Saturday, July 25, 2009

Satyameva Jayathe

These were the two words a tireless campaigner who brought large sections of his countrymen into the national struggle had once said. This slogan has forever been embossed on our Natinal Emblem and will continue to remind many generations to come that only ‘Truth will conquer’. Little did I know about him until I saw the court rooms in our movies where these very words are of utmost importance :-)


Mahamana [an honorific] Pandit Madan Mohan Malavlya was an outstanding and noble son of India. He was a shining star on firmament of tumultuous history of the nineteenth century. He is the epitome of tolerance of Indian life style, of liberal Indian mind and political, economic, intellectual and cultural struggle of our country. His immortal creation, Banaras Hindu University, is not only the Capital of oriental learning but has also been the symbol of national consciousness and cultural renaissance. He made education the prime means for national awakening.

The Persona

His very life was a great inspiration for the youth. The masses could reach him easily unlike any other leader of his stature. Service to the poor and afflicted was the ideal and fact of his life. Public service was no mere means for popularity and prestige. He commanded equal respect from the educated as well as the masses. Except Gandhiji and Lokmanya Tilak, there was no other leader popular like him. Modesty and grace were hallmark of his personality. He was the first public speaker of his time with thorough command over Sanskrit, Hindi, and English. Despite possessing such' power and prestige he was extraordinarily modest. He did not have an iota of arrogance. He was simplicity personified.
His multifaceted personality made him, at the same time, a great patriot, an educationist with a vision, a social reformer, an ardent journalist, reluctant but effective lawyer, a successful parliamentarian and an outstanding statesman. The Indian people conferred on him the affectionate title of "Mahamana."

Early Life

Madan Mohan Malaviya, was born on 25th December 1861 on Wednesday, at Prayag (Allahabad), in a literate but financially poor family. His grandfather Pt. Premdhar was a great Sanskrit scholar, Madan Mohan's education began at the age of five when he was sent to Pandit Hardeva's Dharma Gyanopadesh Pathshala. He matriculated in 1879 and completed law education but his earnest eagerness to serve the nation prevailed upon his legal profession. Interested in study of scriptures at a young age, he grew into a bright intellectual. At sixteen he got married to Kundan Devi of Mirzapur. He was a proud husband. After taking B.A. Degree in 1884 he began teaching He wanted to study further but could not because of poverty of his family. He proved a successful teacher.

Endless Public Service

In the last week of December 1886, Madan with Prof. A.R. Bhattacharya went to Calcutta to participate in Second Conference of Indian National Congress where supporting Sri Surendra Nath Banerjee's resolution he gave a brilliant speech, a specimen of felicity and linguistic acumen. Conference President Dada Bhai Nouroji said that through this young man Mother India herself spoke. The speech impressed Raja Ramapal Singh of Kalakankar of Pratapagarh district so much that he requested him to edit the Hindi daily 'Hindosthan' brought out by him. In July 1887 relinquishing teaching he joined the Daily as its editor and the paper became very popular. His editorials and comments on contemporary problems were balanced and inspiring. Observing editorial propriety, supporting truth, asserting national interest, and criticism without personal attack characterized his journalism.

In 1887, he was appointed President of State Political Association and permanent member of Executive Committee .In 1889 he came back to Allahabad and under Pt. Ayodhyanath's stewardship joined the English daily 'Indian Opinion' as Coeditor. He also joined LLB Course. Passing LL.B. Examination in 1891, he started legal practice at District Court of Allahabad. Within a few years he achieved fame in Civil Law and he'd rank after Pt. Sundar Lal & Pt. Moti Lal Nehru. Soon he became a brilliant Civil lawyer. But wealth could not fetter him. National service would be his main work. Sri Gokhale said, "Malaviyaji's sacrifice is real one. Born in a poor family, he started earning thousands monthly. He tasted luxury and wealth but giving heed to call of the nation renouncing all he again embraced poverty".

In 1907, he organised D.P. Industrial Conference in Allahabad and established Prayag Industrial Association. On the Vasanta Panchami of 1907 he began publishing a Hindi weekly 'The Abhyudaya' to propagate his political and cultural views. On 24th October 1919, the day of Vijaya Dashami, the first issue of the English daily, 'Leader' came out.

Work in Congress

He joined Congress in its second year of inception and from then on till 1937-38; he participated in almost all annual and special sessions of Congress. He came out as a great thinker and fighter in context of different national problems. He remained ever a fighter for country's politico-intellectual and cultural emancipation. Opposition of the Rowlatt Act, vehement opposition of the Jaliawalah massacre, formation of Congress Swaraj Party, Nationalist Party, and Swadeshi Organizations, Ekata Conference made endless saga of his fighting spirit. Perhaps there was none like him in the history of Congress. The national party by offering him President ship in the 1909, 1918, 1930, and 1932 Congress acknowledged his leadership. The pivotal role that he played in nation's service is a glorious chapter in history of the Congress. He represented the whole of India with Mahatma Gandhi in the First Round Table Conference in 1931. His prime objective was country's liberation. To his last breath, he dedicated himself to the nation with immovable detennination. In 1937, he left active politics for good.

Banaras Hindu University

The Banaras Hindu University is the living picture of Madan's philosophy of education.' The dedication with which he founded the University proves that he showed exemplary capability to achieve his objective. Right from the beginning he had the vision of a great fully developed University. That is why after Independence the number of 'engineers and technocrats produced by the University is more than that by any other institution in the country. He chose Banaras as the site, because of the centuries old tradition of learning, wisdom and spirituality inherent to the place. His vision was to blend the best of Indian education called from the ancient centers of learning - Takshashila and Nalanda and other hallowed institutions, with the best tradition of modern universities of the west.

The active and effective role played by the University during the 1942 Quit India Movement could be possible only because the basis for national awakening was already here a decade earlier. Madan directly and indirectly influenced and affected it. He made the institution a major centre of national awakening.


Malaviya passed away in 1946. But his spirit still lives and there are many who bear the torch that he lit, Many more stand ready to shoulder the mantle of his responsibility. Here, I wish to quote few lines from the 12th Convocation Speech, (1929) of Benaras University delivered by the founder Mahamana Malaviya Jee

"I ask young men and women to remember the promises you have made to me through me to your alma mater before you obtained your Diplomas. Remember those promises. Speak the truth, think truth. Continue your studies throughout your life. Be just and fear none. Fear only to do that is ill or ignoble. Stand up for right. Love the motherland. Promote public weal. Do good wherever you get a chance for it. Love to give whatever you can spare"

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