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Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Biography

Last updated date: 09th Apr 2024
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Move back to the time when India was under British rule, around the period of 1855 that is after the formation of the Indian National Congress. This period has seen the efforts, dedication, and intellectual minds of various moderate leaders like CR Das, Motilal Nehru, Dada Bhai Naroji, and one important name among these names is the ‘Maulana Abdul kalam Azad’. 

We Bring You the Autobiographies of the Prominent Leaders To Make You - 

  • Understand the leadership quality they had and learn from these qualities

  • To imbibe in oneself the same commitment and devotion towards the motherland

  • To make you admire the fearless attitude that surpasses all storms and surges

  • To make you learn from their mistake 

  • To make you carry their vision and help build the nation great again. 

In This Particular Article, Students Will Learn the Following - 

  • Introduction 

  • Who was Maulana Abdul kalam Azad?

  • Early History of Maulana’s Life

  • Maulana and the Congress

  • Maulana as the Freedom Fighter

  • Conclusion

  • Short essay 

  • Task to do 

  • Frequently asked questions

Who is Abdul Kalam Azad?

Abdul kalam Azad, also known as Maulana Abdul kalam Azad or Maulana Azad was an Indian scholar, Islamic theologian, Senior leader of the Indian National Congress during the Indian Independence movement, and an independent activist. He was born on 11 November 1888 in Mecca and his full name is Abdul kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al-Hussaini Azad. He is commonly known as Maulana Azad where the word Maulana is an honour which means ‘Our Master’ and he adapted Azad as his pen name.


Maulana Abdul Azad was highly respected throughout his Life as he was a man of high integrity. Azad in his teenage year’s composed many poetries in Urdu and also had written much work on religion and philosophy. While he was working as a journalist, he published many articles which criticized British rule which eventually led him to get involved in the Indian independence movement. Maulana Azad also became the leader of the Khilafat movement during which he met the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. Maulana Azad was moved by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas of a non-violence approach to fighting against British rule. He became an enthusiastic supporter of Mahatma Gandhi and also worked to organize the non-co-operation movement in protest of the 1919 Rowlatt Acts. At the age of 35, Maulana Azad became the youngest person to serve as the president of the National Congress.


Without taking the help of the British government. Maulana Azad in October 1920 was elected as a member of the foundation committee to establish the Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh.In 1931, Maulana Azad was the main organizer of the Dharasana Satyagraha.He also was the most important national leader of the independence movement and also helped in establishing the ideas of secularism and socialism in India. He also helped in launching the Quit India rebellion movement and because of that, he was also imprisoned by other Congress members. Maulana Azad also worked on the unity of the Hindu-Muslim community through his Al-Hilal newspaper. He believed that we as Indians if united will help to make India independent from British rule. Let us learn more about who Abdul Kalam Azad is.


Maulana Abdul kalam Azad Information

Abdul kalam Full Name: Sayyid Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al Hussaini

Abdul kalam Azad Birth Date: 11 November 1888

When did Abdul kalam Die: 22 February 1958

Age (At the Time of Death): 69 


Early Life History of Maulana Abdul kalam Azad

Maulana Azad's real name was Sayyid Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al Hussaini but eventually came to be known as Maulana Abdul kalam Azad. He was born on 11 November 1888 in Makkah. Muhammad Khairuddin was his father and was a Bengali Muslim scholar of Afghan ancestry who wrote twelve books and had thousands of disciplined and claimed noble ancestry while his mother name was Sheikha Alia bint Mohammad, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammad bin Zaher Alwatri who was also a reputed scholar from Medina.


Azad was from an orthodox family background as a result that he pursued traditional Islamic education from the beginning. Maulana Azad settled with his family in Calcutta in 1890 where he was homeschooled and self-taught. He was taught by his father at home and then later as years passed he was taught by teachers from various fields. Maulana Azad was educated and trained to become a clergyman and he wrote many works which also included reinterpreting The Holy Quran. He learned Arabic and Persian languages first during his teens and then learned various subjects such as geometry, mathematics, philosophy, and algebra. He also had a keen interest in world history, English, and politics. Azad was very interested in learning new knowledge and that resulted in him opening a new library, a debating society, and a reading room before he even reached the age of twelve. Azad also wrote a biography on the Life of Al-Ghazali at the age of twelve and was also writing articles for a literary magazine known as Makhzan when he was only fourteen years old. When he was fifteen he started teaching students who were twice his age and also completed the traditional course of study at the age of sixteen. By the year 1990, he was the editor of the weekly magazine called Al-Misbah and by 1903 he brought out the monthly journal named as Lissan-us-Sidq. Maulana Azad also got married to a young Muslim girl, Zulaikha Begum when he 13c years old.


Azad also developed an interest in the pan-Islamic doctrines of Jamaluddin Afghani and also the Aligarh thoughts of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. Influenced by the Pan -Islamic spirit he visited countries such as Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and Afghanistan to study the doctrines further. In Egypt, he met many Arab revolutionary activists who inspired him to be a national revolutionary. 


