National Education Day 2020: History and significance of day commemorating Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's life
It was under Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's tenure that the first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Agriculture and the University Grants Commission were established
Every year on 11 November, India celebrates National Education Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Union Education Minister of India from 1947 to 1958.
Azad was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1888, but his family relocated to Calcutta in order to provide him a better education. In 1912, Azad started publishing Al-Hilal, a weekly that criticised British policies. After it was banned, he started another weekly Al-Bagah, following which the British government banned him under the Defence of India Regulations in 1916.
Azad is credited with shaping modern education system of India. It was under his tenure that the first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Agriculture and the University Grants Commission were established, as noted by The Indian Express.
The freedom fighter and eminent scholar was also responsible for the setting up of the AICTE.
The Central government, had on 11 September 2008, declared the day to be National Education Day and the first celebrations were inaugurated by then President of India Pratibha Patil at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
The Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu paid his tributes to the freedom fighter and nationalist, writing, "He will be always remembered for his enduring contribution in the field of education & for relentlessly striving for national unity."
Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal wrote:
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) November 11, 2020
Shashi Tharoor too remembered Azad on his 132nd birth anniversary and shared a link to an earlier essay written by him on the freedom fighter.
Remembering the peerless #MaulanaAbulKalamAzad on his 132nd birth anniversary. My views on this true nationalist hero, who resisted Muslim separatism throughout the #FreedomMovement, a visionary statesman, thinker&leader & India’s first Education Minister: https://t.co/rRE5mElER5 pic.twitter.com/poHzoV7wwx
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) November 11, 2020
The Ministry of Education celebrated the occasion, writing:
Wishing you all a very happy #NationalEducationDay!
आप सभी को #NationalEducationDay की बहुत बहुत शुभकामनाएँ।
Today & every day let's work towards reaffirming the right of every person to holistic, quality & inclusive #education. pic.twitter.com/0BXx2ORcGa
— Ministry of Education (@EduMinOfIndia) November 11, 2020
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad is also instrumental in starting the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, and Lalit Kala Akademi to promote education and culture in the country. During his tenure as the Education Minister of independent India, he promoted research in eastern learning and literature.
He was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992 for his contribution as a freedom fighter and educationist.
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