Freedom First
Freedom First

Home » Archive

Issue No.: 561 | March 2014

Legacy of Maulana Azad

Dr. T. H.Chowdary
Maulana Azad was not psychologically of a Pakistani bent of mind. He was a Muslim Indian who (for the preservation of Muslims’ safety and influence through larger numbers) did not want the partition of India and creation of Pakistan.

Abul Kalam Azad is portrayed as a great nationalist Muslim totally dedicated to the preservation of united India that is, no partition and no Pakistan. His presidential address to the Indian National Congress in 1940 is quoted in vindication of his faith. To any perceptive person it is clear from his speech that Azad did not want the division of India not so much in his belief in single nationhood as in the preservation of the strength of the large number of Muslims in an undivided India. In fact, while presiding over the Muslim League session in Calcutta in 1928 he even gave expression to the terrible idea that the Hindu minority in the Muslim majority Provinces of Bengal, Punjab, North-West
Frontier, Sindh and Baluchistan would be a hostage so that Muslims in the rest of the Hindu majority provinces would not be treated unfairly. Is this a profound or a profane idea?    

Maulana Azad was indeed a great Islamic scholar. He was born in Mecca. He lived in Calcutta. In spite of all his scholarship and background, he had no following among the Muslims of India. In 1946, he was not elected to the Constituent Assembly from Bengal or Delhi or from anywhere else in India or any constituency reserved for Muslims. He was elected from the Congress-ruled North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) courtesy, the nationalist Muslim leaders Khan Abdul Gafar Khan and his brother, Khan Sahib. After partition, NWFP became a part of Pakistan. He lost his membership of the Constituent Assembly. He was brought in there from a general non-Muslim constituency in Bihar. He was a Muslim leader of Hindus in Congress and not a leader of Muslim masses or electorate.
That the so called nationalist Muslims had little following was evident from the fact that in the 1937 elections, while the Muslim League won 106 seats out of 485 reserved for Muslims, the rest were won by non-Muslim League provincial Muslim parties in the Punjab and Bengal and Muslim independents in the rest of India. The Congresses’ nationalist Muslims got zero seats. In 1940 Md. Ali Jinnah stridently spelt out the two-nation theory and demanded the partition of India asserting that Muslims are a separate nation and that Pakistan should be created as a national home-land for the sub-continent’s Muslims. His call was taken up by almost all Muslims in the country. In the 1946 elections, out of 485 Muslim seats in the Provincial Assemblies, the Muslim league won 425; Congress contested only 58 seats and got 26. The nationalist Muslims voting for the Congress brand of a single nation and undivided India were 1.4%. It is therefore clear that the Muslims in Congress were leaders of Hindus and not of Muslims.

When independent India was making the Constitution, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad led the Muslim members to demand the continuance of a separate electorate and weighted reservations (50% more than Muslim population justified for Muslims). Fortunately, under the inspiring leadership of Sardar Patel, a few former Muslim League members like Begum Aizaz Rasul denounced the idea of two-nations and a separate electorate in post-partition free India.   Christian, Parsi and Sikh members also denounced reservations for minorities and separate electorates. It is obvious that the so called nationalist Muslims have had little following in any of the Indian Parties ranging from Communists to the Congress (Sardar Patel used to say that the only nationalist Muslim he knew in Congress was Jawaharlal Nehru).  

Maulana Azad was not psychologically of a Pakistani bent of mind. He was a Muslim Indian who (for the preservation of Muslims’ safety and influence through larger numbers) did not want the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. That he was repudiated by the Muslims of India was clearly expressed in a speech he made to bewildered Muslims gathered in Jama Masjid in Delhi on 23 Oct 1947 when he regretted that his co-religionists had ignored his advice. Here are his words: 

"I hailed you, you cut off my tongue. I picked up my pen, you severed my hand. I wanted to move forward, you cut my legs. I tried to turn over, and you injured me in the back. When the bitter political games of the last seven years were at their peak, I tried to wake you up at every danger signal... I warned you that the two-nation theory was the death-knell to a meaningful and dignified life, forsake it. To all this you turned a deaf ear. And now you have discovered that the anchors of your faith have set you adrift. The debacle of Indian Muslims is the result of the colossal blunders committed by the Muslim League’s misguided leadership." (Syed Saiyidin Hameed’s translation of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s talk in Urdu)

As Union Education Minister for eight years, Azad saw to it that the history of India presented in the  text books was negationist; that is, cover up deeds perpetrated by the Muslim invaders and settlers and converts – loot, slaughter, destruction of temples, zazia tax, forced  conversions, forcing widows of dead soldiers into harems, sale of captured children in the slave bazaars of Baghdad, burning of libraries and appropriation of defeated peoples’ properties to constitute Wakfs for the welfare of  Muslims etc. 

