The Urdu Academy, Jeddah, released the Azad Souvenir — 2011 at a function held at the Consulate General of India last week. The event was organized to mark Maulana Azad’s birthday as National Education Day. The chief guest of the event was Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai and the guest of honor was Dr. M. S. Karimuddin, recipient of Pravasi Bharat Samman award for 2010. Kidwai, while lauding the efforts and activities of Urdu Academy, revealed the successful representation by the academy to the government of India on proclaiming the birthday of Maulana Azad as National Education Day. The diplomat also asked the audience to inform him about the locality and house in Makkah where Azad was born, as he has received a letter from India in this regard. He said Maulana Azad’s clean personality could be understood by the fact that despite being the education minister for 11 years, he left no assets when he died. “Only a Fiat car used by him was his legacy and that too was bought by him on a bank loan. The bank wanted to repossess it after his death, but a Maulana Azad admirer paid the required amount and settled the bank loan,” Kidwai said in his anecdotal speech. Karimuddin praised the Urdu Academy for a well-organized program. He said that he was a fan of the Urdu language and hoped to join the academy to learn to speak this sweet language fluently. In his welcome address, Academy President Jamal Qadri elaborated on the group’s efforts from 2001 in trying to celebrate Maulana Azad’s birthday as National Education Day. “Since 2001, the Academy has been conducting the Education Day every year and a resolution was passed and sent to the government requesting this dedication,” he said. The students spoke on the great leader and his achievements and speeches were delivered on the given topics. IISJ (Boys), IISJ (Girls), DPS (Boys), DPS (Girls), Warood (Boys) Dawha ul Uloom (Girls) and Novel School (Boys) participated. The English speech contest was won by Kiran Rana Prakash of DPS with a cash award of SR1,000 with shield and certificate, followed by Saad Naseem of DPS (shield and certificate) and Najla Alavi of IISJ (shield and certificate). The judges were Ms. Sheeba Askari, Ms. Huma Khan and Ms. Sara Ali. Jameel Sayeed was chief Judge along with Hamed Farooq and Qutubuddin. The Urdu speech contest was won by Syeda Asima Yumna of IISJ (cash award of SR1,000 with shield and certificate), followed by Nada Mir Ali of DPS (shield and certificate) and Mirza Abdullah Baig of IISJ (shield and certificate). The judges for this contest were Syed Ali, Wazir Akhtar and Mubashir Husain Farooqui. Jameel Sayeed was chief Judge along with Hamed Farooq and Qutubuddin. A quiz on Azad, designed by Qutubuddin Qadri, was the hit of the event. This interactive quiz was based on the ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ format. There were four rounds and each team consisting of two students was asked two questions in each round. DPS School (girls) team won the Quiz contest and received a cash award of SR1,000 with shield and certificate. IISJ Boys were second and DPS Boys third.