Maulana Azad started the Urdu weekly

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MAULANA ABUL KALAM AZAD (1888-1958) was named Firoz Bakht at birth but was known in his youth as Muhiyuddin Ahmad and later adopted the pseudonym of ’Abul Kalam Azad’. He was descended from a family which tame from Herat to India in Babar’s time and among his ancestors were well-known scholars and administrators. Two years after his birth in 1888 in Mecca where his father Maulana Khairuddin had migrated after the 1857 Revolt, the family moved and settled in Calcutta. Azad was educated at home by his lather and by private tutors. His political awakening was stimulated by the partition (later annulled) of Bengal in 1905. He travelled extensively in Iraq, Egypt,Turke\ and France and had planned to visit London but his father’s illness obliged him to return home in 1908.
Maulana Azad started the Urdu weekly Al Hilal at Calcutta in July

1912. He opposed the Aligarh line of remaining aloof from the freedom movement. With the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, the journal was banned under the Press Act. He then started another Urdu weekly Al Balagh, also from Calcutta, in November 1915, and this continued to be published, until March 1916 when Azad was externed under the Defence of India Regulations. The governments of Bombay, Punjab, Delhi and the United Provinces banned his entry, and he went to Bihai. He was interned in Ranchi until

1 January 1920.
After his release A/ad was elected President of the All India Khilafat Committee (at the Calcutta session, 1920), and of the Unity Conference at Delhi in 1924. He presided over the Nationalist Muslims Conference in 1928. He was elected President of the Indian National Congress in 1923, and again in 1940, and continued to hold this office until 1946. He led the negotiations on behalf of the Congress Party with the jV’Ush Cabinet Mission in 1946. Later he joined free India’s first goven wient as Minister for Education, a post he held until his death on 22 February 1958.
Among his other published works are Al-Bayan (1915) and Tarjuman-ul-Quran (1933-1936) which are commentaries, Tazkirah

(1916) an autobiographical work and GHubar-i-Khatir (1943), a collection of letters, all in Urdu.

HUMAYUN KABIR (1906-1969): After a distinguished academic career at the Calcutta and Oxford Universities, he served as lecturer first at the Andhra University at Waltair and then at Calcutta University, 1933-^45. In 1937, he was elected to the Bengal Legislative Council as leader of the Peasants Party. In 1946 Azad selected him to serve as his secretary and he was therefore closely associated with Azad. He served as Educational Adviser to the Government of India until 1956 when he resigned and was elected to Parliament as a member of the Congress Party in 1957. He was appointed Minister \for Civil Aviation (1957-58), for Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs (1958-63), and for Petroleum and Chemicals (1963-68). The author of more than twenty books in English and Bangla on philosophy, literature, politics and culture, he also published two novels and three volumes of verse.
Publishers’ Note
When the manuscript of India Wins Freedom was handed over to us for publication by the late Professor Humayun Kabir in September 1958, seven months after Maulana Azad’s sudden death, we were informed that a fuller version containing additional material of about thirty pages would be made available to us for publication on 22 February

1988, the thirtieth death anniversary of Maulana Azad.

However, when the time came, the handing over of the complete text got delayed because of various issues raised by persons claiming an interest in the matter. These issues were heard by the Calcutta High Court, the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, before Justice B.N. Kirpal of the Delhi High Court directed on 29 September 1988 that a copy each of the text deposited in the National Library, Calcutta, and in the National Archives, New Delhi, be handed over to Orient Longman on 29 September 1988. The court further directed that the material should be reproduced without any alteration, after comparing the copies to ensure that they were identical. This has been
On examining the material, it became apparent that the additional matter was not just an extra thirty pages as generally believed but was to be found scattered throughout the text. Also, apart from phrases, sentence sequences and

series of passages left out of the published text, tfye original text had been modified at many places by Professor Kabir’s editorial intervention (see his note in Appendix 1).

The present edition now gives the full text as found in the copies released to us. Major additions to the earlier version are indicated by asterisks at the beginning and at the end. The ’Prospectus of the First Volume’ as published in the first edition has been retained. The appendixes included in that edition have also been reproduced.
October 1988.
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Preface to the 1959 Edition

When a little over two years ago I approached Maulana Azad with the request that he should write his autobiography, I never for a moment thought that it would be my melancholy duty to write a preface for the volume. He did not like to talk about his personal life and was at first reluctant to undertake the work. It was with great difficulty that he could be persuaded that, as one of the principal actors in the transfer of power from British to Indian hands, he owed a duty to posterity to record his reading of those memorable times. His reluctance was also partly due to his shattered health. He felt that he needed all his energies to cope with the burden of work imposed on him by inescapable political and administrative tasks. He finally agreed on my assuring him that I would do my best to relieve him of the actual burden of writing. This would of course mean that the Indian people would be denied the privilege of reading his autobiography in his own words. Indian literature in general and Urdu in particular would be the poorer for this, but even a version in English written under his direction would be better than no record at all.
I think it necessary to describe in some detail how the work has been composed. During these last two years or so, I spent on an average an hour or more every evening with Maulana Azad, except on those occasions when I had to go

out of Delhi. He was a wonderful conversationalist and used to describe his experiences in vivid terms. I made fairly copious notes and also asked questions for clarification of a point or elicitation of further information. He consistently refused to speak on personal matters, but on all questions relating to public affairs, he spoke with the utmost frankness and sincerity. When I had collected sufficient material for a chapter, I prepared a draft in English which I handed over to him at the earliest opportunity. He read each chapter by himself and then we went over it together. At this stage, he made many amendments by addition and alteration, as well as by omission. We proceeded in this way till I was able to give him the first draft of the completed book in September 1957.

When he had the completed text in his hands, Maiilana Azad decided that some thirty pages of the text dealing with incidents and reflections mainly of a personal character should not be published for the present. He directed that a copy each of the complete text should be deposited under sealed cover in the National Library, Calcutta, and the National Archives, New Delhi. He was, however, anxious that the exclusion of these passages should not in any way alter either the outline of his picture or his general findings. I carried out the changes according to his instructions and was able to present to Maulana Azad the revised and abridged draft towards the end of November 1957.
He went through it once again during the period when I was away in Australia. After my return we went through the manuscript chapter by chapter and indeed sentence by sentence. He made some minor alterations, but there was no major change. In some cases, a chapter was thus revised three or four times. On Republic Day this year, Maulana A/ad said th?t he was satisfied with the manuscript and it could now be sent to the printer*. The book as now released represents the text as finally approved by him.
It was Maulana Azad’s wish that the book should appear in November 1958 to synchronise with his seventieth
Preface to the 1959 edition Prospectus 1
1 Congress in Office 14
2 War in Europe 26
3 I Become Congress President 29
4 A Chinese Interlude -41
5 The Cripps Mission 46
6 Uneasy Interval 70
7 Quit India 83
8 Ahmednagar Fort Jail 91
9 The Simla Conference 107
10 General Elections 126
11 The British Cabinet Mission 745
12 The Prelude to Partition 161
13 The Interim Government 174
14 The Mountbatten Mission 795
15 f he End of a Dream 208
16 Divided India Epilogue 243 Appendixes 249 Index 277

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Gandhiji and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, 1946.

birthday. Fate however willed otherwise and he will not be with us to see the book when it appears.

As I have already stated, Maulana Azad was not in the beginning very willing to undertake the preparation-of this. book. As the book progressed his interest grew. In the last six months or so, he rarely missed an evening for the preparation of the manuscript. He was extremely reticent about his personal life, but in the end he volunteered to write a first volume which would have covered the earlier phases of his life and brought the story up to 1937. He did in fact approve a synopsis which, according to his own wishes, is included in this volume as its first chapter. He had also intended to write a third volume to deal with events since 1948. Unfortunately for us, these volumes will now never be writien.
The work in connection with this book has been for me a labour of love and I shall feel happy if it helps in forwarding an object that was very dear to Maulana Azad’s heart. This is the promotion of greater understanding among the different Indian communities as a first step towards greater understanding among peoples of the world. He also wished that the people of India and Pakistan should look upon one another as friends and neighbours. He regarded the Indian Council for Cultural Relations as an instrument for the achievement of this object and in his Presidential Address to the Council - his last prepared and printed speech - he made a fervent appeal for the strengthening of the bonds of understanding and sympathy between the people of these two States which till only a decade ago had been one undivided country. I feel that there can be no better use of any income derived from this book than to make it available to the Council for promoting better understanding among the different communities which live in India and Pakistan. Apart from a share to be paid to his nearest surviving relatives, royalties from this book will therefore go to the Council for the annual award of two prizes for the best essay on Islam by a non-Muslim and on Hinduism by a Muslim citizen of India or Pakistan. In view of Mauiana Azad’s great

love and consideration for the young, the competition will be restricted to persons of thirty or below on 22 February in any year.

