National Education Day is celebrated nationwide on November 11th as a mark of respect to Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, a freedom fighter and independent India’s first education minister. He was an excellent orator, poet and a renowned scholar of Urdu, Arabic and Persian. Born as Abdul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin, he strongly advocated universal primary education, free of cost education for all children till the age of 14 and vocational training and technical education and especially education for women. In 1949 in the Central Assembly he said that full consideration has to be given to educating women and their advancement.
Major cultural and literary academies like Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Architecture and the University Grants Commission were established under his tenure. He recommended retention of English language and imparting of primary education in the mother-tongue.
While fighting for the country’s freedom he had started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal to inspire his countrymen to fight for the cause. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1992 for his contribution as an educationist and as a freedom fighter.