BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY
Malaviyaji’s Vision :
 

Malaviyaji had great dreams, grand wakeful dreams that made him the Visionary of the 20th century. While a sleepy dream fades in the dawn, the wakeful dream gets clearer by the day, takes a specific shape and soon becomes a burning passion. A suitable Mission emerges out of the Vision and soon consumes the person’s entire life towards its fulfillment.

The greatness of the Vision depends mostly on its farsightedness, its clarity, its magnitude, and its wide canvas. Normally, the farther one looks into the future, hazier is the picture. While the ordinary sees nothing but the dark clouds, the visionary sees a bright star shining in the distance. He then paints it for others with all the clarity on a wide canvas. Malaviyaji was one such rare visionary.

 
Early 20th Century :
 

In the first decade of the 20th Century, the country was in abysmal depths and independence appeared like a distant dream. The total number of colleges in the country had gone up from 27 in 1857 to just 72 in 1882 and the total number of B. A. graduates in twenty five years was 3284. Literacy was an unbelievable low of about 6% in 1900 and the educational facilities were meager. All the five Universities which existed at that time in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Lahore and Allahabad, were mainly examining Universities. While India had only five Universities at that time, UK had eighteen, France fifteen, Italy twenty one, Germany twenty two, and USA 134 Universities.

Under these conditions, it would have looked foolhardy and vain to think or even dream of the ‘post independent India’. However, at that time, Malaviyaji started looking beyond the current milieu and the forthcoming independence. He saw from the depths/from the dark abyss into the distant future and visualized a ‘Resurgent Modern India’!!

Malaviyaji realised that ‘Modern India’ can be built by engineers, doctors, scientists & artists, only when they are imbued with high character, probity and honour. He strongly felt that all of them could be nurtured in a beautiful, big garden called the ‘University’, which should be an extension and modified version of the gurukul. Hence, in order to meet the future immense needs of the ‘Resurgent Modern India’, he visualized a ‘Modern University’ that combines the best thought and culture of the East with the best Science & Technology of the West.

 
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Not a Mere Dreamer, but a Builder :
 

Malaviyaji was not a mere ‘dreamer’, he was an active ‘Builder’ too. Clarity of vision, conviction of thoughts, skills in communication, power of persuasiveness, translating the dream into an action plan .... were some of his extraordinary qualities that marked him as as a great ‘Builder’. To say that the ‘Benaras Hindu University’ was his creation is acknowledging only part of the truth. He can be considered as responsible for providing the back bone of ‘Modern India’, of most of what we see today as ‘Progress’.

His creation has left an indelible mark to prove his great dream, his excellent mind, his superb organizing capacity and his noble deed for educating and molding the youth of the nation for centuries to come! The story of this University is not just a narration of the fulfillment of Malaviyaji’s grand dream; it is virtually a golden chapter in the history of modern India!

 
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University & Value Education :
 

Malaviyaji realized that the two foremost of the priorities were the freedom of the country and nation building. The priority of nation building could be achieved only through modern education combined with religion; a combination which ensures knowledge with morality, power with humanity, and prosperity with selfless sacrifice. Such character building needed an early start in the formative years of the young.

Malaviyaji expressed in the Prospects that the “introduction of steam and electricity as aids to manufacturing industries have thrown India far behind the countries in which experimental sciences are studied”. He was thus convinced that good modern education on western lines backed up by the spiritual and moral aspects of our lofty eastern traditions would be the right mixture for bringing up energetic, dynamic and yet strong characters so much essential for building up the nation.

The new institution would be fostering "all that is best in Hindu ideals and life and thought, all that is noblest in Hindu religion and tradition, culture and civilization and grafted upon that tree, healthy and strong in its own natural soil, growing in it and out of it all that is good and great of modern science and art". Swami Vivekananda had similar views when he said: “Never give up your religious ideals, its tolerant all embracing ideals; but at the same time get the best out of what the West can teach”.

