Homage to Mahamana Malaviya

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.


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


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