Biography of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya

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Biography of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya


His early life and education: The name of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya stands high in the hierarchy of political fighters who struggled for our country’s freedom in the last half a century.

The late Panditji was born at Allahabad in 1861, the memorable year that witnessed the birth of some of India’s noblest sons like Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, to mention only a few of them.

Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya belonged to an orthodox Brahmin family of Sanskrit scholars, and naturally he was brought up in the good old traditions of the country. He passed on to the Allahabad Zilla School from which he passed the Entrance Examination in 1881.

Later on, he took his degree from the Calcutta University and joined his old school as a teacher. At the same time he started a connection with several journals and thus developed a taste not only for journalism but for politics as well.

In 1892 he graduated in law and joined the High Court of Allahabad, where his gift of lucid exposition stood him in good stead.

He had his genuine interest in politics. The liberation of his country from foreign rule became a matter of a great importance. He took part in the work of the National Congress form its very inception, and made his mark as a debater of no mean power. He occupied the office of the Congress as its President for four times. Even when he differed most from the official policy of the Congress, his advice was listened to with respect.

Madan Mohan Malaviya was an advocate of moderation and compromise. He was a member of either the Provincial or the Central legislature till his retirement from active politics. His political views leaned towards moderation and compromise. He was tireless in doing his duties in the Councils, and his criticism of the high-handed policies adopted by the bureaucracy were not only vigorous but also were based on factual information that could not be brushed aside. For this reason he was formidable in debate and was always dreaded by his opponents.

He disapproved Gandhian programme but he never stood against it. The Rowlatt Act passed by the British government in the face of the fiercest Indian opposition, was the turning-point in Malaviya’s political career, as it was in the career of many an Indian leader. He did not agree with all the details of the Gandhian programme of Direct action; the idea of Non-co-operation did not appeal to him and he held himself more or less aloof from that movement. Several years after the movement had been called off, he organized a new party, the Nationalist Party, which supported the Congress generally but did not advocate extreme measures.

The crowning achievement of Malaviya’s life was the establishment and organization of the Banaras University. He took over the Central Hindu College of Mrs. Besant and transformed it into a great university with faculties in Arts, Science, Engineering and Medicine. It was entirely due to his untiring efforts that the Princes and the people of India donated crores of rupees to build up the university, which today has over four thousand students on its rolls, hailing from all parts of India. The noble buildings of the University scattered over an area of nearly 2 sq miles will be an undying monument to the memory of this great man.

He associated himself with many organizations and movements. Pandit Malaviya was an ardent supporter of swadeshi and the industrial revival of India. It undertook untiring efforts for the establishment of a sugar research station at Coimbatore.

Malaviya attended the Second Round Table Conference held in London for solving the Indian political issue. He was an orthodox Hindu, but for the sake of his country he sacrificed his sentiments and undertook this sea-voyage with all its attendant hardship. After this he virtually retired from active politics but he preferred to confine his interests to the university that he had helped to build up as its Rector. And so, as the years rolled on, Malaviya became more and more a legend and a symbol of India’s cherished ideal.

His death: Malaviya died in November, 1946, in his eighty-fifth year. He had already the satisfaction of seeing his country stand on the threshold of that freedom for which he had done so much all through his life.

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