Homage to Mahamana Malaviya

October 28, 2012

The timeless relevance of Mahamana’s vision

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Mahamana Malaviyaji’s 150th birth anniversary year is being celebrated all over the country right now.  However at the end of the day what really matters is whether we are able to integrate any part of Mahamana’s vision into our lives. The nation today is facing challenges on every front as never before. Perhaps now is the time to remember that Mahamana was a patriot who placed probity in public life above all considerations. The important objective of education for him was to create good citizens…and that is something we really need right now. 

January 31, 2012

Mahamana Malaviyaji and Swadeshi

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The sources of a nation’s wealth are agriculture, commerce, manufactures and sound financial administration. British rule gave India peace; but it could not promoted or widen those sources of national wealth in India. “The government of a people by itself” wrote J.S. Mill “has a meaning and a reality, but such a thing as government of one people by another does not and cannot exist. One people may keep another for its own use, a place to make money in, a human cattle farm for the profits of its own inhabitants”.

This policy which Great Britain pursued towards India was the same which she used towards Ireland and other colonies. Endeavors were made which were fatally successful, to repress Indian manufactures and to extend British Manufactures. The import of Indian goods to Europe was repressed by prohibitive duties; the export of British goods to India was encouraged by almost nominal duties. The production of raw material in India for British industries and the consumption of British manufactures in India, were the two sole objects of the early commercial policy of England.

The British manufacturer in the words of the historian Horace Hayman Welson “employed the arm of political injustice to keep down and ultimately strangle a competitor with whom he could not have contended on equal terms.”

The causes of Indian poverty advanced by British Indian Administrators were that it was either the result of nature or a product of the Indian people’s own social or economic failings. However, the true causes of Indian poverty were sought by Indian nationalists.

Malaviyaji believed that if manufactures were crippled, agriculture was overtaxed and a third of the revenue remitted out of the country, any nation on earth would suffer from permanent poverty and recurring famines.

Swadeshi was one of the methods which over the years came to be popularly accepted and advocated by the Indian nationalists for checking the growing poverty of the country and encouraging Indian Industries, both traditional and modern. The movement gained momentum after the British Government in India abolished import duties on cotton textiles in order to placate the Lancashire manufacturers. The campaign to substitute Indian Manufactures for the imported ones had two motives:

• to decrease the drain of wealth due to import of foreign commodities
• to provide support to domestic industries

A landmark event in the growing tide of Swadeshi was the establishment of the Deshi Tijarat Company in Allahabad in 1881 by Mahamana to promote use of indigenous manufactures. He also played an important role in the establishment of the Prayag Sugar Company.

Mahamana seconding the proposal of Rai Bahadur P. Ananda Charulu at the 22nd session of Indian National Congress at Calcutta in 1906 said “what is Swadeshi? The Swadeshi movement is a movement to promote the use and of manufactures of our own country. How does it arise and why does the movement arise? It is born of our poverty. It is born of the industrially weak and deplorable position which we are placed in. Prosperous countries, like England, will not for a moment think of starting a swadeshi movement.”

Mahamana explained in details how poverty was brought about in India:

(a) payment of Rs. 20 Cr was made to Britishers in the shape of salaries and pensions etc.
(b) much larger drain was imposed in the shape of price that was paid for manufactures. He said “The raw material of the country is exported and after being finished in other countries, it is brought back and we have to pay tremendous prices for it”
(c) cheap imports were another cause of Indian poverty. Mahamana described how Germany partially destroyed the indigo manufacture and was flooding the market with foreign sugar. The implications of this were that thousands of people were thrown out of employment and added to number of those living on insufficient food.

According to Mahamana Swadeshi was important because it would encourage the consumption of Indian made articles- which will induce the capitalists to build up more industries.

Mahamana speaking at the 22nd Session of Indian National Congress said, “When you find such terrible suffering around you, when you find the drain so great and the income of the people so small, their resources so poor, I say, it is a religious duty cast upon every man of healthy feelings to promote to the utmost extent, the production of Indian manufactures by giving them preference, wherever he can find them, over foreign commodities even at some sacrifice”.

Malaviyaji believed that the National Income was low and therefore the national prosperity was low. In his presidential speech at Lahore session of Congress in 1909 Mahamana said, “People are dying in vast numbers from plague and malaria. Famines are claiming a large toll and people are unprosperous and unhappy. That is the condition of the country. On the other hand, you find that it is a country most richly endowed with national resources. It is a country whose people are not lacking in intelligence and industry, and living most simple life, they are not addicted to crimes as some of the most advanced countries are. Can there be anything more sad and disappointing than to find that people are still in such an unfortunate condition that this country should lie so low in the scale of nations? And if that is so what is our duty to the mother land?.”

He believed that greater reform can be achieved by us than by the British Government. He gave the following as remedies for improving the condition of India:

• national education
• growth of Swadeshism
• improvement in sanitation of villages & cities by our labour
• development of indigenous industries

Dr Padmini Ravindra Nath (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi

April 12, 2010

Mahamana Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya ji – Seer of Modern India

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Mahamana Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya Ji’s life while richly distinguished by varied and high attainments, epitomized the quintessential Indian values of patriotism, probity and religiosity. He was known as much for his acceptance of noble ideas from all corners of the world as for his deep and abiding faith in Sanatan Dharma.

Malaviya Ji was renowned for his matchless eloquence and wonderful grasp of key political questions. Although he started life as a teacher of English in the DistrictHigh School, he found his true calling in the field of law. As a practicing lawyer of the Allahabad High Court, Mahamana set an example for others by his honesty, impartiality and unshakeable resolve to uphold the truth. Mahamana left the Bar in 1913 to return after ten years only to successfully plead the cause of the 156 accused in the Chauri Chaura case. His eloquent oratory moved Justice Grimwood Myers so much that he rose from his chair on three separate occasions to bow before Mahamana.

Malaviya Ji was conscious of the power of the written word to form public opinion. Mahamana believed that responsible journalism entails educating, training and guiding the reader. He looked on journalism as a means of serving the society and the nation. Mahamana was the Chief Editor of ‘Hindosthan’ for few years. It become the first daily to be published in Hindi, under the able helmsmanship of Mahamana and the patronage of H.R.H. Raja Rampal Singh Ji of Kalakankar. Malaviya Ji was associated later with the English Daily ‘Indian Opinion’ too in the capacity of Chief Editor. He was founder of the English daily ‘Leader’, Hindi weeklies ‘Abhyudaya’ and ‘Sanatan Dharma’ as well as Hindi fortnightly ‘Maryada’. He also graced the position of Chairman of “Hindustan Times” from 1924 to 1940. His efforts resulted in the launch of its Hindi edition in 1936.

Malaviya Ji was committed heart and soul to the cause of Swaraj and Swadeshi which he believed were intwined with each other. While seconding the resolution on Swadeshi moved by P. Anand Charulu in the Congress session of 1906, Mahamana, said “it is a religious duty cast upon every man of healthy feeling to promote to the utmost extent, the production of Indian manufactures by giving them preference, wherever he can find them, over foreign commodities even at some sacrifice”.

Malaviya Ji was a sagacious statesman who had a keen understanding of the political issues facing the country. He was one of the earliest and most devoted workers in the Congress cause. His association with the Indian National Congress started in 1886 when a youthful Malaviya Ji made a deep impression on the minds of the congress gathering by his incisive and profound arguments. The promise shown by Mahamana was abundantly fulfilled when he was elected the President of Indian National Congress for a record four times in 1909, 1918, 1932 and 1933. Under Mahamana’s leadership the Congress was transformed from a party of the educated elite to one which would welcome all sections of society particularly the rural population.

Malaviya Ji was an elected member of representative bodies like the Provincial and Central Councils as well as the Central Legislative Assembly for most of his political life. In these years he spoke with conviction and courage on a number of issues which were to have grave impact on the life of Indian people. His speeches opposing the Rowlatt Bill, Punjab Marshal Law Bill, Tariff Bill and Indemnity Bill to name a few reflect his passionate love for the motherland. Although an orthodox Hindu his concern for his countrymen led him to cross the sea to attend the Round Table Conference at London in 1931.

Malaviya Ji felt that the culture and ethos of a people are preserved through its language. His reverence for Hindi led to the founding of “Hindi Uddharini Pratinidhi Sabha” in 1884 and later the ‘Kashi Nagari Pracharini Sabha’ in 1893. He was also instrumental in the establishment of ‘Hindi Sahitya Sammelan’ at Allahabad. His untiring efforts resulted in the adoption of Devnagari script in Indian courts and acceptance of Hindi as a medium in the country’s Competitive Examinations. Malaviya Ji was the founder of ‘Akhil Bharatiya Vikram Parishad’ at Kashi whose objective was to translate ancient Sanskrit texts into Hindi.

