BIOGRAPHY
Humble Beginnings :
 
Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya or Mahamana Malaviya, as he was popularly known, was born on 25th December 1861 at Prayag, in a family of six brothers and two sisters. His grandfather Pt Premdhar and father Pt Baijnath were Sanskrit scholars. His father, Pt Baijnath, was also an excellent Kathavacak (narrator of the stories from Bhagawat). After initial training in Sanskrit, Malaviyaji joined the Saraswati School for study in English. He passed his B.A. from Muir Central College in 1884. He was married in 1878 to Kumari Devi of Mirzapur.
 
Early Dream :
 
Malaviyaji wanted to be a good Kathavacak like his father. But his dreams were drowned “in the tears of his mother” and the poverty in the house. Circumstances forced him in 1884 to join the Government School as a teacher for a salary of Rs.40 per month.
 
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Legal Practice :
 
After his graduation and the job of a teacher in 1884, Malaviyaji could pursue his education only from 1889 and passed LLB course in 1891. He first practiced in the District court in 1891 and then in the High Court from 1893. According to Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru “Soon he became a brilliant Civil Lawyer”. Sir Mirza Ismail said “I have heard a great lawyer say that if Mr.Malaviya had so willed it, he would have been an ornament to the legal profession”. He decided to give up his roaring practice during his 50th birthday and retired in 1913 to serve the country. Gopala Krishna Gokhale said “Malaviyaji’s sacrifice is a real one. Born in a poor family, he started earning thousands monthly. He tasted luxury and wealth but giving heed to the call of the nation, renouncing all he again embraced poverty”.
 
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Journalism :
 
Raja Rampal Singh of Kalakankar (Pratapgadh District) was impressed by the speech and the personality of Malaviyaji, during the 2nd Congress Session in Calcutta held in 1886. He requested him to edit the Hindi daily ‘Hindosthan’ in July 1887. Though he was young at that time, Malaviyaji’s earlier writings and speeches helped him acquire the characteristics of a journalist. His poems (sawaiyas) published (sometime in 1883-84) under the pseudonym of ‘Makrand’ in ‘Harischandra Chandrika’ magazine (brought out by the famous Bharatendu), articles on religious and contemporary subjects published in ‘Hindi Pradeepa’, editorial work for the English weekly ‘Indian Union’ (1885), work and speeches in social organizations stood him in good stead. Malaviyaji worked in the editorial of Hindi daily ‘Hindosthan’ (1887-1889), English daily ‘Indian Opinion’ (1889-), started Hindi weekly ‘Abhyuday’ (1907-1909 under his editorship). started English daily with the help of Motilal Nehru ‘Leader’ When the English Government tried to bring in the Press Act and Newspaper Act in 1908, Malaviyaji started a campaign against the Act and called an All India Conference in Allahabad. He then realized the need of an English Newspaper to make the campaign effective throughout the country. As a result, he started the English daily `Leader' in 1909 with the help of Pt. Motilal Nehru. He was associated with ‘Leader’ as Editor 1909-1911 and as the President 1911-1919. In 1910, Malaviyaji started the Hindi paper `Maryada'. He took active control of `Hindusthan Times' from Delhi in 1924. `Sanatana Dharma', a magazine dedicated to religious, dharmic interests, was started in 1933 from BHU.
 
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Hindu Ideals and Religion :
 
Malaviyaji’s firm grounding in the tenets of Hindu Dharma led him to strong beliefs on right attitude, right thinking, right expression and right actions in every field of his activity. A few examples from his early years are: 1) worked as the Secretary of ‘Prayaga Hindu Samaj’ (in 1880), 2) active part in organizing the ‘Madhya Bharat Hindu Samaj Conference’ at Allahabad (in 1885), which discussed about the social good and the welfare of the nation. 3) association and lectures on Hinduism and Indian Culture in ‘Bharat Dharma Mahamandal’, Haridwar (from 1887 to 1902), 4) organizing a conference of ‘Sanatana Dharma Mahasabha’ (Prayag Kumbh in 1906), and in 1936, 5) President of the Education Committee for 10 years of ‘Rishikul Brahmacharya Ashram’ (started in 1906 by Pt Durgadutt Sharma) and many others of later years.
 
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Political :
 
Malaviyaji was catapulted into the political arena immediately after his first thrilling speech at the Second Congress Session in Calcutta, held in 1886. He served the Congress for almost 50 years and worked with 50 Congress Presidents. He was the Congress President for a record of four times- in 1909 (Lahore), in 1918(Delhi), in 1930 (Delhi) and in 1932 (Calcutta). He was actively involved with the Allahabad Municipal Board till 1916. He was a member of the Provincial Legislative Council during 1903-1918, Central Council during 1910-1920, elected member of the Indian Legislative Assembly during 1924-1930, Industrial Commission during 1916-1918 and attended the second Round Table Conference in 1931. He bid farewell to active politics in 1937. In politics, Malaviyaji was midway between the Liberals and the Nationalists, the moderates and the extremists, as the followers of Gokhale and Tilak were respectively called.
 
