On 25th December 1861, Pandit Braj Nath and Moona Devi became parents to a boy. This boy grew up to be Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya who was given the Bharat Ratna on 24th December 2014 on the eve of his 153rd birth anniversary. Here are some amazing facts about this lesser known freedom fighter, politician and educationist.
1) He was the founder of the Benares Hindu University (BHU) and one of the founding members of the Scouts and Guides movement in India
2) He hailed from a family of Sanskrit scholars. Bhagavat recital was their family profession and Sri Malaviya took up the same in July 1884
3) He was elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1909, 1918 and 1932
4) He began his law practice in the Allahabad district court in 1891 and practiced in the Allahabad high court from December 1893
5) He was given the title of Mahamana by M.K. Gandhi
6) He was not only a lawyer and educationist but also a poet and journalist. He wrote under the pen name ‘Makrand’. Some of the newspapers he worked for included the Hindi daily Hindustan and English daily Indian opinion. He started his own Hindi weekly called Abhyudaya and the Hindi newspaper ‘Maryada’ in 1910
7) The credit of saving Hindustan Times from premature dissolution goes to the untiring efforts of Pandit Malaviya who raised 50000 rupees and acquired the paper in 1924
8) He popularised the slogan Satyameva Jayate taken from the Mundakopnishad and raised by him for the first time during the 1918 session in Delhi when he was the president
9) The tradition of Ganga Aarti at Har ki Pauri in Haridwar is credited to Sri Malaviya and continues till date
10) He worked for eradication of caste barriers and carried out several other social service works
He left his mortal coil on 12th November 1946, a year before the country gained independence. There are institutes named after him and the Indian Postal Department released a postage stamp to celebrate the centenary year of his birth as well. Malaviya Smriti Bhavan, inaugurated by late president Sri APJ Abdul Kalam on 25th December 2008, is located at 53, Deendayal Upadhyay Marg in Delhi and merits a visit. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya is among the several freedom fighters who has not got due recognition. He was associated with the Hindu Mahasabha and was strictly against appeasement politics. He was a Hindu nationalist in the true sense of the term. On his 156th birth anniversary let us pay tribute to this great educationist by vowing to revive spoken Sanskrit.