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National Education Day

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

National Education Day:


Context:

Since 2008, we celebrate National Education Day on November 11, the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to honor his contributions to education in India.

About Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and his key contributions:

  • He served as the first Minister of Education of independent India.
  • An Indian scholar and independence activist, he was one of the senior leaders of the Indian National Congress.
  • He organized a national education system during his tenure as education minister.
  • His focus was on free primary education to all.
  • Azad was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his contributions towards the field of education.
  • He was also a pioneer for the establishing of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the foundation of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Role in the Indian National Movement:

  • In 1912, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal which played an important role in forging Hindu-Muslim unity after the bad blood created between the two communities in the aftermath of Morley-Minto reforms. The government regarded Al- Hilal as propagator of secessionist views and banned it in 1914.
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad supported the Non-Cooperation Movement started by Gandhiji and entered Indian National Congress in 1920.
  • In 1923, he was elected as the president of Indian National Congress. He again became the president of Congress in 1940.

Contribution to strengthening secularism:

  • Secularism for Azad rested on the principle of wahadat-e-din on the one hand and disregarding the intermediaries the priestly class and institutionalization of religion.
  • He captured the true essence of secularism and placed the highest stakes in education and development of the human mind and man’s consciousness about himself.
  • As the education minister Azad desired that religious education be imparted along with secular education as the serious business of religious education cannot be left to the respective religious leadership of the communities as they tend to take supremacist and communal stand.
  • Azad desired that common values of all the religions should be taught to the students so that they do not develop prejudices against each other.

Secularism, according to Azad was not in confining religion to observances of certain rituals within home, but in religion inspiring followers to live righteous path and seeking guidance of almighty in understanding what that right path is. Therefore every human being has to struggle to become a better follower of their respective religions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Important literary works of Abul Azad.
  2. Role in India’s struggle for independence- Key events.
  3. Role in Khilafat Movement.
  4. His views on secularism.
  5. About the National Education Day.

Mains Link:

Discuss Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s Contribution to strengthening secularism in India.

Sources: PIB.