At a time when India is witnessing a renewed interest on questions of nationalism due to the prevailing political atmosphere in the country, the Department of History, University of Hyderabad organised a webinar on ‘Maulana Azad, Islam and Nationalism.’ Prof. S. Irfan Habib, the former Abul Kalam Azad Chair at the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), was the speaker at the 17th webinar of the ‘UoH History Webinar Series’.


Prof. Habib began by highlighting the relevance of the topic amidst the ongoing debates and contestations on the idea of nationalism. He went on to explain the crucial role played by Maulana Azad in the nationalist struggle.


Prof. S. Irfan Habib

Maulana never went to school and was a “self-taught scholar.” Though initially an ardent believer of his faith and religion, he eventually became a preacher of Hindu-Muslim unity. Prof. Habib explained how the events in Azad’s life shaped his ideas of nationalism. The result of all his life experiences was his ideological transition from an exclusive to inclusive nationalist. Maulana in his later years advocated humanism. He was against communal politics and questioned the fears spread by the Muslim League. Prof. Habib recalled how Maulana inspired many Muslims to stay back in India when the country witnessed large scale massacres and displacements in the aftermath of the partition.


Citing the historical importance of Muslims in the country’s journey, Prof. Habib in his concluding remarks said, “You cannot define India by the majoritarian, communitarian identity.”


Dr. Vijaya Ramadas proposed the vote of thanks.


The session moderated by the Head of the Department, Prof. Bhangya Bhukya, while the Webinar coordinator, Dr. V.J. Varghese, introduced the speaker. The talk was live-streamed via Zoom and YouTube on 12th November at 6 p.m. 


Nimisha S Pradeep, Department of Communication

The video link of the webinar is mentioned below: