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Sunday, 7 April 2013

92) Commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of “Mahamana” Madan Mohan Malaviya(1861–1946): Freedom Fighter and Founder of the Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.):

92) Commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of “Mahamana” Madan Mohan Malaviya(1861–1946): Freedom Fighter and Founder of the Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.):

Madan Mohan Malaviya was born in an orthodox Brahmin Hindu family at Allahabad on 25.12.1861. His family had originally migrated to Allahabad from Malwa, in the province of Madhya Pradesh, India, hence the name “Malaviya”. His father was a Sanskrit scholar and earned a living by reciting the “Bhagwat Katha” (an ancient Hindu religious custom – still prevalent today). 

His Education:

-      In 1866, he had his early schooling, in the Sanskrit medium, at “Pandit Hardeva’s Dharma Gyanopadesh Pathshala” (translated in English as “Pandit Hardeva’s Religious Lectures/Discourses School”). Later, he studied at “Vidha Vardini Sabha” and the “Allahabad Zila School” (the Allahabad District School). He developed an interest in writing poetry under the pen-name “Makarand” which were accepted for publication in several journals and magazines.

-      In 1879, he joined Muir Central College (present day Allahabad University) from where he completed his Matriculation.

-      In 1884, he received a scholarship which enabled him to complete his graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calcutta (present day – Kolkata) University.

-      He wanted to study further and complete his Master of Arts studies in Sanskrit, but his family did not have the means to afford his further studies.

-      He accordingly had no option but to take up an appointment as a school teacher on a salary of Rs.40/- per month in the same year.

-      In 1891, he passed the Law examination, like many young men of his time, and started practicing law at Allahabad District Court in 1891 itself. Later, in 1893, he started practicing in the Allahabad High Court where he had a good income.

His political interests and other social/public activities:

-      In 1886, he attended the second session of the Indian National Congress (INC) held in Calcutta, during which he astounded everyone with his speech highlighting his concern for better economic and social conditions of his countrymen, more Indian participation in the country’s development and higher responsibilities/positions through representation in Councils and better terms to be demanded from the British India Authorities for this purpose.

-       He particularly impressed Dadabhai Naoroji, the Chairman of the 2nd Congress session and Raja Rampal Singh, Ruler of Kalakankar Estate near Allahabad who had started a Nationalist Hindi weekly newspaper “Hindustan”.

-      From 1886 to 1936, he attended almost all the Annual sessions of Indian National Congress (INC). He was a moderate leader of the party.

-      In 1887 and 1892, he persuaded the INC to hold its Annual sessions at Allahabad which was a tremendous success in outlining a road-map for the future, largely due to his efforts. In his oration he covered the general subjugation of the country by the British, the poverty of the masses owing to British economic policies and the monopoly of the higher posts in the Indian Civil Services by officers recruited from England.

-      In 1902, he was elected to the Provincial Legislative Council due to his immense popularity in doing public service.

-      In 1909, he was elected to the Imperial Legislative Council. When the Council was converted into the “Central Legislative Assembly” he remained its member till 1926.

-      He used both his above positions to advocate free and compulsory education and the prohibition of recruitment of Indian indentured labour for British colonies. He believed in the industrialisation of the country, in order to fight poverty and backwardness.

-      In 1916, he was appointed as a member of the “Indian Industrial Commission” where he contributed valuable suggestions for development of Industries in India.

-      He was elected President of the Congress in 1909, 1918, 1932 and 1933, but due to his arrest by the British India Government, he could not preside over the 1932 and 1933 sessions which had been banned.

-      In 1921, during the non-cooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi, he did not stand for Indian Legislative Council elections. He was one of the important figures of the Non-cooperation Movement and was arrested along with 450 other INC volunteers in Delhi on 25.04.1932, a few days after he was appointed President of the Congress.

-      From 1924 to 1930, he became a member of the Assembly and resigned from his seat shortly after the Salt Satyagraha.

-      In 1928, he was at the forefront of the protests against the Simon Commission (which had been set up by the British Government to consider India’s future) and joined Lala Lajpat Rai and many others in the demonstrations.

