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Events to mark Azad’s birth anniversary

Former Assembly Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Altamas Kabir at the inaugural ceremony of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations. (Bishwarup Dutta)

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had “immensely contributed” to the field of education after playing a “significant role” in the country’s freedom struggle, speakers said at the inaugural ceremony of a year-long programme to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of the leader.

Azad was born on November 11, 1888, and died on February 22 1958.

“He advocated an education system that would benefit everyone in society. He envisaged a system in which every child of this country would have access to education,” said Aligarh Muslim University vice-chancellor Zamir Uddin Shah, who was present at the Iran Society programme on Saturday evening.

“One of the front-line leaders in the Indian freedom struggle, Azad went on to become the first education minister of independent India. He was education minister for over a decade,” said Shah.

A series of programmes have been planned in the city to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Azad. Among the events lined up is a seminar where speakers from Pakistan and Bangladesh, among others, will speak on Azad’s legacy.

“Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a staunch advocate of a united secular India. Speakers from the two neighbouring countries will dwell on how they perceive him,” said former state Assembly Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim.

There will also be an exhibition of “rare photographs” of the leader. “These photographs have been sourced from various institutions across the country. The photographs cover Maulana’s journey through decades, telling the story of his life from being a freedom fighter to an educationist,” said Fuad Halim, the joint convenor of Azad’s 125th birth anniversary celebration committee.

Iran Society, on Dr M. Ishaque Road off Mirza Ghalib Street, will organise an essay competition on Azad for school students.

“The dates and the venue of the programmes will be announced later,” said Imran Zaki, a member of the organising committee.

Also present at the programme were a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Altamas Kabir, and journalist and former MP, Saeed Malihabadi.