Introduction, Family, Education and Career of Mohan Malaviya

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Introduction, Family, Education and Career of Mohan Malaviya


“I am a Hindu by faith and I mean no disrespect to any other religion”.
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An eminent Congressman, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was the president of the Indian National Congress during 1909 and in 1918. He represented the whole of India with Mahatma Gandhi in the First Round Table Conference in 1931.

Malaviya popularised the famous slogan, “Satyameva Jay ate” (Truth alone will win). He founded The Banaras Hindu University, which remains as a premier institution of learning in India even today.

Malaviya was bom in an orthodox Brahmin family in Allahabad on December 25, 1861. He was the son of Pandit Brij Nath, a highly respected scholar of Sanskrit of his time.

Malaviya was first educated traditionally at two Sanskrit pathshalas and later sent to an English school. Even during his college days, as a student of the Muir Central College, Allahabad, he took keen interest in public activities. Religion and education were, however, of special interest to him and he dedicated himself to these till the end of his life.

After graduation in 1884, he joined the Government High School at Allahabad as a teacher. Being in government service did not prevent him from participating in political movements and he soon joined the fold of the Indian National Congress.

His very first appearance on the Congress platform at its Calcutta session created a lasting impression and gave him a place in the political life of the country. By his earnest and untiring work, Malaviya rapidly gained ascendancy in the Congress organisation. He was one of the very few individuals who were honoured by the Congress by being elected as its president three times, the first at the Lahore session (1909), the second time at Delhi (1918) and the third at Calcutta (now Kolkata) (1933).

His zeal for public work made him realise the necessity of starting newspapers, particularly in Hindi, for the education of the public. He started the Abhyudaya as a Hindi weekly in 1907 and made it a daily in 1915. He began the Leader, an English daily, on 24 October 1909. Both the Abhyudaya and the Leader rendered valuable service to the cause of national freedom for nearly half a century.

Malaviya took a keen interest in the industrial development of the country and was therefore appointed a member of the Indian Industrial Commission in 1916. He supported the demand for the grant of full Dominion Status to India put forward by Pandit Motilal Nehru.

The Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.), which was indeed Malaviya’s greatest achievement, will always remind the future generations of the keen interest that he took in the education of the mind and the spirit. It was his deep love for Hindu culture and the spiritual ideas embodied in Hindu religious books that gave birth to the idea of establishing the Banaras Hindu University. The importance that he attached to the economic development of the country made him combine the teaching of science and technology with that of religion.

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.

In 1933, Malaviya presided over the Calcutta Congress session and defended the Civil Disobedience Movement. Malaviya retired from active politics in 1937.

Malaviya passed away on November 12, 1946.

The Family History

Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was bom in Laldiggi locality of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh on 25 December 1861, in a Brahmin family of Brijnath and Moona Devi. He was the fifth child in a family of five brothers and two sisters. His grandfather Pandit Premadhar was a great Sanskrit Scholar. His grandmother was also deeply religious and gracious.

His ancestors originally hailed from Malwa and hence came to be known as ‘Malaviyas’. His father was also a learned man in Sanskrit scriptures and used to recite Bhagvat Katha to earn a living. Among all his siblings, Madan Mohan was the most talented. His birth was considered auspicious as he was bom on a date on which Lord Christ was bom.

The child Madan Mohan was deeply influenced by his family’s economic condition, parental affection and grand-parents religiosity. His life shaped in religiosity, grace and service to the poor and society.


Malaviya was born and brought up in a middle-class religious family. He received his early education in Sanskrit at home and was later sent to a private school.
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After a few years of schooling in Sanskrit and Hindi, he was sent to the Allahabad District School and passed his Matriculation Examination. Pt. Deokinandan perfected him in the art of delivering religious discourses.

Malaviya imbibed the spirit of social service at his school. After Matriculation, Malaviya joined the Muir Central College, Allahabad. He studied History, English and Sanskrit in the College for his B.A. degree which he obtained in 1884. While at the college, he came in contact with Aditya Ram Bhattacharya, Professor of Sanskrit, who greatly influenced him and shaped his life and career. He was tolerant and liberal-minded and deeply attached to the religion of his ancestors.


As was the tradition in those days, Malaviya was married early, in 1878, when he was about sixteen years of age, to Kundan Devi of Mirzapur. She was the third daughter of Pandit Nanda Ram. At that time Malaviya was pursuing graduation at Muir Central College, Allahabad.

Even after marriage, he continued his educational pursuit doing various jobs as teacher, editor and even practised law. The couple had in due course, five sons and five daughters, out of which four sons, Ramakant, Radhakant, Mukund, Govind and two daughters Rama and Malati survived.


Though Malaviya wanted to pursue an M.A. in Sanskrit, his family conditions didn’t allow it and his father wanted him to take his family profession of Bhagvat recital, thus in July 1884, Malaviya started his career as a teacher in Allahabad District School. In December 1886, he attended the Ilnd Congress session in Calcutta under chairmanship of Dadabhai Naoroji, where he spoke on the issue of representation in Councils.

His address not only impressed Dadabhai but also Raja Rampal Singh, the ruler of Kalakankar estate near Allahabad, who had started a Hindi weekly Hindustan but was looking for a suitable editor to turn it into a daily. Though he was young at that time, Malaviya’s earlier writings and speeches helped him acqui e the characteristics of a journalist.

Thus in July 1887, he left his school job and joined as the editor of the nationalist weekly, he remained there for two and a half years, and left for Allahabad to join L.L.B. He worked in editorial of Hindi daily ‘Hindustan’, English daily ‘Indian Opinion’ and started Hindi weekly ‘Abhyudaya’.

After finishing his Law degree, he started practising Law at Allahabad District Court in 1891, and moved to Allahabad High Court by December 1893. Soon he became a brilliant Civil Lawyer and continued practice till he decided to give up his roaring practice on his 50th birthday and retired in 1913 to serve the country.

When the British Government tried to bring in the Press Act and Newspaper Act in 1908, Malaviya 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, he started the English daily ‘Leader’ in 1909 with the help of Pt. Motilal Nehru. In 1910, Malaviya started the Hindi paper ‘Maryada’. He took active control of ‘Hindustan Times’ from Delhi in 1924.