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Educational :
 
Malaviyaji visualized the importance of education and the hardships of the students early in life. He set up the ‘MacDonald Hindu Boarding House’ to accommodate 230 students in 1903 in Allahabad, by collecting a public donation of Rs 1.3 lakhs. This appears to be the precursor for his grand vision of the Banaras Hindu University, which he built up from a vision in 1900 to a reality in 1916. These examples show his keen analysis of a problem, ability to think of a workable solution, motivate a team to work, collect large amount of funds for a public cause and realize the dream. More of BHU separately.
 
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Service to the Needy/Downtrodden :
 
Malaviyaji encouraged his son Ramakant to start the Yatri Sevadal (in 1912), which became ‘Deen Rakshak Samiti’ (1914), and later became ‘Prayag Seva Samiti’ under the chairmanship of Malaviyaji (1915). By 1918, it took the form of an Akhil Bharatiya Seva Samiti with centers at many places and a broad based objective of service to the needy during Kumbh Mela, floods, earthquakes, other natural calamities. In 1918, a sub unit modelled like the ‘Boy Scouts’ was started under the Akhil Bharatiya Seva Samiti. The main difference was that a patriotic leader was its Chief Scout and ‘Vande Mataram’ was sung instead of the British National Anthem. During the dreaded plague, he struggled hard to hospitalize the sick, rehabilitate others into safer areas, arrange for mass feeding and shelter for the poor and needy. The above occasion brought out the best of the human kindness in him, a quality which could be seen in his care of the downtrodden. Malaviyaji gave mantra dik„a to the untouchables in Calcutta in 1928, much before the Harijan movement started by Gandhiji on 1st August 1933. When Gandhiji addressed the varanasi crowd on 1st August 1934, Malaviyaji lent his support. He also carried out the ‘Shuddhi Movement’ by initiating the Harijanas with dik–a mantra on 12th March 1936, on the banks of Godavari. He repeated the initiation ceremony of Harijans, on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi on the Shivaratri day in 1936. The initiation was preceded by a mammoth procession of elephants carrying Vedas and religious books, followed by musical parties, citizens and scholars of Varanasi. Later shuddhikaran and mantra diksha was held in Nasik, Calcutta, Prayag. He worked for the emancipation of women. He was the President of the Conference in Bombay (1932) for the removal of untouchability.
 
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Other Social Activities :
 
His keen interest in many social issues can be seen in examples of his involvement in : 1) The Minto Memorial Park not so well-known as it should be, was also the result of his efforts (1910), 2) opposing the construction of a dam across the Ganga in Haridwar as this would have reduced the flow of water in the canal (in 1916), and making the Govt to agree to the public proposal of maintaining an uninterrupted flow of water in the canal, 3) president of the special session of Hindu Mahasabha in Gaya in 1922, in Kashi in 1923 and his leadership till 1927, 4) starting the Cow Protection Society in 1941, 5) starting the Akhil Bharatiya Vikram Parishad in 1942.
 
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Malaviyaji’s Personality :
 
His personality can not be condensed in a few words. Mahatma Gandhi called him pratah smaraniyaÌ, a pious person whose name when remembered in the morning would lift one out of the mire of one’s sordid self. Gandhiji compared Tilak to the lofty Himalayas, Gokhale to the deep seas and Malaviyaji to the crystal clear sacred river in which he decided to have ablution! Malaviyaji’s gentle, sweet, soft and graceful nature was a true reflection of his abundant love for humanity. A British official commented that Malaviyaji ‘wore the white flower of a blameless life’. Edgar Snow, a journalist, wrote that his personality radiated ‘the sweetness and simplicity of a child, yet his words carried the strength and conviction of a man with a settled philosophy of life’. For all his sweetness he could still be tougher than the toughest when occasion demanded it.
 
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Karma Yogi :
 
Dr S. Radhakrishnan said “Pandit Malaviyaji is a Karmayogin. He is not only a representative of Hinduism but the soul of Hinduism. He had strived all through his life for the Hindu ideals and we see the combination of idealism and practical wisdom....... While preserving the imperishable treasures of our past, he is keen on moving forward with the times”. Kashi’s sacredness is usually described in a number of triads. To these sacred triads, we can add one more--the trinity of Ka„i, the Banaras Hindu University and Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya.
 
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