Before I conclude, I wish to make one other thing perfectly clear. There are opinions and judgments in this book with which I do not agree, but since my function was only to record Maulana Azad’s findings, it would have been highly improper to let my views colour the narrative. When he was alive, I often expressed my differences to him, and with the open-mindedness which was so strong an element in his nature, he has at times modified his views to meet my criticisms. At other times, he smiled in his characteristic way and said, ’These are my views and surely I have the right to express them as I will.’ Now that he is no more, his views must stand in the form in which he left them.
It is difficult for any man to reflect with complete accuracy the views and opinions of another. Even when both use the same language, the change of one word may alter the emphasis and bring about a subtle difference in the shade of meaning. The difference in the genius of Urdu and English makes the task of interpreting Maulana Azad’s thoughts still more difficult. Urdu like all other Indian languages is rich, colourful and vigorous. English, on the other hand, is essentially a language of understatement. And when the speaker is a master of Urdu like Maulana Azad, the plight of the writer who seeks to express his thoughts in English can easily be imagined. In spite of these difficulties, I have tried to reflect as faithfully as I could the views of Maulana Azad, and I regard myself as richly rewarded by the fact that the text had met with his approval.
New Delhi,

15 March 1958
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My forefathers came to India from Herat m Habar’s days. They first settled in Agra and later moved to Delhi. It was a scholarly family and in Akbar’s time, Maulana Jamaluddin became famous as a religious divine. After him, the family became more inclined to worldly affairs and several members occupied important civil positions. In Shahjehan’s days, Mohammad Hadi was appointed Governor of the Agra Fort.
My father’s maternal grandfather was Maulana Munawaruddin. He was one of the last Rukn-ul Mudarassin of the Mughu! period. This post had been first created in Shahjehan’s time and was intended to supervise the activities of the State for the promotion of learning and scholarship. The officer had to administer gifts of lands, endowments and pensions to scholars and teachers and could be compared to a Director of Education in the modern world. Mughul power had by this time declined but these major posts were still retained.
My grandfather died while my father Maulana Khairuddin was still very young. My father was therefore brought up by his maternal grandfather. Two years before the Mutiny, Maulana Munawaruddin was disgusted with the state of affairs in India and decided to migrate to Mecca. When he reached Bhopal, Nawab Sikandar Jehan Begum detained him. TheMutiny started while he was still in Bhopal and for two years he could not leave the place. He then came to Bombay but he could nor, go to Mecca as death overtook him there.
My father was then about twentyfive. He proceeded to Mecca and settled there. He built a house for himself and married Sheikh Mohammed Zaher Watri’s daughter. Sheikh Mohammed Zaher was a great scholar of Medina whose fame


had travelled outside Arabia. My father* also became well known throughout the Islamic world after-an Arabic work of his in ten volumes was published in Egypt. He came to Bombay several times and once came to Calcutta. In both places many became his admirers and disciples. He had also toured extensively in Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
In Mecca, the Nahr Zubeida was the main source of water for the people. This was constructed by Begum Zubeida, the wife of Khalif Harun-al-Rashid. In course of time, the canal had deteriorated and there was a great shortage of water in the city. This scarcity was acutest during the Haj and pilgrims had to face great difficulties. My. father had this nahr repaired. He raised a fund of twenty lakhs in India, Egypt, Syria and Turkey and improved the canal in such a way that the Bedwin did not have an opportunity of damaging it again. Sultan Abdul Majid was the Emperor of Turkey and in recognition of his services, awarded him the first class Majidi medal.
I was born in Mecca in 1888. In 1890, my father came to Calcutta with the whole family. Some time back he had fallen down in Jedda and broken his shin bone. It had been set, but not well, and he was advised that the surgeons in Calcutta could put it right. He had intended to stay only for a short time but his disciples and admirers would not let him go. A year after we came to Calcutta, my mother died and was buried there.
My father was a man who believed in the old ways of life. He had no faith in western education and never thought of giving me an education of the modern type. He held that modern education would destroy religious faith and arranged for my education in the old traditional manner.
The old system of education for Muslims in India was that the boys were first taught Persian and then Arabic. When they had acquired some proficiency in the language, they were taught philosophy, geometry, mathematics and algebra in Arabic. A course of Islamic theology was also required as an essential part of such education. My father had me taught at home, as he did not like to send me td.any Madrasa. There was of course the Calcutta Madrasa, but my father did not have a very high opinion of it. At first he taught me
himself. Later he appointed different teachers for different subjects. He wished me to he taught by the most eminent scholar in each field.
Students who followed the traditional system of education normally finished their course at the age between twenty and twentyfive. This included a period when the young scholar had to teach pupils and thus prove that he had acquired mastery over what he had learnt. I was able to complete the course by the time I was sixteen, and my father got together some fifteen students to whom I taught higher philosophy, mathematics and logic.
It was soon after this that I first came across the writings of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. I was greatly impressed by his views on modern education. I realised that a, man could $yot be truly educated in the modern world unless he studied modern science, philosophy and literature. I decided that I must learn English. I spoke to Maulvi Mohammed Yusuf Jafri who was then the chief examiner of the Oriental course of studies. He taught me the English alphabet and gave me Peary Churan Sarkar’s First Book. As soon as I gained some knowledge of the language, I started to read the Bible. I secured English, Persian and Urdu versions of the book and read them side by side. This helped me greatly in understanding the text. I also started to read English newspapers with the help of a dictionary. In this way, I soon acquired enough knowledge to read English books and devoted myself specially to the study of history and philosophy.
This was a period of great mental crisis for me. I was born into a family which was deeply imbued with religious traditions. All the conventions of traditional life were accepted without question and the family did not like the least deviation from orthodox ways. I could not reconcile myself with the prevailing customs and beliefs and my heart was full of a new sense of revolt The ideas I had acquired from my family and early training could no longer satisfy me. I felt that I must find the truth for myself. Almost instinctively I began to move out of my family orbit and seek my own path.
The first thing which troubled me was the exhibition of difference among the different sects of Muslims. I could