Maulana Azad as the Congress Leader 

Maulana Azad was an inspiring personality in the field of politics. He served in the Congress working committee and also in the offices of the general secretary and the president. In the year 1928 Maulana Azad developed a close friendship with Jawaharlal Nehru and began to support the idea of socialism as he believed that it would help in fighting inequality, poverty, and other national challenges. Maulana Azad was also involved in naming the Muslim political party Majlis-e-Ahrar-ul-Islam. Azad accepted the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and believed that nonviolence is the only way that India could be independent of British raj and in 1930  when Mahatma Gandhi embarked on the Dandi Salt March that inaugurated the Salt Satyagraha, Maulana Azad was the one who organized and led the national raid in a nonviolent way on the Dharasana salt works to protest against the increasing salt tax and restriction of its sales and production. Because of the Dandi March, the British government had imprisoned many people who participated in it and among all of them, Azad was also imprisoned in jail between the years 1930 to 1934. In the year 1931 Maulana Azad and many other independent activists were released from jail because of the Gandhi-Irwin pact in which Mahatma Gandhi pledged to give up the Salt Satyagraha movement in return for all his comrades to be released from the jail. 


Maulana Azad was appointed to organize the Congress election campaign in 1935 when the elections were called under the Government of India Act. Azad also worked on raising funds, selecting trustworthy candidates and also organized volunteers to spread the word of elections, and held many rallies across India which aimed at helping the common people of India understand the importance of the election. In 1936, Maulana Azad backed the idea of Jawaharlal Nehru to be the Congress president and also supported the resolution supporting socialism. Azad again supported the reelection of Nehru in the 1937 election and had organized many campaigns for the same cause. Maulana Azad was in conversation with Jinnah and the Muslim league between the years 1935 and 1937 over the Congress-league coalition and broader political co-operation. 


Maulana Azad as the Freedom Fighter

After returning from Egypt, Maulana Azad met two revolutionaries, Aurobindo Ghosh and Sri Shyam Sundar Chakravarty from Bengal. He was inspired to make India Independent of British rule. He joined the revolutionary movement against British rule. The revolutionary activities were restricted to Bihar and Bengal which was not helpful to fight the British as many people did not know about the cause. Maulana Azad within two years was able to set up secret revolutionary centres all over North India and Bombay this helped many people joining the revolutionary movement to fight the British. During this time there was a rumour that the British government was using the Muslim community against India’s Freedom struggle, this caused many of the people who the revolutionary movement to be anti-muslim. Maulana Azad was able to convince his colleagues to shed their hostility towards the Muslims. 


In the year 1912, Maulana Abdul kalam Azad started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal. The main purpose of this journal was to increase awareness of Independent India and to include more revolutionary recruits from the Muslim community. Due to the Morley-Minto reforms, a bad blood relation was developed between the Hindu-Muslim community but Al-Hilal played an important role in ending the disputes between the Hindu and Muslim communities as it became a revolutionary mouthpiece that helped spread the extremist ideas but later it was banned by the British government in the year 1914. This did not stop Maulana Azad from promoting Indian nationalism as a result of that he started another weekly magazine called as Al-Balagh with the same mission of promoting revolutionary ideas based on Hindu-Muslim unity and also urged people to fight for independent India. In 1916, the British government again banned Al-Balagh and even imprisoned Maulana Azad for four years at Ranchi.


Maulana Azad was released in 1929 from prison and soon after the release, he convinced the Muslim community to fight against the British through the Khilafat Movement. In 1920, Maulana Azad joined the Indian national Congress and in the same year joined the Non-Cooperation Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. In 1923, Azad was elected as the president of the session of the Congress in Delhi. Azad was arrested and put in the Meerut jail for a year and a half for the violation of the salt laws as part of Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha Movement but after a year he was released. Maulana Azad became the president of the Congress in the year 1940 and remained in the post till 1946. he always was convinced of the idea that India should be a secular democratic country and always worked for the unity of the Hindu-Muslim community. he was against the idea of partition and opposed it but in the end, partition hurt him greatly as it shattered his dream of a unified nation where Muslims and Hindus can coexist and prosper together. 


Short Essay on Abdul Kalam Azad

Abdul kalam Azad’s original name was Abdul kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddi and he was also called Maulana Abdul kalam of Maulana Azad. He was born on November 11, 1888, in Mecca.


Azad was the son of Muhammad Khairuddin, an Indian Muslim scholar living in Mecca and his mother was Sheikha Alia bint Mohammad. When he was young his family moved back to India and he received a traditional Islamic education at home from his father and other Islamic scholars. Azad was influenced by the teaching of an Indian educator Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and learned English as well. 


