Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a
prominent leader of the Indian independence movement and a senior
leader of the Indian National Congress (INC), was strongly opposed
to the partition of India along religious lines. Azad, a devout
Muslim and an advocate for Hindu-Muslim unity, vehemently opposed
the idea of creating separate nations based on religion.
Azad believed in a united and secular India where people of
different religions could coexist. His opposition to the partition
plan proposed by the All-India Muslim League and accepted under
the Mountbatten Plan was rooted in his vision of a pluralistic and
inclusive Indian society.
Despite being a Muslim leader, Azad chose to remain in India after
the partition, unlike some Muslim leaders who opted for Pakistan.
He became the first Minister of Education in independent India and
played a key role in the establishment of educational
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's stance against partition and his
commitment to a united India showcased a dedication to the
principles of secularism and religious harmony. His vision of an
inclusive nation, where people of different religious backgrounds
could live together in harmony, was in contrast to the communal
partition that led to the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947.
Excerpts from "India Wins Freedom"
I had on earlier occasions also differed from Gandhiji on some
points but never before had our difference been so complete.
Things reached a climax when he sent me a letter to the effect
that my stand was so different from his that we could not work
together. If Congress wanted Gandhiji to lead the movement, I must
resign from the Presidentship and also withdraw from the Working
Committee. He said Jawaharlal must do the same. I immediately sent
for Jawaharlal and showed him Gandhiji's letter. Sardar Patel had
also dropped in and he was shocked when he read the letter. He
immediately went to Gandhiji and protested strongly against his
action. Patel pointed out that if I resigned from the
Presidentship and both Jawaharlal and I left the Working
Committee, the repercussions on the country would be disastrous.
Not only would the people be confused but Congress would be shaken
to its very foundation.
The upshot was that the list submitted by the Congress contained
only two HIndu names. This proved, if proof be needed, that
Congress was not a Hindu organisation. It may be said that the
Hindus, who constituted the majority community of India would
object to such a proposal but be it said to their credit that the
Hindus of India stood solidly behind the
Congress and did not waver even when they found that in the
Congress list of five, three men represented Muslims, the
Christians and the Parsees. The Hindu Mahasabha tried to
make political capital out of this decision of the Congress, but
everyone knows how miserably the Mahasabha failed. It is a strange
irony of fate that like the Mahasabha, the Muslim League also
opposed that the Congress should include a Muslim name in its
Looking back on events after a period of ten years, I cannot still
help feeling surprised at the strange situation which developed as
a result of the attitude of the Muslim League. The list which Lord
Wavell had himself prepared included four names in addition to the
five names each of the Congress and the Muslim League. One of
these was a representative of the Sikhs, two of the Scheduled
Castes and the fourth was Khizir Hayat Khan, then Premier of
Punjab. Jinnah reacted violently to the suggestion that there
should he two Muslims in the Executive Council who were not his
nominees. Khizir Hayat Khan came to see me and I assured him that
the Congress would not object to his inclusion. I repeated this to
Lard Wavell. If therefore the Conference had not broken down
because of Jinnah's opposition, the result would have been that
Muslims who constituted only about 25 per cent of the total
population of India, would have had seven representatives in a
Council of fourteen. This is evidence of the generosity of the
Congress and also throws in lurid light the stupidity of the
Muslim League. The League was supposed to be the guardian of
Muslim interests and yet it was because of its opposition that the
Muslims of India were denied a substantial share in the Government
of undivided India.
Taking all facts into consideration, it seemed to me that
Jawaharlal should be the new President. Accordingly, on 26 April
1946, I issued a statement proposing his name for the
Presidentship and appealing to Congressmen that they should elect
I acted according to my best judgement but the way things have
shaped since then has orade me realise that this was perhaps the
greatest blunder of my political life. I have regretted no action
of mine so much as the decision to withdraw from the Presidentship
of the Congress at this critical juncture. It was a mistake which
I can describe in Gandhiji's words as one of Himalayan dimension.
My second mistake was that when I decided not to stand myself I
did not support Sardar Patel. We differed on many issues but I am
convinced that if he had succeeded me as Congress President he
would have seen that the Cabinet Mission Plan was successfully
implemented. He would have never committed the mistake of
Jawaharlal which gave Mr Jinnah the opportunity of sabotaging the
plan. I can never forgive myself when I think that if I had not
committed these mistakes, perhaps the history of the last ten
years would have been different.
My statement caused a commotion among Congressmen all over the
country. Several important leaders travelled from Calcutta, Bombay
and Madras to persuade me to wilthdraw my statement and allow my
name to be put up. Appeals in the press also appeared to the same
Azad did not "withhold
publication of 30 pages"
Ambedkar handing India's constitution to Rajendra Prasad while Pandit Nehru, Sardar
Patel, Rajagopalachari, and Maulana Azad look on.
Rishikesh Kumar, "75 Years of Independence: How India
Fought for Freedom From The British Raj," sputnikglobe.com, August 15, 2022
After Independence, Azad took over as the minister of education,
science, and culture, with the task of reconstructing an India that had suffered
severe blows to its cultural and social fabric for over two hundred years under colonial
rule. (p.13) . . .
Azad was one with Nehru in his faith in the industrial and technological progress of
the country. . . . a network of institutions
focussing on technological education came up in the 1950s - The Indian Institutes of Tecgnology (IITs) and the diverse laboratories
under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (p.14) . . .
Maulana Azad (p.63): "Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the
sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason." (Quran
8:22) . . . Azad had already begun striving for composite nationalism when V. D. Savarkar
composed his essentialist text "Hindutva" in 1923 . . . religion was being transformed
into political ideologies, where Hinduism became Hindutva and Islam turned into a
political creed. . . . This false image, he said, was created by the genius of the
British sixty years ago to counter the new political awakening that was stirring among
Indians. (p.155) . . . it was Azad's vision of composite nationalism
which kept India together for several decades after independence (p.169) . . .
[Bal Gangadhar] Tilak's words provide salience to Azad's defintion of composite nationalism.
(p.177)--S Irfan Habib, "Maulana
Life", Aleph Book Company (February 5, 2023)
[Azad held, "Hindus and Muslims must unite in a manner that they form one "Qaum' and one
nation . . . the Prophet said that he extended the hands of friendship to all those who
lived in the vicinity of Medina and declared that we should be 'Umma Vahidah', one
people." (p.166 and 136). He returned to the theme again and again, indeed it became the
leitmotif of his thought process. Drawing attention to India's "composite culture",
that, he said, "Hindus and Muslims (have) been shaping for the last one thousand years
and more", he stressed that the Muslims have been "proud and active partners" in forging
a "syncretic culture which occupies a distinctly distinguished place". (p.166) This, he
concluded, had given rise to the two communities sharing "a common nationality"
"the practice of love, regardless of the distinction of caste, creed
or nationality" constitute "the basic teachings of the Quran"--Mani Shankar Aiyar,
"Irfan Habib's 'Maulana Azad: A Life' Is a Voice
of Reason and Unity in Times of Hate", thewire.in, August 15, 2023]