Keeping it a secret from his father, he started learning English and by his own acquired enough knowledge of the English language to study advanced books on History and Philosophy. He wanted to see his country free from the British rule.
He managed, however, to convince them that the exclusion of the Muslims from the group would make political struggle much more difficult. Its influence was prodigious. Azad was politically and religiously radical. The paper shocked the conservatives and created a furore, but there were many Muslims ready to follow him. The Government of Bengal unhappy with editorial policy put pressure on the paper. The Governments of Punjab, Delhi, UP and Bombay had already prohibited hit entry into their provinces under the same regulations.
The biggest nationalist upheaval in a decade, Azad was imprisoned along with millions of people, and would frequently be jailed from to for long periods of time.
Following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in , Azad was amongst millions of political prisoners released. When elections were called under the Government of India Act , Azad was appointed to organise the Congress election campaign, raising funds, selecting candidates and organising volunteers and rallies across India.
He again declined to contest elections in , and helped head the party's efforts to organise elections and preserve co-ordination and unity amongst the Congress governments elected in different provinces. Rajendra Prasad and Chakravaachari regarding the espousal of socialism as the Congress goal. Azad had backed the election of Nehru as Congress president, and supported the resolution endorsing socialism. Azad also supported Nehru's re-election in , at the consternation of many conservative Congressmen.
Azad supported dialogue with Jinnah and the Muslim League between and over a Congress-League coalition and broader political co-operation. Less inclined to brand the League as obstructive, Azad nevertheless joined the Congress's vehement rejection of Jinnah's demand that the League be seen exclusively as the representative of Indian Muslims. Main article: Quit India Movement In , Azad served as an intermediary between the supporters of and the Congress faction led by Congress president Subhash Bose, who criticised Gandhi for not launching another rebellion against the British and sought to move the Congress away from Gandhi's leadership.
Azad stood by Gandhi with most other Congress leaders, but reluctantly endorsed the Congress's exit from the assemblies in following the inclusion of India in World War II. Nationalists were infuriated that Viceroy Lord Linlithgow had entered India into the war without consulting national leaders. Although willing to support the British effort in return for independence, Azad sided with Gandhi when the British ignored the Congress overtures.
Azad's criticism of Jinnah and the League intensified as Jinnah called Congress rule in the provinces as "Hindu Raj", calling the resignation of the Congress ministries as a " Day of Deliverance " for Muslims.
Jinnah and the League's separatist agenda was gaining popular support amongst Muslims. Muslim religious and political leaders criticised Azad as being too close to the Congress and placing politics before Muslim welfare. Speaking vehemently against Jinnah's Two-Nation Theory —the notion that Hindus and Muslims were distinct nations—Azad lambasted religious separatism and exhorted all Muslims to preserve a united India, as all Hindus and Muslims were Indians who shared deep bonds of brotherhood and nationhood.
In his presidential address, Azad said: " Full eleven centuries have passed by since then. Islam has now as great a claim on the soil of India as Hinduism.
If Hinduism has been the religion of the people here for several thousands of years Islam also has been their religion for a thousand years. Just as a Hindu can say with pride that he is an Indian and follows Hinduism, so also we can say with equal pride that we are Indians and follow Islam. I shall enlarge this orbit still further. The Indian Christian is equally entitled to say with pride that he is an Indian and is following a religion of India, namely Christianity.
In face of increasing popular disenchantment with the British across India, Gandhi and Patel advocated an all-out rebellion demanding immediate independence. Azad was wary and sceptical of the idea, aware that India's Muslims were increasingly looking to Jinnah and had supported the war. Feeling that a struggle would not force a British exit, Azad and Nehru warned that such a campaign would divide India and make the war situation even more precarious.
In the end, Azad became convinced that decisive action in one form or another had to be taken, as the Congress had to provide leadership to India's people and would lose its standing if it did not.
