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Muslim Personalities: Abdul Qaiyum Ansari

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Abdul Qaiyum Ansari

An Introduction

Abdul Qaiyum Ansari was a prominent figure in the freedom struggle of India. He was known for his commitment to national integration, secularism and communal harmony. He was a nationalist leader, eminent administrator and a social reformer who worked against the demand of Muslim league for creation of a separate Muslim nation from India as an independent state. 

Birth and Education

He was born at Dehri-on-Sone, Bihar on 1 July 1905. After studying at Sasaram and Dehri-on-Sone High Schools, he went on to attend Aligarh Muslim University, Calcutta University and Allahabad University, though his education was interrupted from time to time due to his active involvement in the struggle for India’s freedom.   

Participation in Indian freedom struggle & pre-independence period works

He was involved in the freedom struggle of India at a very early age and as a part of the same he left the government run school at his home town.  He also took part in the students agitation against the All-White Simon Commission during its visit to Calcutta in 1928.  He established a national school for the students who had boycotted government schools in response to the call of the Indian National Congress. For this he was arrested and imprisoned at the young age of 16 since it amounted to participation in Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements.  He worked closely with the Indian National Congress throughout as a youth leader.
Abdul Qaiyum Ansari was also an accomplished journalist, writer and poet. He was editor of Urdu weekly “Al-Islah” (The Reform) and an Urdu monthly “Musawat” (Equality) in the pre-independence days. 

Opposition to Muslim League

He opposed the policies of the Muslim League. He was against the demand of Muslim League for creation of Pakistan by dividing India. To counter the demand of the Muslim League for a separate Muslim nation he started the Momin Movement in 1937-38. Under this banner he worked for the social, political, and also economic emancipation and upliftment of the downtrodden Muslims.
Momin movement supported the Indian National Congress Party which he perceived to be fighting for freedom for a unitedIndia, and for the establishment and development of social equality, secularism and democracy. He also worked for the welfare of artisan and weavers communities, and for the development of the handloom sector in the textile industry of the country.
His party fought the general elections of 1946 held on the basis of separate electorates and managed to win six seats in the Bihar Provincial Assembly against the Muslim League. Thus he became the first Momin (Ansari) to become a Minister of Bihar. 

Post Independence Efforts

During the aggression of Pakistan on Kashmir in October 1947, he came forward to the first Muslim Leader of India to condemn the same and strenuously worked to rouse the Muslim masses to counter such aggressions as true citizens ofIndia. As an aftermath of this he founded the Indian Muslim Youth Kashmir Front in 1957 for liberation of Pakistani occupied areas of Kashmir.
Eventually he dissolved the Momin Conference as a political body, and made it a social and economic organization. He was a Minister in the Bihar Cabinet for about seventeen years and held various important portfolios and discharged his responsibilities most ably, building up a reputation for honest, selfless service and integrity.
A champion of the poor and downtrodden, Abdul Qaiyum Ansari worked for the spread of education and literacy.  The first All India Backward Classes Commission was appointed by the Government of India in 1953 largely at his initiative. 


Abdul Qaiyum Ansari died on 18 January 1973, at village Amiawar of Bihar, while inspecting damages caused to the village by the collapse of the Dehri-Arrah canal and organizing relief to its homeless people. 


2. Community and Nation by Papiya Ghosh

Copyright 2006 Bihar Anjuman