Author: Abul Kalam Azad Reviewed by Abdur Rahman India wins freedom is a political autobiography of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad beginning with the introduction of the government of India act by the British India and the events leading to the partition of the Subcontinent. It consists of pages covering sixteen chapters on major political developments and events in the history of undivided India after Maulana Azad was born in Mecca in in a traditional religious family. His father moved to India from Makkah in along with the whole family and settled in Calcutta. Maulana was educated in the traditional system of education for Muslims in India.
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Tottering as it is on its tattered, patchwork platform, the ruling party has found it more and more expedient to hark back to the ancestry of its leader and the political legacy of Jawaharlal and Indira. The Government has contrived to dovetail the centenary with the 40th anniversary of Independence in order to project Nehru as the dominant pillar of nationalism. The censored version had already criticised Nehru for twice insisting on the theoretically correct line instead of pragmatically accommodating the Muslim League in order to diffuse Muslim fears.
The complete version is more strident. Azad firmly castigates Nehru for his "blunders" and repeatedly blames him for giving the League a handle with which to force Partition. Worse, he calls Nehru "impulsive and very amenable to personal influences" - specifically of the Mountbattens and Krishna Menon. The speculation then was right on the dot. The pages were indeed suppressed to avoid embarrassing Nehru. However, the authors could not have calculated on his grandson being in his chair 30 years later.
Heptullah had obtained a court stay against the unsealing last February, demanding details of royalty accounts for the already published version from publishers Orient Longman. Kabir had contracted with Longman in September to publish the censored version. The agreement also gave Longman "firstright" to publish the full text of the papers in Though she had no idea what the manuscript contained, she might just have emerged with credit for saving her leader some political embarrassment. The attendant publicity was in any case welcome, as she has been in the political wilderness since she ceased to be deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha in She was seen to be preventing the nation from access to its legacy.
Though his stern, patrician image did not make for populist charisma, his skill at maintaining political balance and his sturdy upright reputation through the previous two decades placed him among the possible contenders for leadership of free India. Azad would have been happy as long as the nation could just be held together, and he believed he could have managed it.
Indeed, the crux of what he held back in the early version was his bitter regret that he had given up his claim to the top job and, more so, that he had handed his mantle to Nehru and not Patel. Having steered Congress through the Quit India Movement and negotiations with the British Cabinet Mission from to , Azad handed over Congress presidentship to Nehru in , the year the incumbent was asked to form an interim government.
He debunks the popular view that Gandhi backed Nehru. As Azad tells it. Gandhi "was not wholly pleased that I had proposed that Jawaharlal should succeed me. Perhaps he was somewhat inclined towards Sardar Patel". Envisaging League participation, the plan provided for highly autonomous provinces and a weak Centre. Azad is not, however, completely favourable to Patel.
He records that Patel later became the first Congress convert to the two-nation theory after the frustrating experience of trying to work with the League in the interim government. For this, as also for his deliberate failure to protect Muslims during the Partition riots, Azad cannot forgive Patel.
But the one who causes Azad real anguish is undoubtedly Nehru. The following extracts from his memoirs, published for the first time in their original form, reveal the poignant anguish of a nationalist par excellence.
I was anxious that the next president should be one who agreed with my point of view and would carry out the same policy as I had pursued.
After weighing the pros and cons, I came to the conclusion that the election of Sardar Patel would not be desirable in the existing circumstances.
Taking all facts into consideration, it seemed to me that Jawaharlal should be the new president. Accordingly, on April 26,,1 issued a statement proposing his name for the presidentship and appealing to Congressmen that they should elect Jawaharlal unanimously. The turn that events had taken made it almost impossible to expect a peaceful solution I acted according to my best judgement but the way things have shaped since then has made me realise that this was perhaps the greatest blunder of my political life.
I have regretted no action of mine so much as the decision to withdraw from the presidentship of the Congress in this critical juncture. My second mistake was that when I decided not to stand myself, I did not support Sardar Patel. We differed on many issues but I am convinced that if he had succeeded me as Congress President he would have seen that the Cabinet Mission Plan was successfully implemented. He would have never committed the mistake of Jawaharlal which gave Mr Jinnah the opportunity of sabotaging the plan.
