Anand Swarup Shukla, Uttar Pradesh Minister, has kicked up a controversy by claiming that the country’s first Education Minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, did not believe in ‘Bharat and Bhartiyata’.
“I have no hesitation in saying that in the heart of Abul Kalam Azad, there was no ‘Bharat aur Bhartiyata’ (India and Indianness),” the minister said while addressing a function in Ballia.
“When Kashmiri Pandits requested Guru Tegh Bahadur to help them from the hands of Aurangzeb, who was pressurizing them to embrace Islam, the Guru went there and he was beheaded by Aurangzeb.
“These facts were removed from history, apparently at the behest of the first education minister. The only thing which is there is that Akbar was great despite the fact that Ain-i-Akbari and historians of that time never considered him great,” Shukla said to prove his point.
Maulana Azad’s real name was Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin. He became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress at the age of 35 in 1923. He was the most prominent Muslim leader to oppose the creation of Pakistan.
Azad was one of the main organizers of the Dharasana Satyagraha in 1931 which was a protest against the British salt tax in colonial India in May 1930.
He emerged as one of the most important national leaders of the time, prominently leading the causes of Hindu-Muslim unity as well as espousing secularism and socialism.
He served as Congress president from 1940 to 1945, during which the Quit India rebellion was launched. Azad was imprisoned, together with the entire Congress leadership.