Born On: December 25, 1861
Born In: Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
Died On: November 12, 1946
Career: Politician, Freedom Fighter & Educationist
Mahatma considered him as an elder brother and would refer to him as "Maker of India". Jawahar Lal Nehru called him "a great soul, one of those who laid the foundation of modern Indian Nationalism". He is Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, popularly known as Mahamana (an honorific). He was a politician who left many at loss of words when he spoke, an educationist whose contribution is evident in the form of Banaras Hindu University (one of the finest educational institutions in India), and a devout freedom fighter who left no stone unturned in India's quest for independence and whose patriotism remained unbroken from youth till death. Truly, a source of inspiration to many!
Madan Mohan Malaviya was born on 25th December, 1861 in Allahabad to a Brahmin family. He was among the eight children that his father, Pandit Baijnath, and mother, Meena Devi had. His early education began at the age of five when he was sent to a Mahajani school. After that he joined a religious school under the guidance of Haradevaji. It was here that his mind was greatly influenced by Hindu religion and Indian culture. In 1868, he joined the recently founded Government high school and continued studying further. It was in 1879 that he completed his matriculation from Muir Central College, which is now known as Allahabad University. In 1884, he completed his B.A from Calcutta University and became a teacher in Allahabad district school at a salary of Rs. 40 per month. He further wanted to pursue M.A but due to financial conditions, could not.
Madan Mohan's career as a politician and freedom fighter began in 1886 when under the chairmanship of Dadabhai Naoroji; he attended the 2nd session of the Indian National Congress held in Calcutta. And it was in this very session that he delivered an unforgettable speech that had every single listener all ears for it. The impression that he left on Maharaja Shri Ram Pal Singh was of the highest order and Ram Pal Singh offered him a position as an editor of a weekly "The Hindustan" and handed over the management to him. After serving as an editor for two and a half years, he left the post and went back to Allahabad to pursue L.L.B. In 1891 he completed his L.L.B and started practicing law at the Allahabad District Court. And in 1893, he progressed to Allahabad High Court where he practiced law.
In 1907, Madan Mohan started a Hindi weekly 'Abhyudaya' and made it a daily in 1915. During this period, he launched a few monthlies in Hindi and another daily in English. It was in 1909 that Madan Mohan became the President of The Indian National Congress for the first time. Although Scouting in India was officially founded during the British Raj in 1909, it were the combined efforts of Madan Mohan Malaviya, Justice Vivian Bose, Pandit Hridayanath Kunzru, Girija Shankar Bajpai, Annie Besant, and George Arundale that scouting for the native Indians was started in 1913. He remained a member of the Imperial Legislative Council from 1912 until 1926, even after it was converted to Central Legislative Assembly in 1919. It was in the 21st session of the Indian National Congress held in Banaras that Madan Mohan shared his idea to build a Hindu University. It was in 1915 that the Banaras Hindu University bill was passed and on 4th February 1916 the Banaras Hindu University was established. Till date, it remains an eminent institution of learning in India.
Although in 1911, Madan Mohan had given up his legal practice in order to serve the cause of education and society, it didn't stop him from taking it up again to defend 177 freedom fighters who had been convicted to be hanged following the charges in the Chouri Choura case. Out of 177 convicts, 156 were declared "not guilty". In 1912, Madan Mohan became a member of the Imperial Legislative Council and remained a member till 1926. He played an important role in the Non-Cooperation movement started by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 and joined many stalwarts of Indian History like Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawahar Lal Nehru along with many others to protest against the Simon Commission. On 30th May 1932, Madan Mohan issued a manifesto, recommending to shift focus on 'Buy India' movement. When independence was at hand, Madam Mohan cautioned Mahatma Gandhi not to accept independence at the cost of division of the country. He opposed the separate electorates for Muslims under the Lucknow Pact of 1916 and also opposed the participation of Congress in the Khilafat movement in early 20's.
In 1931, Madan Mohan represented India at the First Round Table Conference. He is also known to popularize the slogan Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone will triumph). Madan Mohan left the position of vice chancellorship of BHU and was succeeded by none other than S. Radhakrishnan, who went on to become the President of India. Just when "Hindustan Times" was facing a downfall and was about to shut down, Madan Mohan stepped in as a savior. He had realized the importance and the role that a daily newspaper could play and thus, with the monetary help from nationalist leaders Lajpat Rai and M. R. Jayakar and industrialist G. D. Birla, he acquired the paper. Until 1946, he held the seat of the Chairman. It was due to his efforts that the newspaper launched a Hindi edition of the same in 1936. The paper is now owned by the Birla family.
It was at the age of sixteen that Madan Mohan Malaviya got married to Kundan Devi of Mirzapur in 1878. They had ten children: five sons and five daughters.
Carrying on with ill-health for the last few years of his life, Madan Mohan Malaviya passed away on 12th November 1946. He is survived by his granddaughter Dr. Manju Malaviya Sharma from his daughter Rama.