Abul Kalam Muhiyuddin Ahmed Azad was an Indian scholar and a senior political leader of the Indian independence movement. Following India's independence, he became the first Minister of Education in the Indian government. In 1992 he was posthumously awarded India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. There is also a theory which suggests that earlier when he was offered Bharat Ratna he promptly declined it saying that it should not be given to those who have been on the selection committee. Later he was awarded posthumously in 1992. He is commonly remembered as Maulana Azad; the word Maulana is an honorific meaning 'learned man', and he had adopted Azad as his pen name. His contribution to establishing the education foundation in India is recognised by celebrating his birthday as "National Education Day" across India.
As a young man, Azad composed poetry in Urdu language, as well as treatises on religion and philosophy. He rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, publishing works critical of the British Raj and espousing the causes of Indian nationalism. Azad became the leader of the Khilafat Movement, during which he came into close contact with the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. Azad became an enthusiastic supporter of Gandhi's ideas of non-violent civil disobedience, and worked to organise the non-co-operation movement in protest of the 1919 Rowlatt Acts. Azad committed himself to Gandhi's ideals, including promoting Swadeshi products and the cause of Swaraj for India. In 1923, at an age of 35, he became the youngest person to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress.