Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: The Inspiration behind India’s National Education Day

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: The Inspiration behind India's National Education Day
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: The Inspiration behind India's National Education Day
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Education is the foundation of a country’s prosperity and development. It is critical in moulding individuals, empowering communities, and promoting socioeconomic prosperity. Every year on November 11th, India observes National Education Day to honour the value of education. This historic day commemorates the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, one of India’s finest educators and liberation fighters.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (Image Source:

This article examines Maulana Azad’s life and work, emphasising intriguing facts and offering insights into his vision for education in India.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad :Introduction

NameMaulana Abul Kalam Azad
BirthdateNovember 11, 1888
BirthplaceMecca, Hejaz, Ottoman Empire (present-day Saudi Arabia)
DeathdateFebruary 22, 1958
DeathplaceNew Delhi, India
EducationDarul Uloom Deoband
OccupationFreedom fighter, politician, educationist, and scholar
PartyIndian National Congress
Notable positionsPresident of the Indian National Congress (1940–1946), Minister of Education (1947–1958)
AwardsBharat Ratna (1992)
LegacyConsidered one of the greatest leaders of the Indian independence movement
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s Biography: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a significant leader of India’s liberation fight and a fervent supporter for education. He was born on November 11, 1888, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His given name was Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhyiddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al-Hussaini, but he eventually took the moniker “Azad,” which means “free” or “liberated.”

Azad’s childhood was defined by a heavy concentration on education. He had a thorough education in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, and Islamic theology. Maulana Khairuddin, his father, was a great scholar who ensured Azad had a thorough education. Azad’s intellectual ambitions and lifetime passion to study were bolstered by this good educational foundation.

Contribution to Education:

Maulana Azad was a staunch believer that education was the route to individual and national empowerment and growth. He emphasised the need of education in cultivating a strong sense of national identity and solidarity among India’s heterogeneous people. Azad was a staunch supporter of free and compulsory education for all, regardless of gender, religion, or socioeconomic status.

As the first Minister of Education in independent India, Maulana Azad made a tremendous contribution to education. He served as the Minister of Education under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru from 1947 until 1958. During his tenure, Azad implemented various transformational measures to improve the nation’s educational scene.

National Education Day
National Education Day (Image Source: Currentaffairs )

Azad’s educational reforms centered on increasing student access to excellent education, encouraging scientific temper, and cultivating a culture of inquiry. He emphasized the need of freeing educational institutions from political intrusion and encouraging critical thinking and creativity. Azad campaigned for educational policy that prioritized students’ abilities, knowledge, and character development.

The Free and Compulsory school Act of 1950 was established under Azad’s leadership, giving access to school for all students aged 6 to 14. This historic act aims to eliminate illiteracy and lay a solid basis for the country’s future. Azad also founded the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), which transformed Indian technical education and produced world-class engineers.

Azad also established the University Grants Commission (UGC), which was a key reform. The UGC was in charge of safeguarding the quality and academic autonomy of universities and higher education institutions through adequate financing and regulation. Furthermore, Azad advocated for the use of vernacular languages in school, supporting the introduction of regional languages into the curriculum in order to make education more accessible and culturally inclusive.

Educational Reforms Introduced by Maulana Azad

Reforms IntroducedImpact
Free and Compulsory Education Act of 1950Ensured access to education for all children in the age group of 6-14.
Establishment of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)Revolutionized technical education in India and produced world-class engineers.
Establishment of University Grants Commission (UGC)Ensured proper funding and regulation of universities and higher education institutions.
Promotion of Vernacular LanguagesEncouraged the use of regional languages in education, making education more accessible and culturally inclusive.
Emphasis on Scientific Temper and ResearchFostered a culture of scientific inquiry an
Educational Reforms Introduced by Maulana Azad

Maulana Azad’s Interesting Facts:

  1.  Maulana Azad was the Indian National Congress’s youngest president, taking office at the age of 35 in 1923. Millions of Indians were impressed by his charismatic leadership and dedication to the liberation cause.
  2. He was a prolific writer who wrote numerous books, including his autobiography “India Wins Freedom” and “Ghubar-e-Khatir,” a compilation of letters written while incarcerated. Azad’s writings are still admired for their deep insights into Indian history, culture, and politics.
  3. Despite his religious background, Azad advocated for religious unity and the coexistence of diverse religions. During the liberation fight, he was instrumental in promoting Hindu-Muslim unity by aggressively working towards communal peace and developing an inclusive atmosphere.
  4. Azad was posthumously given the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1992, in recognition of his great services to the nation. This distinguished award demonstrates the nation’s recognition of Azad’s vital contributions to education and nation-building.

Impact and Legacy:

  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad made enormous contributions to Indian education, creating a legacy that may still be observed today. Here are some highlights of his contributions:
  • Education Vision: Maulana Azad’s vision for education extended beyond academic achievement. He believed in the complete development of people, which included intellectual, emotional, and moral growth. His strategy intended to develop well-rounded individuals capable of contributing to society.
  • Equal Opportunities: Azad was a passionate supporter for equal educational opportunities, particularly for marginalised groups in society. He saw education as a tool of breaking the bonds of social and economic inequity. He aimed to empower the impoverished and elevate the nation as a whole by emphasising equitable access to education.
  • National Education Day: The commemoration of National Education Day on the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad serves as a reminder of his everlasting devotion to education. On this day, educational institutions around the country hold programmes and events to promote the value of education and to honour Azad’s legacy. 
  • Scientific Temper and Research: Azad emphasised the development of a scientific temperament and the promotion of research in India. His efforts resulted in the creation of prominent technical institutes like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). These universities have created a pool of outstanding engineers and scientists, who have made substantial contributions to India’s technical growth.
  • Inclusive Education: Azad’s emphasis on inclusive education aided in closing inequity and discriminatory gaps in the Indian school system. He fought to ensure that education was available in every part of the country, regardless of financial status, gender, or caste. His dedication to diversity has aided in making education more accessible and equal.
  • The transformational Power of Education: Maulana Azad was a great believer in education’s transformational power. His belief that education has the power to transform individuals and society resonates even now. Azad’s ideas continue to guide and motivate attempts to develop an educated and inclusive society as India strives for universal access to quality education.


Finally, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s vision and efforts in education continue to inspire future generations in India. His contributions to the Indian education system have had a significant influence, fostering inclusion, access, and quality education. The observance of National Education Day serves as a reminder of his lasting impact and the importance of education in crafting a better future for the country.

Maulana Azad’s educational goals and innovations are still relevant today, guiding educational policies and practises in India. As the country commemorates National Education Day, it is an appropriate opportunity to reflect on education’s transforming impact and renew our commitment to delivering great education for everyone.

Luja Swain

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