New Delhi: A multifaceted personality, Madan Mohan Malaviya was an educationist who founded the Banaras Hindu University and became one of the torchbearers of the freedom struggle acting as a bridge between the Moderates and the Extremists.
Known for his espousal of Hindu nationalism- being one of the initial leaders of the far-right Hindu Mahasabha- Malaviya was a social reformer and a successful Parliamentarian.
Malaviya was catapulted into the political arena immediately after his inspiring speech at the second Congress session in Calcutta in 1886. He went on to serve Congress for almost 50 years. He served as Congress President for four times- in 1909 (Lahore), in 1918(Delhi), in 1930 (Delhi) and in 1932 (Calcutta).
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.
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.
Malaviya passed LLB and first practiced in the district court and then in the High Court. Malaviya decided to give up his roaring practice on his 50th birthday to serve the country.
Giving an insight into his contribution, freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale had said, "Malaviyaji's sacrifice is a real one. Born in a poor family, he started earning thousands monthly. He tasted luxury and wealth but giving heed to the call of the nation, renouncing all, he again embraced poverty".
He also founded a highly influential English newspaper- The Leader- published from Allahabad in 1909.
Malaviya was actively involved with the Allahabad Municipal Board and was also member of the Provincial Legislative Council during 1903-1918, Central Council during 1910-1920, elected member of the Indian Legislative Assembly during 1916-1918 and attended the second Round Table Congference in 1931.
Bidding farewell to active politics in 1937, he focused his attention on social issues.
He worked for the education of women besides supporting widow remarriage and opposed child marriage.
Malaviya died in 1946.