Late freedom fighter and social reformer Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya has been chosen for the prestigious Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, posthumously, a day before his 153rd birth anniversary, Dec 25.
Apart from being the president of the Indian National Congress, the Allahabad-born visionary was one of the first members of right-wing Hindu Mahasabha.
- Born in an educated orthodox Hindu family at Prayag (Allahabad) in 1861.
- Malviya started his career as a teacher in Allahabad District School but continued to pursue his education.
- He was also addressed as 'Mahamana', a title conferred to him by Mahatma Gandhi.
President of INC:
- Immediately after his first moving speech at the second session of Indian National Congress held in Calcutta in 1886, he was catapulted into the political arena.
- He served as Congress President for four times- in 1909 (Lahore), in 1918(Delhi), in 1930 (Delhi) and in 1932 (Calcutta).
- He went on to serve Congress for almost 50 years.
Participation in the freedom struggle:
- In the freedom struggle, Malaviya was midway between the Liberals and the Nationalists, the Moderates and the Extremists, as the followers of Gokhale and Tilak were respectively called.
- In 1930, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Salt Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience Movement, he participated in it and courted arrest.
- Mahatama Gandhi considered him as an elder brother and would call Him "Maker of Modem India".
- About him Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India, said, "He was a great soul, one of those who laid foundation of Modern Indian Nationalism".
Founder of BHU:
- Besides being a freedom fighter and politician, Pt Malaviya was also an eminent educationist.
- He is remembered as the founder of Benaras Hindu University (BHU), the largest residential university in Asia and one of the largest in the world, at Varanasi, in 1916.
- He served as the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the BHU in between 1919-1938.
- He was one of the founders of 'Boy Scouts' in India.
Founder or editor of various news papers:
- Like his peers in the INC, Pt Malaviya had also founded a highly influential English-daily, The Leader published from Allahabad in 1909, to strengthen the freedom struggle.
- He was also the chairman of popular English-newspaper, Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.
- It was his efforts that led to the launch of its Hindi edition in 1936.
- He maintained his old association with Sanatan Dharma Sabha whose office was at his residence from where came out the weekly Sanatan Dharma, after freedom from active politics and university administration.
- He passed a year before the country achieved independence in Aug 15, 1947.
- At the time of his death, Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, wrote: "A great soul has left us. His name and work would inspire future generation and give - message that for a determined person nothing is impossible. His service to nation is beyond words. The vacuum created by his death can't be filled. He was a real patriot".
- He will be 43rd person to receive country's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will also get the honour along with him.