From the Movie 'Gandhi', Mawlana's character is wearing sunglasses, sitting next to Viscount Mountbatten
“I am Muslim and profoundly conscious of the fact that I have inherited Islam’s glorious tradition of the last thirteen hundred years. I am not prepared to lose even a small part of that legacy. The history and teachings of Islam, its art and letters, its culture and civilization are part of my wealth and it is my duty to guard and cherish them. But, with all these feelings, I have another equally deep realization, born out of my life’s experience, which is strengthened and not hindered by the Islamic spirit. I am equally proud of the fact that I am Indian, an essential part of the indivisible unity of the Indian nationhood, a vital factor in its total makeup, without which this noble edifice will remain incomplete. I can never give up this sincere claim. (Presidential Address I.N.C Ramgarth, 1940)”
GANDHI. The breadth of his vision is difficult for me to put down to words, so there is nothing better than to quote the Mahatma himself who said, “Maulana Azad is the most forceful, truthful, and fearless satyagrahi and fighter against oppression and injustice that I have come across”.
He was a leader of great stature, and as a fighter for the freedom and independence of India, he was jailed together with Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and others for six years. In 1993, Mawlana Abul Kalam Azad was posthumously awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
The Mawlana is a man after your own heart – He stood for the unity of man, when politics were causing division between Muslims and Hindus, he stood for hope, when all were despairing to find any peace in post-British India, and above all, he was a man of God, his words and action reflecting his deep and profound understanding of the Most Beloved God, Lord of all Mankind…
“In all that a Muslim does, it should be a rule of action that he help whoever that may be doing good, even if a non-Muslim or an opponent, and avoid helping whoever may be doing evil, even if a Muslim and a companion… even if an idolater honour and worship God in his own way, he should not be shown disrespect, for the honour and worship of God, is, in any event, the honour and worship of God.”
When he passed away in 22nd February 1958, India and the world lost a shining beacon of Truth, Love and humanity. But he is still speaking, you see. His words ring with such compassion and humanity that the Lord of Words shall not allow such a man, such a voice to be still merely by the happenstance of death. He is often in my thoughts, and I hope that he is now in yours too. Oh, by the way, ‘Azad’ is his adopted pen name. It means Free.
So, go forth, sunshine! Exercise your freedom as the Mawlana once did, and just like he, remember… always choose love, charity, unity and compassion. Your example will lead sinners like me to some good, Godwilling.
Footnote: As and when I shall continue writing about him, because really, a single posting does him no justice whatsoever. Here are some news / blogs links on the Mawlana that you may wish to read, Ummid, pilot-pooja, and 4to40.