Happy Birthday Ghulam Nabi Azad: The boy from Chenab Valley


Ghulam Nabi Azad, an Indian politician from the Indian National Congress, was born on 7 March 1949.

Azad was born in a village called Soti of tehsil Gandoh (Bhalessa) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district.

After attending a local school, he moved to Jammu for higher studies and received his bachelor’s of Science degree from G.G.M. Science College

Further more he also received a Master’s in Zoology degree from the University of Kashmir, Srinagar in1972

Azad started his political career soon after working as the secretary for the Block Congress Committee in Bhalessa in 1973.

Two years later, he was nominated as the President of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Youth Congress. In 1980, he was appointed as the President of the All-India Youth Congress

After being elected to the Seventh Lok Sabha from Maharashtra’s Washim (Lok Sabha constituency) in 1980, Azad entered into the Central government as Deputy Minister in charge of Law, Justice and Company Affairs Ministry in 1982.

Azad married Shameem Dev Azad, a well known Kashmiri singer, in 1980, and they have a son Saddam Nabi Azad and a daughter Sofiya Nabi Azad

Subsequently, he was elected to the Eighth Lok Sabha in 1984 and was a member (1990 – 1996) from Maharashtra in Rajya Sabha.

During Rao’s government, Azad took charge of Parliamentary Affairs and Civil Aviation ministries.

Between June 1991 and January 1993 Azad was union parliamentary affair minister. His brother-in-law Tassaduq Dev was kidnapped by Al Umar Mujahideen in January 1992. Three jailed Islamic terrorists of Al Umar were released in exchange for Dev on January 17

He was elected to Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir during the term of 30/11/1996 to 29/11/2002 and 30/11/2002 to 29/11/2008, but resigned on 29/04/2006 as he became Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on 2 November 2005.

Following Shri Amarnath Land row, Azad resigned on 7 July 2008, and later left office on 11 July 2008

In the second United Progressive Alliance Government, led by Dr. Manmohan Singh, Azad, was sworn in as the Health Minister of India.

He was elected to Rajya Sabha for 4th term and 3rd term from Jammu and Kashmir during the term of 30/11/1996 to 29/11/2002.

He vowed to expand the National Rural Health Mission, which has mobilized half a million health workers, all across India, and later his ministry also launched a National Urban Health Mission, to serve the slum dwelling urban poor.

He had suggested a late marriage age of between 25 and 30 for population control, and had said that lack of electricity & thereby absence of TV entertainment in rural areas will cause people to produce more children

In June 2014, after the National Democratic Alliance won a majority in the Lok Sabha and formed the Union government, Azad was appointed as the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, where Congress still held the majority.

In 2015, Azad got re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir, despite the PDP-BJP alliance holding a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly.


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