All you need to know about Padma Vibhushan awardee Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has been given Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award, for his exceptional contribution in the field of spiritualism.
The Centre on Monday released the list of Padma awards on the eve of India's 72nd Republic Day in which it has honoured 119 people for their achievements and contributions to their respective fields of work.
One of the names that is sure to pique interest is that of renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. He has been given Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award, for his exceptional contribution in the field of spiritualism.
Khan first shot to limelight when he gave a clarion call to Muslims to relinquish claims over the disputed Babri Masjid site, one the first community leaders to do so.
He then floated, along with others, the "Vajpayee Himayat (support) Committee", which had extensively campaigned for the former BJP prime minister in the Lucknow constituency in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
Khan is known for his association with Vajpayee and his senior colleague in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) L K Advani.
Khan has contributed articles to the RSS mouthpiece Organiser which presents him "as an enlightened alternative to Islamic fanaticism" for "reportedly counselling Muslims to abandon their claim on Ayodhya".
His verified Facebook page describes the Islamic scholar as, "Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is an Islamic spiritual scholar who has adopted peace as the mission of his life. Known for his Gandhian views, he considers non-violence as the only method to achieve success."
He established Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS) in 2001 to promote and reinforce the culture of peace. The website of the organisation says the Khan was born in Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh in 1925.
Padma awards - conferred in Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri categories - are among the highest civilian awards given in various disciplines/fields like art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, and civil service.