-      In 1931, he represented India along with Mahatma Gandhi at the First Round Table Conference.

-      In 1932, he issued a INC manifesto urging people to adopt a “Buy Indian” movement on the lines of the “Buy British” campaign sweeping Britain.

Views on Religious matters:

-      He was a great teacher and strongly believed in the teachings of the “Bhagwad Gita”, a Hindu Religious Text.

-      Initially, because of his background, he believed in the “Vamashrama Dharma” (caste system). However, he adjusted and responded admirably to the changing social conditions in the country and later on he was totally against the caste system and believed in egalitarianism.

-      He felt strongly about the injustices meted out to the depressed classes, particularly in regard to the temple entry and fought for their cause with the upper class Hindus. To this end he led a group of about 200 members of the depressed classes led by P.N. Rajbhog, a Hindu depressed classes leader and demanded and got entry a symbolic entry into the Kala Ram temple on a Rath Yatra day. This was followed by several such efforts at various other Hindu temples on his part.

-      He stood for communal harmony although communal riots had become more common-place and advocated that India was the motherland of both Hindus and Muslims and that neither would be at an advantage nor would become superior to the other  community by indulging in communal violence and destroying temples and mosques. He emphasized that everyone was an Indian first. For his secular views, he was invited by several Hindu, Muslim and Christian groups in their meetings for promoting communal harmony.

His Journalistic accomplishments:

-      In 1887, he left his teaching assignment, when A.O.Hume, the General Secretary of the INC who had taken special notice of the young Malaviya’s visionary speech, prevailed on Raja Rampal Singh to appoint Malaviya as the Editor of “Hindustan”, which was turned into a daily newspaper in his tenure.

-      Malaviya used this forum to highlight the abject poverty of the majority of Indians and the indifference of the British towards them. He had taken a resolve to dedicate his whole life towards the service of the Nation instead of continuing with his legal profession at Allahabad High Court.

-      Being a freedom fighter he realized the need for a newspaper to educate the masses of India. Towards this end, in his zeal for public work, he started a newspaper “Abhyudaya” a Hindi weekly in 1907 which was converted into a daily newspaper by 1915.

-      The basic objective of this paper was to create awareness among the masses about their rights and freedom from oppression of any kind, the ultimate goal being – full dominion status for India.

-      In 1909, he started another newspaper the “Leader”, an English daily.

-      In 1910, he started yet one more weekly paper “Maryada” in Hindi.

-      He was also the founder-editor of a Weekly called “The Indian Union” (in English).

-      From 1924 to 1946, he was the Chairman of the Board of directors of the Hindustan Times. His efforts resulted in the launch of its Hindi edition in 1936.

-      He saved the paper from going out of print, when he raised Rs.50,000/- to acquire the Newspaper along with Nationalist leaders – Lala Lajpat Rai, M.R. Jayakar and G.D.Birla and started publishing the paper from New Delhi.

His writings/compilations:

Among his several writings the prominent ones are – “A criticism of Montagu-Chelmsford proposals of Indian Constitutional Reforms (1918) and “Speeches and writings of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya” (1919).

There are several biographies were written on him.

Setting up the Banaras Hindu University:

-      In 1911, he started the work of establishing a Hindu University at Varanasi, with the assistance of Annie Besant. Annie Besant and other trustees of the “Central Hindu College” (which she had founded in 1898), decided to merge their College with the new Banaras Hindu University which was set up in 1916, through a Parliamentary Legislation under “BHU Act 1915”.

-      He was the Vice Chancellor of the University from 1919-1938.

-      He went to great lengths to take contributions from donors for setting up the University.

-      On his efforts to collect funds for setting up the University, Mahatma Gandhi is quoted to have said “Great are Malaviyaji’s services to the country. I have no doubt that the Hindu University constitutes his greatest service and achievement. He has worn himself out for the work that is dear to him as life itself. Everyone knows that there is no greater beggar than Malaviyaji on the face of this Earth. He never begged for himself by the Grace of God he has never been in want, but he became a voluntary beggar for causes he has made his own and God has always filled his bowl in an overflowing measure”.

