Maulana Azad (Abdul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed)
Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed, also known as Maulana Azad (azad means free), was a prominent leader of the Indian national independence movement. Maulana Azad was born in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) to a Muslim Indian family of Afghan descent. A brilliant student, he supplemented his traditional Islamic education by studying in diverse fields, before turning to journalism. Attracted to politics, he joined the Khilafat Movement (pan-Islamic and pro-independence mobilization in 1919-1924 to restore the position of the Caliph in the declining Ottoman Empire), supported by Gandhi (to whom he was very close). He, then, along with other Khilafat leaders, established the Jamia Millia Islamia (National Islamic University, JMI) in Delhi as a nationalist institution of higher education, in which the British could not interfere. Maulana Azad gradually became one of the leading figures of the struggle for India’s independence. A Congress leader and fierce defender of secularism, he strongly criticized the Muslim League and its “Two-Nation theory.” During the wide-spread violence that accompanied Partition, Azad set up refugee camps, offered guarantees of security to Muslims who were to remain in India, and tried his best to ensure their safety. He subsequently became India’s first education minister and a member of the Constituent Assembly in which he defended the principle of secularism and the protection of Indian minorities. His unrelenting faith in Hindu–Muslim harmony earned him a prominent place in India's history.
AZAD, Maulana A.K. 1959. India Wants Freedom. Calcutta: Orient Longman.