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National Archives of India Acquires Invaluable Collection of Shri Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

The National Archives of India (NAI) has acquired a priceless collection of private papers and original correspondences belonging to the late Shri Rafi Ahmad Kidwai, a prominent figure in India’s freedom struggle and nation-building efforts. This acquisition ensures the preservation of a significant part of our nation’s history and the legacy of a remarkable leader.

A Trove of Historic Correspondences

The collection comprises original correspondences between Shri Kidwai and other eminent leaders, including Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, and P.D. Tandon. These invaluable documents provide insights into the thoughts, strategies, and collaborative efforts of these leaders during the pivotal era of India’s independence movement.

Custodians of National Heritage

As the custodian of non-current records of the Government of India, the NAI holds these historical documents in trust for the benefit of administrators, researchers, and the general public, as per the provisions of the Public Record Act 1993. The acquisition of Shri Kidwai’s private papers further enriches NAI’s diverse collection of records from eminent Indians across various fields, who have made significant contributions to the nation.

Rafi Ahmad Kidwai: A Life Dedicated to India

Born on February 18, 1894, in Masauli, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Rafi Ahmad Kidwai hailed from a middle-class zamindar family. His political journey began in 1920 with his involvement in the Khilafat Movement and the Non-Cooperation Movement, leading to his imprisonment. Kidwai served as the Private Secretary to Motilal Nehru and held significant positions in the Congress Legislative Assembly and the United Provinces Congress Committee.

Post-independence, Kidwai served as India’s first Minister for Communications in Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet, launching initiatives like the “own your telephone” service and night air mail. Later, he took charge of the Food and Agriculture portfolio, successfully tackling food rationing challenges with his administrative skills.

A Legacy of Innovation and Dedication

Kidwai’s dedication to liberating India and strengthening the nation remained unwavering throughout his political career. His contributions were recognized with the creation of the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 1956.

As Communication Minister, Kidwai earned a reputation for innovation and effectiveness, while his leadership in the Food Ministry was hailed as a triumph over adversity, earning him the moniker of a “magician” and a “miracle man.”

Rafi Ahmed Kidwai embodied action and dedication in his pursuit of Indian independence and later in his administrative roles. His ability to swiftly address crises and implement innovative solutions highlights his remarkable leadership qualities. His contributions to various sectors, from communications to agriculture, left a lasting impact on the nation’s development.

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