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 Premier and father Pt Baijnath were Sanskrit scholars.
Malaviya is credited with popularising the term ‘Satyameva Jayate’ (Truth alone triumphs) – India’s national motto. He did not coin the term. It is a mantra from the Upanishads, written thousands of years ago. These days, as we all know, the term has become synonymous with the TV show.
Malaviya really worked hard to make BHU a reality. On being denied funding to set up the university by the Nizam, he is said to have auctioned his slipper at a market. Eventually, it was the same Nizam who bid for the chappal and bought it at a massive price.
Favours Hindu-Muslim unity
Malaviya is often described as a Hindu nationalist, but he always strived for Hindu-Muslim unity. He gave two famous speeches on communal harmony- one in Lahore in 1922 and in Kanpur 1931. Here is another one, an excerpt from his presidential address at the INC’s Calcutta session in 1933.
“I implore all Hindus and Mussalmans, Sikhs, Christians and Parsees and all other countrymen to sink all communal differences and to establish political unity among all sections of the people. In the midst of much darkness, I see a clear vision that the clouds which have long been hanging over our heads are lifting. Let every son and daughter do his or her duty to expedite the advent of the dawn of the day of freedom and happiness. Truth is on our side. Justice is with us. God will help us. We are sure to win. Vande Mataram.”
leader Of Hindu Mahasabha
He was one of the early leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, a far-right Hindu Nationalist party, but was a passionate advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity, and by far one of the most moderate voices in the organisation. At the Congress session in Kolkata in 1913, he said: “India belongs to the Hindus, the Mohammedans, the Sikhs, the Parsis and others. No single community can run over the rest. Your hand has five fingers. If you put off the thumb, the power of your hand will be reduced to one-tenth of its original power. Act in such a way that all may unite… Let there be mutual trust.”
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.
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.