-      Today, the Banaras Hindu University which is one of the oldest and most prestigious residential Universities in Asia and one of the largest in the World having over 14000 students in various Arts, Engineering, Sciences and Technology disciplines.

Other Popular contributions:

1)   He is credited with coining the popular slogan “Satyameva Jayate” (meaning “Truth alone will prevail/triumph/win”) which has been included in the emblem of the Government of India from the early Nineteen Eighties and is seen below the Lion Capital.

2)   He started the tradition of performing “Aarti”” at “Har Ki Pauri” in Haridwar on the Banks of the Ganges, a river sacred to the Hindus, a custom that is followed to the present day. A small island across the Ganges is named the “Malviya Dwipa” (Malaviya Island) in his honour.

3)   From 1914 to 1946, he was the President of the All India “Seva Samiti” an organisation on the lines of “Boy Scouts”,  that he helped  start in 1913 after joining hands with Justice Vivian Bose, Pandit Hridayanath Kunzru, Girija Shankar Bajpai, Annie Besant and George Arundale.

Differences of Opinion with Mahatma Gandhi:

-      He was known for his gentleness and humility, but was firm/rigid in the belief of his principles so much so that he had the courage to differ from Mahatma Gandhi on several issues at the risk of becoming unpopular.

-      For example, he opposed the boycott of schools and colleges, burning of foreign goods and the boycott of the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1921.

-      He considered a responsive co-operation a better policy rather than civil disobedience advocated by Gandhi although he participated in the Non-cooperation Movement out of respect for Mahatma Gandhi and was arrested by the British India authorities.

-      He opposed the policy of appeasement and separate electorates for Muslims under the Lucknow Pact of 1916 and opposed the participation of the Congress in the “Khilafat Movement” in the early twenties.

-      He cautioned Mahatma Gandhi against bargaining for freedom at the cost of division of the country.

Although he had his differences with Mahatma Gandhi, they had a mutual respect for each other’s philosophies and personalities.

His death and legacy:

-      Madan Mohan Malaviya was a freedom fighter and a social reformer with a vision of a new and developed India and vociferously espoused the cause of Independence from British Rule and Self-Government for Indians.

-      He worked with Annie Besant to set up the Banaras Hindu University, which although aimed primarily at the education of poor Hindu students, nevertheless boasted of students of all communities on its rolls.

-       He was a political leader of mass acceptance as well as a legal and educational luminary. To realize has resolve to serve the cause of education and social service, he renounced his well established practice of Law in 1911.

-      Only once did he don the advocate’s robes, when he represented 177 freedom fighters sentenced to the gallows and through his powerful presentation/arguments in Court, was able to have 156 persons acquitted.

-      He stood for equality of women in all respects. 

-      Although he was a strong supporter of Hindi language and exhorted the young Hindu students to re-learn their cultural and historical heritage, he promoted the use of words from all languages, that were in use in daily vocabulary, to be included in Hindi as well – Persian, Turkish, English and Urdu – such usage has been recognised by most English dictionaries for quite some time.

-      He occupied a very high position in public life and stood for the  the economic development of the country, promotion of indigenous industries, education, religion, social service/reform, development of Hindi and other matters of National importance continued to occupy his attention till the very end.

-      The Indian National Congress had virtually disowned him, and in their official collection of speeches of past Presidents – his speeches were the only ones missing because they associated him with promoting the cause of Hinduism. Nevertheless, in some libraries, these are still available.

He did not live to see a free India and passed away at the age of 86 on 12.11.1946, having contracted pneumonia.


-      His life-size portrait graces the Central Hall of the Parliament of India and a life size statue stands in front of the BHU main gate.

-      A National Memorial to his memory was inaugurated in Delhi in 2008.

-      Residential localities in Allahabad, Lucknow, Delhi, Bhopal and Jaipur were named Malaviya Nagar in his memory. A postage stamp has been brought out in his honour. Malaviya National Institute of Technology (MNIT) at Jaipur and Madan Mohan Malaviya Engineering College in Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh, India) are both named after him.

-      At 12.00 A.M. on 15.08.1947 when India gained Independence from the British Raj, his son, Govind Malaviya, himself a noted Parliamentarian and freedom fighter,  was given the honour of blowing the conch three times, to herald the dawn of a new beginning, in honour of the selfless work done by his late father.

-      A Centre for Studies in his memory is being set up at the Benares Hindu University apart from various scholarships and Education related awards constituted in his memory.

-      During 2011, his 150th Birth Anniversary was celebrated in several functions/programmes organised for the purpose.

Commemorative coin issued by Reserve Bank of India:

The Reserve Bank of India has issued a five rupee coin in March 2013 to commemorate the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-2011), for general circulation. The specifications of the coin are:

Shape: Circular; Diameter: 23 mm; Number of Serrations: 100; Metal Composition: Nickel Brass (Copper – 75%; Zinc – 20%; Nickel – 5%).

Reverse of the five rupee coin issued on the occasion.  The coin shows a portrait of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya in the centre. Along the periphery of this face of the coin is the inscription “Madan Mohan Malaviya ki 150vi Jayanti” (in Hindi/ Devnagri) on the left and “150thBirth Anniversary of Madan Mohan Malaviya” (in English) on the right hand side. At the bottom, below his portrait are mentioned the Anniversary years “1861-2011”.

Notice something different about the Mumbai Mint mark, which is displayed prominently below the inscription on the bottom of this face of the coin.  The Mumbai Mint has made a departure from its usual “diamond” mint mark and given an “M” mint mark, usually reserved for Proof coins issued by the Mumbai Mint. Intentional or is it a minting oversight? 

(I have nicknamed this coin the “4M” coin – three Ms for the initials of “Madan Mohan Malaviya” and the fourth M is for the Mumbai Mint Mark).(:-)

Obverse of the five Rupee coin. This face shows the Lion Capital in the centre with the legend “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth will Prevail/triumph) inscribed below the legend, which is also the phrase coined by Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya himself. On the left periphery/flank is the word “Bharat”, in Hindi/Devnagri script and on the right hand periphery/flank is mentioned “India”, in English. On the bottom half of the coin is mentioned the denominational value of the coin with the numeral “5” preceded by the rupee symbol.

Given below are another two images of the obverse and reverse of another coin issued on this occasion, minted at the IGM Mumbai:

Notice that on the reverse of this coin issued by the Mumbai Mint the usual “Diamond” mint mark has been engraved by the Mumbai Mint. I wonder, if the coin with the “M” mint mark shown above qualifies as an error coin in view of this aberration.

It speaks volumes of the “questionable” quality of minting of coins at the Mumbai Mint (and other Mints?), that, the outer shining layer/ coating of this coin has already come off, although, the coin has been in circulation for less than a  month. 

Perhaps, a relook is required at the Reserve Bank of India/ India Government Mints to ensure that minted coins retain their coating/shine at least for a few years and have uniform mint marks, particularly in the case of commemorative coins, which are issued to honour persons, events and institutions etc. who/which have left their mark in shaping Indian History!!

Posted on 24.12.14:

Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya has been awarded the Bharat Ratna posthmously, which is the highest Civilian award given in India, along with the popular Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's most popular Prime Minister. He is the first pre-Independence era prominent Indian to be awarded the Bharat Ratna. The awards are proposed to be given on 26th January 2015, India's Republic day.

Posted on 14.03.2015:

Commemorative Coin issued by the Hyderabad Mint booked in August 2014, has been received today from the Mint.

The cover of the album on which is shown an image of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya standing before the main entrance of the “Kashi Hindu Viswavidyalaya” (KHV – in Hindi) or “Banaras Hindu University” (BHU - in English). On the top of the album is mentioned “Smarak Sikka” in Hindi and “Commemorative Coin” in English. Also mentioned on this cover is “Madan Mohan Malaviya Ki 150vin Jayanti 1861-2011” (in Hindi) and “150th Birth Anniversary of Madan Mohan Malaviya 1861-2011” (in English).