I can never forgive myself when I think that if I had not committed these mistakes, perhaps the history of the last ten years would have been different. My statement caused a commotion among Congressmen all over the country. Several important leaders travelled from Calcutta, Bombay and Madras to persuade me to withdraw my statement and allow my name to be put up. Appeals in the press also appeared to the same effect. But I had already taken a decision and did not feel that I should change my view.
He agreed with me that I should not continue as president but he was not wholly pleased that I had proposed that Jawaharlal should succeed me. Some people did propose the names of Sardar Patel and Acharya Kripalani but in the end Jawaharlal was accepted unanimously.
Congress President Jawaharlal Nehru with Mahatma Gandhi Now happened one of those unfortunate events which change the course of history. On July 10, Jawaharlal held a press conference in Bombay in which he made an astonishing statement. Some press representatives asked him whether, with the passing of the resolution by the AICC, the Congress had accepted the plan in toto, including the composition of the interim Government?
Jawaharlal in reply stated that the Congress would enter the Constituent Assembly "completely unfettered by agreements and free to meet all situations as they arise. Jawaharlal replied emphatically that the Congress had agreed only to participate in the Constituent Assembly and regarded itself free to change or modify the Cabinet Mission Plan as it thought best. Naturally Mr Jinnah was not very happy about it. In his speech to the League Council, he had clearly stated that he recommended acceptance only because nothing better could be obtained.
His political adversaries started to criticise him by saying that he had failed to deliver the goods. They accused him that he had given up the idea of an independent Islamic state. They also taunted him that if the League was willing to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan - which denied the right of the Muslims to form a separate state - why had Mr Jinnah made so much fuss about an independent Islamic state?
Perhaps he was somewhat inclined towards Sardar Patel. Mr Jinnah was thus not at all happy about the outcome of the negotiations with the Cabinet Mission.
He immediately issued a statement that this declaration by the Congress President demanded a review of the whole situation. He accordingly asked Liaqat Ali Khan to call a meeting of the League Council and issued a statement to the following effect. The Muslim League Council had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan in Delhi as it was assured that the Congress also had accepted the scheme and the plan would be the basis of the future constitution of India.
Now that the Congress President had declared that the Congress could change the scheme through its majority in the Constituent Assembly, this would mean that the minorities would be placed at the mercy of the majority. Mr Jinnah in his opening speech reiterated the demand for Pakistan as the only course left open to the Muslim League. After three days discussion, the Council passed a resolution rejecting the Cabinet Mission Plan.
It also decided to resort to direct action for the achievement of Pakistan. I was extremely perturbed by this new development. I saw that the scheme for which I had worked so hard was being destroyed through our own action. I felt that a meeting of the Working Committee must immediately be held to review the situation.
Jawaharlal was not at first willing but when I insisted, he agreed. The Working Committee accordingly met on August 8 and reviewed the whole political situation. I pointed out that if we wanted to save the situation, we must make it clear that the statement of the Congress President at the Bombay press conference was his personal opinion and did not conform to the decision of the Congress.
I explained that the view of the Congress was expressed by the resolution passed by the AICC and no individual, not even the Congress President, could change it. Jawaharlal argued that he had no objection if the Working Committee wanted to reiterate that the Cabinet Mission Plan has been accepted by the Congress, but felt that it would be embarrassing to the organisation and also to him personally if the Working Committee passed a resolution that the statement of the Congress President did not represent the policy of the Congress.
August 16,, was a black day not only for Calcutta but for the whole of India. The turn that events had taken made it almost impossible to expect a peaceful solution by agreement between the Congress and the Muslim League. This was one of the greatest tragedies of Indian history and I have to say with the deepest of regret that a large part of the responsibility for this development rests with Jawaharlal. His unfortunate statement that the Congress would be free to modify the Cabinet Mission Plan re-opened the whole question of political and communal settlement.