Supporting the call for the British to " Quit India ", Azad began exhorting thousands of people in rallies across the nation to prepare for a definitive, all-out struggle. As Congress president, Azad travelled across India and met with local and provincial Congress leaders and grass-roots activists, delivering speeches and planning the rebellion. Despite their previous differences, Azad worked closely with Patel and Dr. Rajendra Prasad to make the rebellion as effective as possible.
On 7 August at the Gowalia Tank in Mumbai, Congress president Azad inaugurated the struggle with a vociferous speech exhorting Indians into action. Just two days later, the British arrested Azad and the entire Congress leadership. While Gandhi was incarcerated at the Aga Khan Palace in Pune , Azad and the Congress Working Committee were imprisoned at a fort in Ahmednagar , where they would remain under isolation and intense security for nearly four years.
Outside news and communication had been largely prohibited and completely censored. Although frustrated at their incarceration and isolation, Azad and his companions attested to feeling a deep satisfaction at having done their duty to their country and people.
In the early mornings, Azad began working on his classic Urdu work, the Ghubhar-i-Khatir. His knowledge of history, especially Islamic history, was profound. He will ever remain fresh in the memory of his countrymen. It is after a travail of centuries, that a culture develops its characteristic values, attitudes and ideals and same times they suddenly find an artistically perfect expression in a human personality—in a Leonardo de Vinci, or a Goethe or an Abraham Lincoln or a Tagore or a Gandhi.
But he was more than a mere summation of the best in the past—its courtesy, its tolerance, its mellowness, its feel for spiritual values, its sensitiveness to humanism. To some extent, we of this generation are all products of this cultural interaction, but in no one that I know of has this fusion been so beautifully blended into an integrated pattern as in Maulana Azad.
The freedom of his mind turned him naturally towards the great enterprise of the day, the struggle for independence. Azad was introduced to the freedom struggle by revolutionary Shyam Sunder Chakravarthy. Most revolutionaries in Bengal were Hindus, and many were greatly surprised by his willingness to join the freedom struggle alongwith them, while others were skeptical of his intentions.
Azad also discovered that the revolutionary activities were mostly restricted to Bengal and Bihar. Creating his own niche within the movement, he helped to set up secret revolutionary centres all over North India and in Bombay now Mumbai. Most revolutionaries of the day were anti-Muslim, because they felt that the British Government was using the Muslim community against India's freedom struggle.
Azad tried to convince his colleagues that indifference and hostility towards the Muslims would only make the path to freedom more difficult.
Azad took up responsibility for the safety of Muslims in India, touring affected areas in Bengal, Bihar, Assam and the Punjab, guiding the organisation of refugee camps, supplies and security. He presided over the special session of the Congress Party in September and at the age of 35, was the youngest man to be elected as the President of the Congress. In , his father moved to Kolkata formarly known as Calcutta. The Sultan had sided against the British in the war and the continuity of his rule came under serious threat, causing distress amongst Muslim conservatives. Non-violence and Hindu-Muslim unity were universally emphasised, while the boycott of foreign goods, especially clothes were organised. The leaders would generally avoid talking of politics, unwilling to cause any arguments that could exacerbate the pain of their imprisonment.
Gandhi organised the people of the region and pioneered the art of Satyagraha — combining mass civil disobedience with complete non-violence and self-reliance. On 7 August at the Gowalia Tank in Mumbai, Congress president Azad inaugurated the struggle with a vociferous speech exhorting Indians into action. As he adapted to the changing opportunities of his time, he also adopted the pen name, "Azad" to signify his freedom from the traditional Muslim ways of his ancestors. Abulkalam Azad tomb The Ministry of Minority Affairs of the central Government of India set up the Maulana Azad Education Foundation in on the occasion of his birth centenary to promote education amongst educationally backward sections of the Society.
Rajendra Prasad to make the rebellion as effective as possible. He was an eminent scholar in Persian, Arabic and Urdu. He managed, however, to convince them that the exclusion of the Muslims from the group would make political struggle much more difficult. Just as a Hindu can say with pride that he is an Indian and follows Hinduism, so also we can say with equal pride that we are Indians and follow Islam.