twice his age, when he was fifteen; and completed the traditional course of study at the age of sixteen, nine years ahead of his contemporaries, and brought out a magazine at the same age.

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12. Maulana Azad compiled many treatises interpreting the Qur'an, the Hadis, and the principles of Fiqh and Kalam.

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13. Maulana Azad contributed articles to Urdu magazines and journals such as Makhzan, Ahsanul Akhbar, and Khadang e Nazar.

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14. Maulana Azad shifted to Calcutta for a brief period where he was associated with Dar-ul-Saltunat.

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15. Maulana Azad developed political views considered radical for most Muslims of the time and became a full-fledged Indian nationalist.

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16. Against common Muslim opinion of the time, Maulana Azad opposed the partition of Bengal in 1905 and became increasingly active in revolutionary activities, to which he was introduced by the prominent Hindu revolutionaries Aurobindo Ghosh and Shyam Sundar Chakravarty.

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17. Maulana Azad established an Urdu weekly newspaper in 1912 called Al-Hilal from Calcutta, and openly attacked British policies while exploring the challenges facing common people.

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18. Maulana Azad saw an opportunity to energise Indian Muslims and achieve major political and social reform through the struggle.

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19. Maulana Azad started a new journal, the Al-Balagh, which got banned in 1916 under the Defence of India Regulations Act and he was arrested.

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20. Maulana Azad joined the Congress and was elected president of the All India Khilafat Committee.

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21. Maulana Azad adopted the Islamic prophet Muhammad's ideas by living simply, rejecting material possessions and pleasures.

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22. Maulana Azad led efforts to organise the Flag Satyagraha in Nagpur.

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23. In 1928, Maulana Azad endorsed the Nehru Report, which was criticised by the Ali brothers and Muslim League politician Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

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24. Maulana Azad endorsed the ending of separate electorates based on religion, and called for an independent India to be committed to secularism.

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25. At the 1928 Congress session in Guwahati, Maulana Azad endorsed Gandhi's call for dominion status for India within a year.

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26. Maulana Azad was a friend of Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, founder of All India Majlis-e-Ahrar.

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27. When elections were called under the Government of India Act 1935, Maulana Azad was appointed to organise the Congress election campaign, raising funds, selecting candidates and organising volunteers and rallies across India.

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28. Maulana Azad supported Nehru's re-election in 1937, at the consternation of many conservative Congressmen.

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29. In 1938, Maulana Azad served as an intermediary between the supporters of and the Congress faction led by Congress president Subhash Bose, who criticised Gandhi for not launching another rebellion against the British and sought to move the Congress away from Gandhi's leadership.

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30. Maulana Azad was wary and sceptical of the idea, aware that India's Muslims were increasingly looking to Jinnah and had supported the war.

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31. On 7 August 1942 at the Gowalia Tank in Mumbai, Congress president Maulana Azad inaugurated the struggle with a vociferous speech exhorting Indians into action.

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32. Sharing daily chores, Maulana Azad taught the Persian and Urdu languages, as well as Indian and world history to several of his companions.

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33. All political prisoners were released in 1946 and Maulana Azad led the Congress in the elections for the new Constituent Assembly of India, which would draft India's constitution.

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34. Maulana Azad headed the delegation to negotiate with the British Cabinet Mission, in his sixth year as Congress president.

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35. Maulana Azad, committed to a united India until his last attempt, was condemned by the advocates of Pakistan, especially the Muslim League.

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36. Maulana Azad took up responsibility for the safety of Muslims in India, touring affected areas in Bengal, Bihar, Assam and the Punjab, guiding the organisation of refugee camps, supplies and security.

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37. Maulana Azad gave speeches to large crowds encouraging peace and calm in the border areas and encouraging Muslims across the country to remain in India and not fear for their safety and security.

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38. Maulana Azad masterminded the creation of national programmes of school and college construction and spreading the enrolment of children and young adults into schools, to promote universal primary education.

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39. Ghubar-e-Khatir, (Urdu: ) is one of the most important works of Maulana Azad, written primarily during 1942 to 1946 when he was imprisoned in Ahmednagar Fort in Maharashtra by British Raj while he was in Bombay (now Mumbai) to preside over the meeting of All India Congress Working Committee.

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40. Maulana Azad is celebrated as one of the founders and greatest patrons of the Jamia Millia Islamia.

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41. Maulana Azad was portrayed by actor Virendra Razdan in the 1982 biographical film, Gandhi, directed by Richard Attenborough.

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