I have nevertheless to say with regret that this was not the first time that he did immense harm to the national cause. He had committed an almost equal blunder in when the first elections were held under the Government of India Act In these elections, the Muslim League had suffered a great setback throughout the country except in Bombay and the UP When I came to Lucknow for forming the Government, I spoke to both of them.
They assured me that not only would they cooperate with the Congress, but they would fully support the Congress programme. They naturally expected that the Muslim League would have some share in the new Government. The local position was such that neither of them could enter the Government alone. Either both would have to be taken or none. I had therefore held out hopes that both would be taken into the Government Sardar Patel was 50 per cent in favour of partition even before Mountbatten appeared.
It would not perhaps be unfair to say that Vallabhbhai Patel was the founder of Indian partition. After some days, I returned to Allahabad and found to my great regret that Jawaharlal had written to Chaudhari Khaliquzzaman and Nawab Ismail Khan that only one of them could be taken into the ministry.
He had said that the Muslim League party could decide who should be included but in the light of what I have said above, neither was in a position to come in alone. This was a most unfortunate development. All students of Indian politics know that it was from the UP that the League was re-organised. Mr Jinnah took full advantage of the situation and started an offensive which ultimately led to Pakistan. Mountbatten Promotes Partition A truly pathetic situation had developed as a result of our own foolish action in giving Finance to the Muslim League.
Lord Mountbatten took full advantage of the situation. Because of the dissensions among the members, he slowly and gradually assumed full powers. He still kept up the form of a constitutional Governor-General but in fact he started to mediate between the Congress and the League and get his own way. He also began to give a new turn to the political problem and tried to impress on both the Congress and the Muslim League the inevitability of Pakistan. He pleaded in favour of Pakistan and sowed the seeds of the idea in the minds of the Congress members of the Executive Council
India Wins Freedom
He was one of the most prominent Muslim leaders to support Hindu-Muslim unity, opposing the partition of India on communal lines. He is also known for having predicted the future military rule and partition of Pakistan before its independence. He is commonly remembered as Maulana Azad; he had adopted Azad Free as his pen name. His contribution to establishing the education foundation of India is recognised by celebrating his birthday as National Education Day across India.
India Wins Freedom by Abdul Kalam Azad: Certain to be a bombshell
During the Indian Rebellion of , he left India and settled in Mecca. His father Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Khairuddin bin Ahmed Al Hussaini wrote twelve books, had thousands of disciples, and claimed noble ancestry,  while his mother was Sheikha Alia bint Mohammad, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammad bin Zaher AlWatri, himself a reputed scholar from Medina who had a reputation that extended even outside of Arabia. An avid and determined student, the precocious Azad was running a library, a reading room, and a debating society before he was twelve; wanted to write on the life of Al-Ghazali at twelve; was contributing learned articles to Makhzan a literary magazine at fourteen;  was teaching a class of students, most of whom were twice his age, when he was fifteen; and completed the traditional course of study at the age of sixteen, nine years ahead of his contemporaries, and brought out a magazine at the same age. But his views changed considerably when he met ethnicist oriented Sunni revolutionary activists in Iraq  and was influenced by their fervent anti-imperialism and nationalism. Azad initially evoked surprise from other revolutionaries, but Azad won their praise and confidence by working secretly to organise revolutionaries activities and meetings in Bengal , Bihar and Bombay now called Mumbai. Maulana Azad worked for Vakil , a newspaper from Amritsar. Therefore he [Azad] stayed with him [Khan Ata] for five years and was part of the editorial team of the
India Wins Freedom: The Complete Version
There is certainly material critical of other leaders especially Sardar Patel towards the end of the book though the treatment is fairly mature. The book is right on most aspects including the fact that partition was not progress towards peace. The book covers the period in the late s and 40s leading up to the freedom of India. Considerable part of the coverage is the period in the early s when Maulana Azad was the President of the Indian National Congress. The second world war and whether Indians will participate is contentious, with most in the Congress wanting to tie to independence finds detailed discussion. The Quit India movement is launched in