Legacy of Madan Mohan Malviya
Lok Sabha TV – Insights
Madan Mohan Malviya is being awarded 45th Bharat Ratna award, which is highest civilian award of the country.
He was perhaps only freedom fighter, who was involved in politics of congress right from beginning i.e. 1886 and remained active till his death in 1946, just one year before independence. Apart from freedom fighter he was an educator, social reformer, journalist, and lawyer. All his life he remained committed to congress. He accepted leadership of younger newcomers i.e. Gokhale, Gandhi ji, Nehru and adjusted himself well. On the ideological level, he was a moderate, traditionalist and nationalist. He was president of Congress for 4 times i.e. 1909 & 1913, 1919, 1932.
He single handedly founded Banaras Hindu University in 1916. He mobilized resources for this university with great pain. In latter times many great scientists and leaders got associated with BHU. University also became launching base for quit India movement. At that time almost all other universities were shut down under pressure of colonial government. He conceived need of university for revival of ancient Vedic knowledge, while maintaining scientific temperament. At that time all other major universities were under British viz. Madras, Calcutta, Bombay, Allahabad and Lahore and there was Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh.
He was also a journalist. He started career as editor of daily ‘Hindoosthan’ as early as 1887. In 1908, after Surat congress crisis and crackdown on extremists, government brought law for curbing freedom of press. Malviya organized a movement resisting this step. In 1910, he started Maryada newspaper. Latter, he went on to acquire along with some other nationalists, ‘The Hindustan Times’.
He got his degree in law from Allahabad University. In 1913, he gave his lucrative practice and decided to work for nation and more particularly in field of education. He dedicated his entire energy for BHU. In 1922, in aftermath of violent Chauri Chaura incident, 225 people were accused and were to be sentenced with death penalty. But he represented accused in the court and saved 152 out of total.
He took up the cause of Harijans and worked for their upliftment along with Gandhi Ji. The Harijan Sevak Sangh was founded at a meeting in 1933 at which Pandit Malviya presided. He worked for eradication of untouchability and to enable temple entry for Harijans. However, he believed in Varnaashram system (as did Gandhi ji). Current Dalit movement is averse to such leaders as they didn’t call for annihilation of caste (the way Dr. Ambedkar did).
He was also one of the founding members of Hindu Mahasabha. When after 1937 (when demand for Pakistan was made) Hindu Mahasabha became more radical. He left Hindu Mahasabha to be with congress.
He was staunch opponent of Separate electorates and so disapproved Lukhnow pact (Congress – league) of 1916.
He gave a proper voice to Hindu Causes in its reasonable limits and frequently brought up issues dear to Hindu community. He was involved in movements such as cow protection movement. But he was secular at his heart and frequently called for Hindu Muslim unity. However, he was opposed to Khilafat Movement.
He found a separate Congress Nationalist Party in 1934 due to some ideological differences only to rejoin congress few year latter on advice of his friend Rafi Ahmed Kidwai.