not understand why they should be so opposed to one another when all of them claimed to derive their inspiration from the same source. Nor could I reconcile myself with the dogmatic assurance with which each sect branded the others as mistaken and heretical. These differences among the orthodox schools began to raise doubts in my mind concerning religion itself. If religion expresses a universal truth, why should there be such differences and conflicts among men professing different religions? Why should each religion claim to be the sole repository of truth and condemn all others as false?
For two or three years, this unrest continued and I longed to find a solution of my doubts. I passed from one phase to another arid a stage came when all the old bonds imposed on my mind by family and upbringing were completely shattered, I felt free of all conventional ties and decided that I would chalk out my own path, h was about this time that I decided to adopt the pen name ’Azad’ or ’Free’ to indicate that I was no longer tied to my inherited beliefs. I propose to give a more detailed account of these changes in the first volume of my autobiography.
This was also the period when my political ideas began to change. Lord Curzon was then the Viceroy of India. His imperialist attitude and administrative measures raised the Indian political unrest to new heights. The disturbance was most marked in Bengal, as Lord Curzon paid special attention to this province. It was politically the most advanced part of India, and the Hindus of Bengal had taken a leading part in Indian political awakening. In 1905, Lord Curzon decided to partition the province in the belief that this would weaken the Hindus and create a permanent division between the Hindus and the Muslims of Bengal.
Bengal did not take this measure lying down. There was an unprecedented outburst of political and revolutionary enthusiasm. Shri Arabindo Ghosh left Baroda and came to Calcutta to make it the centre of his activities. His paper Karmayogin became a symbol of national awakening and revolt.
It was during this period that I came into contact with Shri Shyam Sunder Chakravarty, who was one of the important
revolutionary workers of the day. Through him I met other revolutionaries. I remember I met Shri Arabindo Ghosh on two or three occasions. The result was that I was attracted to revolutionary politics and joined one of the groups.
In those days the revolutionary groups were recruited exclusively from the Hindu middle classes. In fact all the revolutionary groups were then actively anti-Muslim. They saw that the British Government was using the Muslims against India’s political struggle and the Muslims were playing the Government’s game. East Bengal had become a separate province and Bamfield Fuller, who was then Lieutenant-Governor, openly said that the Government looked upon the Muslim community as its favourite wife. The revolutionaries felt that the Muslims were an obstacle to the attainment of Indian freedom and must, like other obstacles, be removed.
One other factor was responsible for the revolutionaries’ dislike of Muslims. The Government felt that the political awakening among the Hindus of Bengal was so great that no Hindu officer could be fully trusted in dealing with these revolutionary activities. They therefore imported a number of Muslim officers from the United Provinces for the manning of the Intelligence Branch of the Police. The result was that the Hindus of Bengal began to feel that Muslims as such were against political freedom and against the Hindu community. When Shyam Sunder Chakravarty introduced me to other revolutionaries and my new friends found that I was willing to join them, they were greatly surprised. At first they did not fully trust me and tried to keep me outside their inner councils. In course of time they realised their mistake and I gained their confidence. I began to argue with them that they were wrong in thinking that Muslims as a community were their enemies. I told them that they should not generalise from their experience of a few Muslim officers in Bengal. In Egypt, Iran and Turkey the Muslims were engaged in revolutionary activities for the achievement of democracy and freedom. The Muslims of India would also join in the political struggle if w^wprked among them and tried to win them as our friends. I also pointed out that active hostility, or even the indifference of Muslims, would make the struggle


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