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Published in the 16-30 Apr 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Centre inaugurated

Pune: After a long wait, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Centre was inaugurated by Maharashtra chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde here sometime ago. This grand building which was constructed with great difficulties in Pune the cultural capital of Maharashtra is a belated tribute to Maulana Azad, the educationist, commentator of the Quran, freedom fighter and one of the tallest statesmen of India.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Centre, Pune

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Memorial Centre, Pune 

Why it took 57 long years to establish the memorial does not carry much weight as the saying goes, "better late than never". The initial credit for it goes to Anis Sinde, former chairman of Pune Corporation's standing committee who made great efforts and which ultimately became possible to set up the memorial in Pune's Goregaon Park.

Alike their brothers in other Indian cities, Muslims in Pune too are somewhat victim of pride and prejudice in the garb of community service. The Muslim Congressmen who are at the beck and call of the Congress bosses and bow down their heads more often in the Congress Bhawan than in the house of God, consider Maulana Azad more as a party asset than a leader of the nation and community. In other words they appear to consider Maulana Azad as their "Copyright".

However, the Centre that has been built at a cost of around Rs 4-5 crore with painstaking efforts of architect Zubair Shaikh and keen interests of PA Inamdar and advocate Ayub Ilahi Bakhsh, demands attention and assistance of the people so as to save it from falling a victim of our traditional community differences.

The bitter truth is that Muslims and non-Muslims alike are generally unaware of the great contributions and sacrifices of Maulana Azad in the evolution and development of independent India. Some people even wrongly call him as "Abdul Kalam" instead of "Abul Kalam".

However, there is a golden chance for Muslims now to address their fellow countrymen through this centre. And it is the responsibility of every individual and group to disseminate and popularise the name and works of Maulana Azad in India and abroad. There is need to hold seminars, conferences and debates in every language on this genius and versatile figure. 

MG Correspondent

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