Abul Kalam Azad: "Our languages, our poetry, our literature, our culture, our art, our dress, our manners and customs, the innumerable happenings of our daily life…"

5 Feb

A more extended piece off the beautiful Abul Kalam Azad speech that Mahua Moitra uses in previous post in “Seven Signs of Fascism.” (watch her; she’s amazing) — a passage all of us in the Balkans should memorize too.

It was India’s historic destiny that many human races and cultures and religious faiths should flow to her, that many beliefs take root in her fertile soil, and that many a caravan should find rest here.  One of the last of these caravans was that of the followers of Islam.  We brought our treasures with us, and India too was full of the riches of her own precious heritage.  Full eleven centuries have passed by since then.  Islam has now as great a claim on the soil of India as Hinduism.  If Hinduism has been the religion of the people here for several thousand years, Islam has also been their religion for a thousand years.  Just as a Hindu can say with pride that he is an Indian and follows Hinduism, so also we can say that we are Indians and follow Islam.  I shall enlarge this orbit still further.  The Indian Christian is equally entitled to say with pride that he is an Indian and is following a religion of India, namely Christianity.

Eleven hundred years of common history have enriched India with our common achievement.  Our languages, our poetry, our literature, our culture, our art, our dress, our manners and customs, the innumerable happenings of our daily life, everything bears the stamp of our joint endeavor.  There is indeed no aspect of our life which has escaped this stamp.

The joint wealth is the heritage of common nationality and we do not want to leave it and go to the times when this joint life had not begun.

* From Abul Kalam Azad’s speech, as the president of the Indian National Congress, in 1940

India’s first Prime Minister of Education of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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