Aligarh: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was instrumental in setting up Indian institutions like Indian Institute of Technology and the University Grants Commission, said Sahitya Academy and Indian Council to Cultural Relations, Dr Syeda Sayidain Hameed, noted author, educationist and former member of the Planning Commission of India.
Delivering the extension lecture on ‘Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: His Philosophy and Contribution to Education’ at the Department of Education, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to mark the ‘National Education Day’, the 131st birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad; Dr Syeda delineated Maulana Azad’s extensive influence and contribution to higher education in India.
She however lamented that not many people today remember Maulana Azad and it is imperative to educate people of the elegant, erudite statesman who towered next to Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru during the tumultuous days of the freedom struggle.
“As a Muslim divine, steeped in the erudition of his faith, and as a committed nationalist Maulana Azad symbolised the all-inclusive aspirations of the nationalist movement,” she said adding that Maulana Azad asked Muslims to join Freedom Movement with Indians of all religious faiths.
Dr Syeda said that Maulana Azad considered the first Chapter of the Holy Quran, ‘Surah Al Fatiha’ to be quintessence of Islamic teaching and on the basis of the understanding of Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem (the straight path) mentioned in the Quranic Chapter, Maulana Azad said, Muslims are obliged to follow the straight path and fight for freedom shoulder to shoulder with their Hindu brothers.
She pointed out that Maulana Azad invited Indian Muslims to join the mainstream of life through the trajectory of religion.
“He started the Urdu paper, Al Hilal (the Crescent) in 1912 and this opened a new chapter in Urdu journalism as it presented politics in an artistic manner,” emphasised Dr Syeda.
She remarked: “In his young age, Maulana Azad was a boy of extraordinary intellect brought up under a strict disciplinarian family and tutored at his home in Calcutta by carefully selected teachers.”
Maulana Azad did inherit strong traditions of his family and hoped he could reorient and reinterpret the religion of his forefathers and reform the community of Muslims, said Dr Syeda.
Dr Syeda added that Maulana Azad later felt free of all conventional ties and decided that he would chalk out his own path.
Presiding over the function, Prof Shafey Kidwai, Chairman, Department of Mass Communications said that Dr Syeda has rightly pointed out that Maulana Azad espoused the ideals of Indian nationalism through his publications which were aimed at encouraging young Muslims into fighting for independence and Hindu-Muslim unity.
Presenting a copy of ‘A Life in Education’ by Dr KG Saiyidain to the Department of Education on the occasion; Begum Zakia Sayidain Zaheer, who co-edited the book with her sister, Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed said that their father Dr KG Saiyidain, who was educated at AMU and Leeds University devoted his life to promoting educational, cultural and humanistic values in India and abroad.
“Dr KG Saiyidain worked with Mahatma Gandhi on Wardha Scheme and with Dr Zakir Husain in promoting Basic Education across India. He was also close to Maulana Azad,” she added.
Renowned paediatrician, Dr Hameeda Tariq was also present.
Prof Nasrin, Chairperson, Department of Education welcomed the guests, while Dr Mahmood Ali extended the vote of thanks. Dr Shazia Mansoori conducted the programme.
On the occasion, Sana Sanober Parveen received the prize for winning the slogan writing competition held during the Vigilance Awareness Week from the guests. Zain Saeed and Hera Rizwan received prizes for winning the essay and poster making competitions respectively, also held during the Vigilance Awareness Week.
Prizes were also distributed to the winners of two essay writing and slogan writing competitions as a part of Swachta Pakwada. Sana Khanum and Saiqah Siddiqui were the winners of essay and slogan writing competitions respectively on the topic, ‘Single Use Plastic and Environment’, while Ramit Kumar and Salma Parveen won the essay writing and slogan writing competitions on the topic, ‘Water Conservation and Management in the Present Era’.