 
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Objects of the University :
 

The objects of the University are unique and exemplary. In brief it aims to promote „astras and Sanskrit for preserving and popularizing the best thought and culture of Hindus; to promote learning and research in arts and science; to advance scientific and professional knowledge to help in promoting indigenous industries; to promote the building up of character by making religion and ethics an integral part of education. It was planned to achieve these objectives mainly by the continuing potential for interaction between the students and the teachers in the residential university.

 
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A Bit of History :
 

The grand model of a University was conceived in 1900 and it started taking shape in 1904. Malaviyaji had the rare capacity for “infecting others with his incurable optimism” and influencing them with his eloquence. However, Malaviyaji's dream started taking shape in 1904 at a meeting held in Mint House at Varanasi under the President ship of the Maharaja Prabhu Narain Singh. The prospectus of the proposed University was circulated in 1905 and the scheme was discussed by educationists and representatives of all the Provinces at a select meeting held in Banaras on 31st December 1905. The prospectus was issued to the public on 12th March 1906.

Many political developments like the Partition of Bengal (1905), Self Government and Swadeshi movement (1907), The Press Act (1908), Minto-Marley Reforms slowed down the momentum in the work of establishing the University. During this period there was a parallel stream of thought running in the mind of Dr Annie Besant, who submitted a memorandum in 1907 for the grant of a Royal Charter towards the setting up of ‘The University of India’. Many Hindu enthusiasts under the leadership of the Maharaja Sir Rameshwar Singh Bahadur of Darbhanga were also planning to establish an educational institution, Sharada Viswa Vidyalaya, at Banaras.

Persuaded by Malaviyaji, the Maharaja and Mrs. Annie Besant decided to join hands. The Hindu University Society was registered in July 1911 to organize the collection of funds and carry out other activities to establish the University. Maharaja of Darbhanga made a liberal donation of Rupees five lakhs to the Society.

Malaviyaji had to make certain modifications to his own earlier proposals and the petition for the Royal Charter submitted by Mrs Annie Besant. He had to drop the idea of having Hindi as the medium of instruction. The most important proposal was that the new Institution will be a residential and teaching University, unknown at that time.

Malaviyaji undertook frequent tours to request and persuade the rulers and rich men of various states to donate for the noble cause. It took the Prince of Beggars, as Malaviyaji was popularly known, nearly two years from 15th July 1911 to 28th April 1913 to collect the minimum required amount of Rs 50 lakhs to start serious negotiations with the representatives of the British Government. It is not only the rich but also the poor and the lowly responded generously to Madan Mohan Malaviya’s call. It is said that a woman offered her bangles for the cause and a courtesan her day’s earnings!

The Benares Hindu University Act was passed on 1st October 1915 and came into force from 1st April 1916. The foundation stone was laid on 4th February 1916 by H.E.Lord Hardinge, the then Viceroy & Governor General of India. The first colleges to be started were: The Central Hindu College (Oct 1917), The College of Oriental Learning (July 1918), The Teachers Training College (Aug 1918) and The Engineering College (Aug 1919).

 
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Facilities :
 

Today B.H.U. is spread over an area of 1370 acres having - 14 faculties & 127 departments covering Arts, Law, Music & Fine Arts, Science, Technology, Agricultural Science, Engineering, Pharmaceutical Technology, etc; about 15300 students(including about 2300 for PhD); about 1300 teaching staff; about 5800 non teaching staff; 61 Students Hostels; about 1200 quarters in the campus itself for the teaching and non teaching staff; separate Libraries (total 38) for different faculties & a large central library with 13 lakh books; abundant facility for Sports & Gymnastics including the flying club, swimming pool, amphitheatre, etc; a large Hospital attached to Medical College and many other facilities.,

 
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QUIZ & QUIP
 
Do you know who called Malaviyaji ‘Dharmatma’ ?
   
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