Contribution of ‘Mahamana’ Madan Mohan Malaviya in Freedom Movement

Introduction

  • He was the founder of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) at Varanasi in 1916
  • Hewas one of the founders of Scouting in India.
  • He also founded a highly influential, English-newspaper, The Leader published from Allahabad in 1909.
  • He was also the Chairman of Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.

Political career

  • In December 1886, Malaviya attended the 2nd Indian National Congress session in Calcutta under chairmanship of Dadabhai Naoroji, where he spoke on the issue of representation in Councils.
  • Malaviya became the President of the Indian National Congress in 1909 and 1918.
  • He was a moderate leader and opposed the separate electorates for Muslims under the Lucknow Pact of 1916.
  • The “Mahamana” title was conferred to him by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He remained a member of the Imperial Legislative Council from 1912 and when in 1919 it was converted to the Central Legislative Assembly he remained its member as well, till 1926.
  • Malaviya was an important figure in the Non-cooperation movement. However, he was opposed to the politics of appeasement and the participation of Congress in the Khilafat movement.
  • In 1928 he joined Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawaharlal Nehru and many others in protesting against the Simon Commission, which had been set up by the British to consider India’s future.
  • He issued, on 30 May 1932, a manifesto urging concentration on the “Buy Indian” movement in India.
  • Malaviya was a delegate at the Second Round Table Conference in 1931.
  • However, during the Civil Disobedience Movement, he was arrested on 25 April 1932, along with 450 other Congress volunteers in Delhi, only a few days after he was appointed in 1932 at Delhi as the President of Congress after the arrest of Sarojini Naidu.
  • In 1933, at Calcutta, Malaviya was again appointed as the President of the Congress.
  • Thus before Independence, Malaviya was the only leader of the Indian National Congress who was appointed as its President for four terms.
  • On 25 September 1932, an agreement known as Poona Pact was signed between Dr. Ambedkar (on behalf of the depressed classes among Hindus) and Malaviya (on behalf of the other Hindus).
  • The agreement gave reserved seats for the depressed classes in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate and not by creating a separate electorate. Due to the pact, the depressed class received 148 seats in the legislature, instead of the 71 as allocated in the Communal Award proposal of the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald.
  • In protest against the Communal Award which sought to provide separate electorates for minorities, Malaviya along with Madhav Shrihari Aney left the Congress and started the Congress Nationalist Party.

Journalistic career

  • n 1889, he became the Editor of the “Indian Opinion”.
  • When the English Government tried to bring in the Press Act and Newspaper Act in 1908, Malaviyaji started a campaign against the Act and called an All India Conference in Allahabad.
  • He then realized the need of an English Newspaper to make the campaign effective throughout the country.
  • As a result, with the help of Motilal Nehru he started an English daily the “Leader” in 1909, where he was Editor 1909-1911 and President 1911-1919.
  • In 1924, Malaviya along with the help of national leaders Lala Lajpat Rai and M. R. Jayakar and industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla, acquired Hindustan Times and saved it from an untimely demise

Social work

  • Malviya founded Ganga Mahasabha to oppose the damning of Ganges.
  • The slogan “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone will triumph) is also a legacy given to the nation by Pandit Malaviya as the President of the Indian National Congress in its session of 1918 at Delhi, by saying that this slogan from the Mundakopanishad should be the slogan for the nation.
  • Born in 19th century colonized India, this visionary had anticipated that political independence will become meaningful only when we mould a generation of progressive and cultured young people. For this, a world-class university was the need of the hour.
  • He also established a women’s college. He had envisioned a number of women scholars such as Apala and Gargi in India’s future generations.
  • Mahatma Gandhi considered him to be his conscience-keeper and called him his elder brother on public platforms. Still, Malaviya didn’t hesitate in disagreeing with the Mahatma when it came to principles. During the Quit India Movement of 1942, when Bapu asked students to boycott schools, Malaviya publicly expressed his displeasure.
  •  Rabindranath Tagore honoured him with the encomium ‘Mahamana’ (a luminous mind and magnanimous heart).

Excerpts from Sumit Sarkar

  • Malaviya had already annexed to his brand of politics the emotional forces of Hindi and Hindu revivalismwhich otherwise might have been used by radicals
  • By 1909, however, a closer look had made men like Malaviya extremely critical of the excessive concessions to Muslims
  • On the eve of the 1926 elections, Motilal’s old rival Madanmohan Malaviya formed an Independent Congress Party in alliance with Lajpat Rai and the Responsive Cooperators, with a programme which combined political moderation with uninhibited Hindu communalism.
  • The Hindu Mahasabha, started at the Hardwar Kumbh Mela in 1915 by Madan Mohan Malaviya along with some Punjabi leaders, had become practically defunct in the Non-Cooperation years.
  • A major revival began from 1922-23, and the Banares session of August 1923, which incorporated the shuddhi programme and called for Hindu self-defence squads, represented an alliance of Arya Samajist reformers with Sanatan Dharma Sabha conservatives in a common Hindu-communal front presided over, as usual, by Malaviya
  • From 1925 onwards, Malaviya made very effective use of Hindu communalism in his bitter rivalry with Motilal Nehru, organizing with the help of Lajpat Rai an Independent Congress Party which was little more than a Mahasabha front
  • The basic conservatism of the makers of the Nehru Report was revealed also by their acceptance in August 1928 of an amendment by Malaviya guaranteeing ‘all titles to private and personal property’
  • Orthodox Hindu opinion in Bengal bitterly attacked the acceptance of a permanent caste Hindu minority status by the Poona Pact, but the Congress Working Committee in June 1934 adopted a compromise ‘neither rejection-noracceptance’ formula which led Malaviya to start a breakaway Congress Nationalist Party.
  • The new patron-client model seems more than a little over-extended when it is used to describe both Malaviya’s connections with the Tandon business group in Allahabad and the relations between Hindu zamindars and Muslim peasants of east Bengal.

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