The Untold Story Of Stalwart And Patriot Of India’s First Cabinet

Al Arafat Sherfuddeen

April 20th, 2016

Image Courtesy: thehindu

Rafi Ahmed Kidwai – he was one of the most respected freedom fighters, an able and respected leader who had shown exemplary man management and problem-solving skills during his tenure when he was a communications minister and also served as the  Food and Agriculture minister. During his time as minister, he was widely credited in bringing about worthy initiatives and implementation of laws. To his credit, many statues, streets and institutes are named after him.

Rafi Ahmed Kidwai was born on February 18, 1894, in the village of Masauli in Barabanki District of Uttar Pradesh to a middle class zamindar family. His father, Imtiaz Ali Kidwai was a zamindar and a government servant by profession. In 1916, Kidwai enrolled into the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh to pursue his graduation. It was in the December of 1916 that his uncle made sure he participated in the historic session of the Congress party and the Muslim League party held at Lucknow. It was at this session that the Congress-Muslim league Pact was signed. In 1918, he successfully completed his B.A degree.


Political career – Pre – Independence
It was by 1920, Kidwai became an active force behind the Khilafat Movement and the Non-Cooperation Movement when he was jailed for the same. In 1922, he moved to Allahabad after being released from jail and served as the private secretary to Motilal Nehru. In 1926, Kidwai was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly of the British India and thus he became one of the pivotal figure of the freedom movement, in the assembly pre-independence and in the Congress. The Government of India Act, 1935, made him a minister-in-charge of managing the revenues and jail portfolios in Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant’s cabinet in the United Provinces when congress government was set up.


Political career – Post-independence
After independence, Kidwai became India’s first Minister for Communication in Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet. Kidwai, along with Abul Kalam Azad, were the two Muslims in Nehru’s central cabinet. He  launched night air mail service as a minister for communications. After the first general elections in 1952, Kidwai was entrusted with the food and agriculture portfolio.


The Logical Indian lauds Mr. Kidwai for his immense contribution to the country. Kidwai’s love for the country and commitment and desire to oust the British was firm. Kidwai, through his policies and politics, pre and post independence, has occupied a special place in the history and hearts of India and Indians.

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