Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday that freedom movement icon Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a passionate advocate of the unity of India and a totally secular leader. He said Azad opposed Partition even after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru had reconciled to it.
He was an Indian and a Muslim. He was a nationalist,patriot and totally secular. More than anyone else he was able to foresee the consequences of the two-nation theory. He was a passionate advocate,until the very last,of the unity of India, Chidambaram said after releasing two special coins of Rs 20 and Rs 5 to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Azad.
Lord Mountbatten was extremely intelligent and could read the minds of all his Indian colleagues. The moment he found Patel amenable to his idea,he used the charm and power of his personality to win over the Sardar. As soon as Sardar Patel was convinced,he turned his attention to Jawaharlal. Jawaharlal was not at all willing at first and reacted violently to the very idea of partition,but Lord Mountbatten persisted, he quoted from Azads book India Wins Freedom.
When I (Azad) became aware that Lord Mountbatten was thinking of dividing India and had persuaded Jawaharlal and Patel,I was deeply distressed. I realised that the country was moving towards a great danger. Now that Sardar Patel and even Jawaharlal Nehru had become supporters of partition,Gandhiji remained my only hope…. But when I met Gandhiji again,I received the greatest shock of my life,for I found that he too had changed. He was still not openly in favour of partition but he no longer spoke so vehemently against it, the Finance Minister quoted further.
He (Azad) was able to reflect the true feelings of millions of people within and outside the Congress party. He always fought for the unity and independence of India and for love and brotherhood among all communities,particularly Hindus and Muslims, Chidambaram said.
Earlier in the day,BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi praised Azad and Acharya Kriplani on their birth anniversaries. Attacking the Congress in a blog entry,he said certain historical figures had been erased from public memory just because they did not belong to a particular family. Just because they did not belong to a particular family,should we erase them from public memory or remember them less, Modi asked.