Born in Mecca in 1888, Maulana came to India in 1890 as a child. The best part of his formative years was spent in Calcutta. In 1916, he was to meet Gandhiji in Calcutta, and was greatly influenced by his speeches.
Azad joined the freedom movement of India, and was arrested by the British for his seditious writings, and detained in jail at Ranchi for four years. On his release in January, 1920 he met Gandhiji in the latter’s Sabarmati Ashrama, and became his ardent follower.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a profound scholar, a great patriot and a veteran statesman. He was an outstanding Muslim whom no provocation and no pressure could deflect from the path of nationalism. He became the symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity, enjoying in a large measure the confidence of both the communities even on trying occasions.
Azad was highly respected by the Muslims, even when he was very young, as he was a great scholar of merit. He was a reputed scholar of the Quran. As an orator in Urdu, he was unrivalled. He edited the famous paper Liasanus Side at the age of fifteen. Poet Hali described Azad as ‘an old head on young shoulders’.
Azad took part in all the Congress movements launched by Gandhiji, and was jailed number of times as a freedom fighter. Azad became the President of the Congress Party in 1940, as a prominent member of the Congress. But his dream of one composite nation was shattered, when India was divided on the eve of her independence. He became a sad man.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad died on 22 February, 1958.