In his autobiography ‘India Wins Freedom” posthumously published, he expressed the opinion that he erred in backing Jawaharlal as Prime Minister. He opined that, Sardar Patel would have been a better Prime Minister. Gandhiji prevailed upon Sardar Patel to withdraw from the contest for Presidentship of Congress, once in 1928 and again in 1945, in favour of Jawaharlal Nehru. Gandhiji’s fear in 1945 was that Nehru would never agree to be number two in a cabinet headed by Sardar Patel and therefore there would be a rift in the Congress.

Maulana Azad’s legacy is wrongly reflected in the establishment of an Urdu University named after him, in Hyderabad. There are plans to open five more Urdu Universities. These would be that many Aligarh Muslim Universities, to produce Muslim Leaguers as of yore.  May this not happen.

DR. T. H. CHOWDARY, formerly: Chairman & Managing
Director, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd; Information Technology
Advisor: Government of Andhra Pradesh.
 Fellow: Tata Consultancy Services.
 Director: Center for Telecom Management & Studies,
 Chairman: Pragna Bharati.





Other Articles in this Issue


What is this Aam Aadmi Party and What Does it Stand For

S. V. Raju


Professor Vijay Kumar Sinha (September 26, 1933 - January 22, 2014)

S. V. Raju


Aam Aadmi Party - Confusion Compounded

Firoze Hirjikaka

Changing political landscape in India

Bapu Satyanarayana

Power and Populism

Ranga Kota

Reflections on India’s Continued Economic Drift

Sunil S. Bhandare

Point - Counterpoint: Every issue has at least two sides

The Anarch

Ashok Karnik

Operation Bluestar & The British

Ashok Karnik

NCP’s Tango

Ashok Karnik

Babus’ Post-Retirement Jobs

Ashok Karnik


Is Indian Media Becoming Shallow?

Firoze Hirjikaka

Narendra Modi - A Man for All Seasons

Firoze Hirjikaka

Foreign Relations

Manmohan Singh and India’s Foreign Policy - Part II

B. Ramesh Babu

The Rural Perspective

The Lessons learnt at ‘Angarmala’

Sharad Joshi

Swatantra Bharat Paksha abstains from participating in the 2014 Elections

Sharad Joshi


The Case of Helicopters for VVIPs

Suresh C. Sharma

The Magnificent Deeds of the Indian Army

Raj Mohindra


Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy

J. S. Apte

CCTV Confusion

“Sardar” Sanjay Matkar

A Mantra for Better Governance

Gogineni Sambasivarao


Rambhau Mhalgi: An exceptional Aamdaar

M. B. Damania

Legacy of Maulana Azad

Dr. T. H.Chowdary

Educating Adults

The Way Ahead: Norms for Recognition

Suresh C. Sharma

Jamboree and Junket in the Aftermath of Muzaffarnagar Riots

Dr. Jyoti Marwah

Muzaffarnagar Riots: Democracy Under Threat

Dr. R. K. Cheema

From Our Readers

Prof. Sheryar Ookerjee

S. C. Panda

New York Times Rattled


On the FF560 Editorial

N. R. Balakrishnan

On the FF560 Editorial

Prakash Pandey

On the FF560 Editorial

Ashish Sanyal

On the FF560 Editorial

Rohit Singh

On the FF560 Editorial

B. Ramesh Babu

On the FF560 Editorial

Sankar Ramamurthy

Disability Pensions

Brig Suresh Sharma

Missing buffaloes

Phiroze B. Javeri


This Month in March 1957

The Paradox of Jawaharlal Nehru

In Case You Have Not Heard This One

Alexander’s Failed Invasion of India


Street Radicalism

M. J. Akbar

The Dynasty’s Scorched-Earth Policy

Vinod Saighal

The Health of Democracy

The Economist

Will Maharashtra listen?

R. N. Bhaske

A Lost Opportunity

The Hindu

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan interaction with children

Times of India
The journal of the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom
© Copyright Freedom First. All rights reserved.
Freedom First
3rd Floor, Army and Navy Building,
148, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Mumbai - 400001. INDIA
Freedom First Archives
Quest Archives
Contact Us
About Us
About ICCF
About Freedom First
About Quest
Swatantra Party
Swatantra Party Documents