Maulana Abul Kalam Azad born in 1888 symbolized communal harmony during Indian Freedom Struggle. Born in a family of scholars, reading and writing naturally came to him. He did not attend any formal education and onus of his education was taken care by his father only. A renowned scholar and active in Indian polity , he gave up his job of clergyman and became actively involved in Indian Freedom Struggle. Unlike other Muslim leaders, he opposed separatism and freedom at the cost of communal tolerance was not acceptable for him. Maulana Azad was profoundly inspired by Gandhi ji's principles of non violence, civil disobedience and non cooperation and believed in peaceful demonstration.
Some points about Maulana ji's life will better help us understand the role of Maulana in Indian freedom struggle.
In 1912 , at the age of 24, he started Urdu weekly newspaper Al Hilal by which he openly attacked British's policies and propagated Indian Nationalism.
1914, as Al Hilal was censored due to establishment of Press Act, he started another journal called Al Balagh which worked on the same lines as Al Hilal to propagate Indian Nationalism
The threat posed by new journal also led to banning it . He was imprisoned for it in Ranchi jail where he remained till 1920
As he was released, he highlighed atrociies and loss of civil liberties as faced by the people. He also aroused the Muslim community by starting Khilafat Movement.
He served president of All India Khilafat committe and along with other Khilafat leaders, he founded Jamia Millia Islami Institute in Delhi.
He was inspired by Gandhiji and their principles and hence he joined Congress, In 1923, he served as president of congress, thus being the youngest one to hold this post.
In 1928, he supported the report by Motilal Nehru, proposing reforms from Indian Opinions. He opposed the ideal of Muhammad Ali JInnah for separate electorate for Muslims. He was a strong proponent of Strong, Secular India.
He was again arrested in 1930 for violation of salt law as a part of Gandhiji's salt satyagraha movement , He stayed in Meerut jali till 1934 after the conclusion of Gandhi Irwin Pact
He strongly condemned Jinnah and other Muslim leaders for their separatist politics in 1940 after being president of Congress in the Ramgarh Session.
In 1942, he was arrested again due to his involvement as a part of Quit India Movement. He was imprisoned at Ahmednagar fort where he remained in complete isolation till 1946
At the dawn of independence, he served as a strong opponent of partition. and During the partition he took responsibility of security of muslims by establishing refugee camps in violence affected zones of Bengal, Bihar, Punjab
He served as the first education minster under Nehru administration which he remained till his death in 1958
He appointed committees and commissions like University Education Commission (1948), Kher Committee for Elementary Education (1948) and Secondary Education Commission (1952-53) for making education more democratic.
He believed in power of education and framed policies for universalisation of education.