Abdul Qaiyum Ansari was a freedom fighter, a selfless servant of the people, one of the loudest voices of communal harmony. He protested against the demand of Muslim league for the creation of a separate Muslim nation. He played a significant role pre and post independence in various positions in organisations and government.
Boycotted the british
Ansari was born in a wealthy Muslim family of the Momins. In spite of getting opportunities to become a successful professional he chose to involve himself in India’s freedom struggle. He was studying in government run school at his hometown Dehri-on-Sone in Bihar. But his principles didn’t allow him to study in government school because of the prevalent British government. He established a national school for the students who had boycotted government schools in response to Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements. For this, he was arrested and imprisoned at an early age of 16.
Multi talented freedom fighter
Later, he went on to pursue studies in Aligarh University, Calcutta University and Allahabad University but his studies were interrupted because of active participation in freedom movements. He worked closely with the Indian National Congress throughout as a youth leader and even took part in the students’ agitation against the Simon Commission during its visit to Calcutta in 1928. He was also an accomplished journalist, writer and a poet. He was the editor of Urdu weekly ‘Al-Islah” and a monthly “Musawat” in the pre-independence era.
Momin Movement – Challenging the Muslim League
To oppose the communal policies of the Muslim League and the idea of dividing the nation, Ansari spearheaded the Momin Movement in 1937. Under this banner he worked for the social, political, and also economic emancipation and upliftment of the backward Momin community which was at least half of India’s Muslim population then. They actively participated in the freedom struggle along with the Congress party.
Under this movement, he fought for the establishment and development of social equality and communal harmony with the idea of an united India. 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 in 1946 against the Muslim League ands won six seats in the Bihar Provincial Assembly. Thus he became the first Momin to become a Minister of Bihar and for 17 years he held important portfolios in the cabinet of Bihar. Later Momin Conference was transformed into a social and economic organisation.
Post-Independence era – Champions the cause of poor and education
During Pakistan’s aggression on Kashmir in October 1947, he was the first Muslim leader to condemn the event and founded the Indian Muslim Youth Kashmir Front to stand for and liberate Kashmir from Pakistan’s aggression.
In his life, he has always tried to champion the cause of poor and downtrodden section of the society. He worked relentlessly for the spread of education and literacy. It was under his initiative, the All India Backward Classes Commission was appointed by the Government of India in 1953.