Maulana Azad at the age of twelve got very much active in journalism. In 1912 he started writing daily journals and also published a weekly Urdu-language journal by the name Al-Hilal in Calcutta. The journal mainly focused on the idea of how the Muslim community can help in fighting against British rule in India. Al-Hilal also criticized the Muslim rulers who were supporting the British government. The journal became very famous among the Muslim community because of its Anti-British idea and because of that, it was banned by the British government. In 1920 he joined the Indian National Congress and helped spread the idea of Independent India among the Indian Muslim community. Between the years 1920 to 1924, he also participated in the Khilafat movement which defended the Ottoman Sultan as the head of the Muslim community. 


Maulana Azad became very close to Mahatma Gandhi and was involved in various civil disobedience campaigns which were organized by Gandhi such as the Salt Satyagraha movement. Because he participated in the salt satyagraha movement, he was imprisoned in the year 1920, and later on, he was again prisoned because he participated in the Quit India movement. Maulana Azad also became the president of the Indian Congress Party in the year 1923. 


Maulana Azad was one of the leaders who negotiated with the British for Indian independence. He believed in the idea of secular India and worked tirelessly for an India that would embrace the idea of Hindu-Muslim unity. Azad strongly opposed the partition of India and tried to not let the British divide India. He later blamed Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Congress party leaders for the division of the subcontinent. After India got Independence, he served as the minister of education in India from 1947 until 1958. Azad died of a stroke in 1958 and decades after his death Azad was awarded the Bharat Ratna which is India’s highest civilian award.


Since we have learned who Maulana Abdul kalam Azad is, let us look at some frequently asked questions.

The Task to do - 

  • After reading the autobiography, students are required to do a SWOT analysis of the Life of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. That is students are required to identify the strengths of Maulana Azad and weaknesses if any you felt Maulana had. Identify the opportunities he had and the threats he faced during all these periods. 

  • This exercise will make you think analytically of the Life of Maula and help you extract the learning you want to take away with you. 


Maulana Abdul Kalam Azaad was a renowned poet and scholar. He was very fluent in many languages and was a very good leader as he convinced many people to join the Indian Freedom fight. Azad worked for Indian nationalism and worked for the Hindu-Muslim unity in India. He is not only remembered for his role as the Freedom Fighter for Indian Independence but also as the first education minister of independent India from 1947 to 1948. On February 22, 1958, he passed away due to a stroke. For his invaluable contribution to the nation, Maulana Azad was awarded Bharat Ratna which is India’s highest civilian honour in the year 1992. 

FAQs on Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Biography

1. Which post did Maula Abdul Kalam hold after India got Independence?

During the interim government itself Maulana Abdul kalam took charge as Education minister and he remained the education minister until he died in 1958. And thus every year since 2008, on November 11th which is the birth anniversary of Maula Abdul Kalam, we celebrate the Nation Education Day. 

2. What are some of the interesting facts about Maula Abdul kalam Azad?

Some of the important facts about Azad are - 

  • He was born in Saudi Arabia and came back to India when he was two years old

  • He never went to a school and did homeschooling 

  • He knew many languages like Hindi, English, Arabic, Persia, Hindustani, etc

  • In 1912 he started a weekly journal Al-Hilal, forging Hindu-Muslim unity and also increasing the revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims

  • He supported the Non-cooperation movement and joined INC in 1920

  • In 1940 he became the president of INC and remained as the president till 1946

  • He founded Jamia Millia Islamia University, in 1920

  • He shaped the modern education system like IITs, IISc

If you have more interesting facts about Maulana Azad please write in the comment box. 

3. What was Maulana Azad’s view on the formation of a separate state of Pakistan?

Maulana was a visionary and opposed the formation of a separate state of Pakistan. As he feared that without a proper constitutional measure the rights of the Muslim minorities would be exploited. And the partition would have left the Muslims in minority in many areas under the tyranny of the majority. Thus, Maulana and Jinnah had contradictory views on the issue of partition. 

4. What is the Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Trophy?

It is a trophy started in the year 1956-57 which is awarded to the overall Top Performing University in Sports of the preceding year. The aim behind giving the trophy is for promoting competitive sports in the university sector and to develop interest among students and motivate them to take up competitive sports.

5. What is the name of the autobiography of Maulana Abdul kalam Azad? 

Maulana Abdul kalam Azad was a great writer who wrote the journals Al-Hilal and Al-Balagh. An autobiography was also written with the title ‘India Wins Freedom’. 

6.  What is Celebrated on Maulana Abul Kalam’s Birthday?

Maulana Abul Kalam was the first education minister of independent India. To celebrate his life and his achievement towards the education system in India every year Azad birthday, November 11 is celebrated as the 'National Education Day'.

7. What are the Contributions of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad? 

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the first education minister of Independent India. He also contributed to establishing many educational institutions such as Jamia Millia Islamia and the IIT Kharagpur. He was also a strong believer that the women of the country should be educated and also advised that free education should be provided to children up to the age of 14.