Malaviya Ji’s contributions towards the eradication of untouchability are often lost in the plethora of his other achievements. ‘Antyajodhar’ was a cause close to the heart of Mahamana. The ‘Mantradiksha’ given by Mahamana to the socalled outcastes of Hindu society on the occasion of Mahashivaratri in Kashi was the first of its kind in India. Malaviya Ji was undaunted even in the face of orthodox opposition and continued his mission of including the Dalit castes in mainstream of Hindu society.

Malaviya Ji was shaken to the core of his being by the atrocities heaped on unarmed Hindus. The Moplah revolt proved a turning point in the life of Mahamana. He decided to take the initiative to unite the fragmented Hindu society along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Swami Shradhanand Ji. The ‘Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha’ was born out of these efforts. This was to prove a momentous step in the direction of reconciling the various factions of Hindu society with each other.

Malaviya Ji looked on ‘Gram’ and ‘Gau’ as the two pillars for reconstruction of a prosperous India. Malaviya Ji was closely related with the Gorakhsa movement. He took particular care to ensure that concern for cow slaughter does not stay limited to mere precept but is translated into action. He not only chaired many conventions on this issue but also established Goshalas at many places. In addition, he took the lead in freeing land from other uses for the purpose of grazing by convincing zamindars, jagirdars and princely rulers. Malaviya Ji was instrumental in shaping the resolutions on ‘Goraksha’ which were adopted by the Sanatan Dharma Mahasabha in 1928. These resolutions can be called a blue print for the preservation of Gaumata.

Malaviya Ji had deep reverence for the holy life line of India- the river Ganga. The British Government came up with a plan in 1914 to divert the water of Ganga from Har ki Paudi to a canal in Bhimgonda. This was successfully opposed by Mahamana and he could ultimately extract an assurance from the British Government in 1916 that the natural flow of Ganga will never be obstructed.

Malaviya Ji was deeply troubled about the condition and prospects of the Hindu community. He felt that education was the only way to revive the national pride of Indians in general and Hindus in particular. He initiated the idea of establishing a HinduUniversity in 1904 at Varanasi for the first time. His ceaseless efforts finally bore fruit in 1916 with the founding of BanarasHinduUniversity. The prospectus of the University clearly mentioned that its first object was “to promote the study of the Hindu Shastras and of Sanskrit literature generally as a means of preserving and popularizing for the benefit of the Hindus in particular and of the world at large in general, the best thought and culture of the Hindus and all that was good and great in the ancient civilization of India”. This again finds an echo in the fourth object which speaks of “making religion and ethics an integral part of education”. At the same time Malaviya Ji realized the importance of scientific and technical knowledge in the promotion of indigenous industries and developing the material resources of the country. Thus the third object is imparting of scientific, technical and professional knowledge, while the second is the promotion of learning and research in arts and science. The four objects of BanarasHinduUniversity provide us with a glimpse of the vast, all encompassing vision of Mahamana. In a way, the objects themselves reflect a perfect balance between the material aspirations and the spiritual quest.

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Dr Padmini Ravindra Nath
Associate Professor in Economics
Mahila Mahavidyalaya
Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi 221005 (India)

 Email:padmini2710@gmail.com

February 15, 2010

Mahamana on women education

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The cause of women education was particularly dear to Mahamana’s heart.In his convocation address delivered on December 14,1929 he clearly said that the cause of women’s education is even more important than that of men.He felt that their education would have a far reaching impact on the future generations of India.Malaviya ji ‘s ideal of womanhood was a perfect synthesis of tradition and modernity.She would be an equal partner in nation building.Education was a means of ensuring the physical,mental,moral and spiritual upliftment of women according to Mahamana.To this end he emphasised the need to create a National Programme for women’s education.

February 11, 2010

Visionary Educationist Mahamana Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya Ji

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Banaras Hindu University is a tribute to the vast vision, indomitable spirit and unflagging zeal of our founding father Mahamana Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya Ji. It is a monument to his selfless service in the cause of Indian education.

