Rafi Ahmed Kidwai is one of the most prominent figures of Indian political history. During his time as minister, he was widely credited with bringing about worthy initiatives and implementation of laws. To his credit, many statues, streets, and institutes are named after him.
A man of courage, he belonged to an Islamic family hailed from the Barabanki District of Uttar Pradesh. After completing his education from Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh, he entered politics through the Khilafat Movement.
When he was a student at the Aligarh Muslim University, he was tagged as a ‘Dangerous Person’ for his open Anti- British ideas. In response to the call given by Mahatma Gandhi, he left Aligarh to join the National Movement. He led the Khilafat Non-Co-operation Movement in Barabanki district. Since then, he played a vital role in the National Movement both at the State level and National levels.
Though he hailed from a Zamindari family, surprisingly and in keeping with his ideology, he gave a call for the abolition of the Zamindari system. Hopeful of changes in the policies of the Indian National Congress, he agreed to enter the Assembly. He won the elections held in 1935 under the leadership of Motilal Nehru and became a minister.
During his tenure as a minister, Rafi Ahmed proposed several reforms. The Indian National Congress assigned to him the responsibility of organizing the Anti War Satyagraha Movement in October 1940, which he discharged successfully.
Rafi Ahmed Kidwai was arrested during that movement. He spent a total period of ten years in the Jails during the National Movement. When most of the leaders were in Jails after the Quit India Movement, the Muslim League started strengthening itself. At that time, he faced the League with all his capabilities. He started the magazine ‘Quami Awaz’ to foil the divisionary tactics of the League and also wrote several articles in newspapers like the ‘National Herald’ to disseminate the secular thoughts. He had enormous respect for the culture of integrity and civilization of India. Thus he dedicated himself to the protection of Indian culture.
In 1969 to honor him, India Post has issued 20 Paisa commemorative Postal Stamp. The design of the stamp is horizontal and it depicts the portrait of late Shri Rafi Ahmad Kidwai at the right side and the left corner depicts the airplane to indicate Night Air Mail Service.
Kidwai died on 24 October 1954 aged 60, while he was still holding office as a Minister. Continuous strenuous work had destroyed his health and he had developed cardiac asthma. He was buried with full state honours in his hometown.