Mumbai: The BJP led Maharashtra government have not included India’s first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in its list of celebration of birth anniversaries of great National Personalities and National Day for the year 2018.
State government has issued a circular on December 29, 2017, notifying all Ministries, govt and semi govt institutions to celebrate birth or death anniversaries in the year 2018 of 34 national personalities and three National Days.
State institutions will observe 32 days of celebrations for anniversaries of National figures (Death anniversary of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to be observed on same day as Martyr day on March 23) and three other anniversaries – Day against Terrorism and Violence ( May 21), Sadbhavna Day (August 20) and Constitution Day ( November 26).
The notification also states specifically that even if anniversaries fall on public holidays or second/ fourth Saturday, the institutions ought to observe anniversaries.
However, November 11, the day Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was born and which is celebrated as ‘National Education Day’ nationwide did not get place in the list issued by the state govt. Removal of Maulana Azad’s name gives a sense that Muslims have not participated in the country’s freedom struggle.
Only one Muslim name Dr APJ Abdul Kalam makes it to the list whose anniversary will be celebrated on October 15.
Nonetheless, state has taken all due care to include personalities from all section of life in the list but has categorically avoided inclusion of Maulana Azad who happened to be India’s first Education Minister and a recipient of the posthumous Bharat Ratna award. He had laid the foundation of the major cultural and literary academies we have today including the first IIT, UGC Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy as well as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and School of Planning and Architecture during his tenure of 11 years as a Minister.
In November, last year the HRD ministry’s silence on Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s birth anniversary has sparked outrage among educationists, historians and a section of government officials. The UGC, which sends out circulars and notices on the behest of the HRD ministry, instructs universities, colleges and educational institutions to conduct events to mark various occasions, did not issue any such directive to universities to observe the Azad’s birth anniversary.