Mahamana dreamt of creating an ideal scheme of education which would serve the cause of nation building, rise above narrow sectarian interests, combine the best in western scientific methods with all that is good and great in our culture and promote a “broad liberation of mind and religious spirit”. Every alumnus who passes through the portals of this great institution carries these seeds of the timeless vision of Mahamana with him.

The Indian intellectual tradition of truly international universities like Takshila, Nalanda and Vikramshila goes back thousands of years in time.

Globalization as we now name it is not an alien concept to our culture. Our seers had this vision of the world as a family even when geographical distance was a formidable barrier to communication. The Indian consciousness has always perceived the world as one family (olq/kSo dqVqEcde). The hallmark of the Indian vision of education has been openness and acceptance of noble thoughts from all directions while at the same time sending out its own message to the world. As Swami Vivekananda said “Like the gentle dew that falls unseen and unheard and yet brings into blossom the fairest of roses, has been the contribution of India to the thought of the world. Silent, unperceived, yet omnipotent in its effect, it has revolutionized the thought of the world yet nobody knows when it did so.”

Malaviya Ji who epitomized Indian values gifted the world with a unique model of integrated, harmonious and balanced education in the shape of Banaras Hindu University. The motto of Banaras Hindu University, “fo|;k·e`re’uqrs” (The end of all knowledge is the attainment of immortality) eloquently reflects the premium placed on education in our ancient culture.

The scheme of education proposed by Mahamana assumes renewed significance today when higher education is facing challenges as never before. It is widely accepted that higher education is the basic building block in the creation of an inclusive, equitable and diverse knowledge society. As the final communique adopted at the end of World Conference on Higher Education (2009) emphasizes “higher education must pursue the goals of equity, relevance and quality simultaneously.” This is particularly true in today’s world where knowledge is gradually emerging as the primary production resource which will determine development or lack of it.

The new realities of 21st century have given birth to a host of complex issues and challenges in higher education like internationalization, privatization, quality assurance, governance, fostering of research and innovation, competition for scarce human and financial resources etc. The Indian higher education system cannot afford to insulate itself from these changes. At the same time it should be able to meet the expectations and challenges of an increasingly globalizing world without endangering local culture and values. Every care should be taken to ensure that the objectives of higher education do not become subservient to the forces of the market. The unmet needs of higher education demand a paradigm shift in approach, while keeping in mind the parameters of access, equity, quality, relevance and right values. Thus, it is obvious that higher education policy will have to reconcile diverse objectives- the short term aims with long term goals, the traditional wisdom with modern innovative thinking and scientific rationality with religiosity and faith.

Banaras Hindu University is striving in the direction of proposing a model of higher education which would address the challenges of globalization without compromising on national priorities or Indian values. This model of education would conform to the four pillars of education identified by the Delors Commission i.e. learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be.

Banaras Hindu University is uniquely placed to undertake this exercise because it symbolizes the Indian heritage of acceptance and integration while at the same time preserving our unique identity. As the scientist seer Sir J.C. Bose observed in his homage on the 70th birth anniversary of Mahamana, “The Hindu University will always be a monument of the faith which inspired Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya in his life long work for founding the great centre of learning at Benaras for the advancement of world’s knowledge. To be organic and vital, the university must stand primarily for self expression and for winning for India her true place in the Intellectual Federation of Nations”. These immortal words are as true for the Banaras Hindu University in particular and the higher education system in general today as they were more than three quarters of a century ago.

Dr Padmini Ravindra Nath
Associate Professor in Economics
Mahila Mahavidyalaya
Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi 221005 (India)

Tel :+91-542-231 4466
Mob:+91-983 999 1109

Hello world!

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This site is dedicated to the vision and ideals of the great founder of Banaras Hindu University Mahamana Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya ji. Its creation was inspired by a person I revere deeply – Professor D.P Singh,Distinguished Professor, Institute of Technology,Banaras Hindu University who has been instrumental in opening a window for me into the vast world of mahamana’s vision.

The world knows Mahamana mainly as the creator of BHU.However this is only one aspect of his unique multifaceted personality.Born in 1861 ,he was the brightest star in the indian political firmament till his death in 1946.I hope in the coming days,months and years the visitors to this blog will explore along with me,the various dimensions of the vision of this divine leader of modern India.It will be our humble homage to this true and noble son of India.

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