On the second page of the album, inter alia, is a description of the life and works of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya which states as follows:

“Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was born in Allahabad, uttar Pradesh on 25th December 1861. He was an educationist, freedom fighter, social reformer, author & journalist. He was the President of Indian National Congress for two times in 1909 and 1918. He was an important figure in the Non-Cooperation Movement. In 1931, he took part with Mahatma Gandhi in the London Round Table Conference. He was founder editor of two nationalist weeklies named Hindustan (in Hindi) and The Indian Union (in English). He was given the title of “Mahamana” by Mahatma Gandhi. The Benaras Hindu University (BHU) was established by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in 1916 at Varanasi, a prominent institution of learing in India today. This is one of the largest residential Universities in Asia. He was the Vice Chancellor of BHU from 1919 to 1938.”

This coin was released on 25.12.2012.

On page 3 of the album is shown Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya with Mahatma Gandhi in discussion.

 Obverse of the Rupees Five Commemorative coin. In the Centre is the Lion Capitol of Emperor Asoka with the legend “Satyameva Jayate” in Hindi meaning “Truth always Prevails” which is the emblem of the Government of India. On the left periphery is mentioned “Bharat” (in Hindi) and on the right periphery is mentioned “India” (in English). The denomination of the coin “Rs.5” is at the extreme bottom.

This page in the coin album, inter alia, shows a photo of the Department of Chemistry, Centre of Advanced Study in the Kashi Hindu Vishwavidyalaya.

Reverse of the Rupees Five Commemorative coin. In the centre is a portrait of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya. On the left to upper periphery of this coin is mentioned “ Madan Mohan Malaviya ki 150vin Jayanti” (in Hindi) and on the upper to right periphery is mentioned “150thBirth Anniversary of Madan Mohan Malaviya” (in English). Below this inscription is the “Star” mint mark of the Hyderabad Mint.Below Mahamana's portrait is mentioned the Commemoration period 1861-2011.

The specifications of this coin are:

Denomination: Rs. Five; Metal Composition: Alloy Ni-Brass; Copper: 75%, Zinc: 20%, Nickel: 5%; Dimensions: Diameter: 23 mm; Weight:6.00 gms.

Posted on 06.09.2017:

The Commemorative coins issued on the occasion:

Mumbai Mint has brought out a two–coin commemorative set for this occasion. A Rs.150/- coin together with a Rs.5/- coin have been released both as Proof and Circulating coin sets.

I have received the two coin proof commemorative coin set from the Mumbai mint last week.
The above image is that of the cover of the two-coin Proof set album, showing a familiar image of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya. To the bottom right is a tag indicating that this is a “Proof set”.

 The obverse faces of the 2 coins showing their denominational values Rs.150/- and Rs.5/- as the coins appear on the coin album. 

 The reverse faces of the 2 coins as they appear on the coin album. 

Obverse of the Rs 150/- (Rupees One hundred and fifty) coin showing the Lion Capitol in the top centre with the words “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth always prevails) in Hindi/Devnagri inscribed below it, below which is the denominational value of the coin preceded by the rupee symbol. On the left periphery is the name of the country “Bharat” (in Hindi/Devnagri) and on the right periphery is mentioned “India” (in English).
 Reverse of the Rs 150/- (Rupees One hundred and fifty) coin showing a portrait of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya.  Below his portrait are mentioned the years under commemoration “1861-2011”. On the left periphery of the coin is mentioned “ Madan Mohan Malaviya ki 150vin Jayanti” (in Hindi) and on the upper to right periphery is mentioned “150thBirth Anniversary of Madan Mohan Malaviya” (in English). Below this inscription is the “M” mint mark of the Mumbai Mint, which is reserved for Proof Quality coins only .

Obverse of the Rs 5/- (Rupees five) coin showing the Lion Capitol in the top centre with the words “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth always prevails) in Hindi/Devnagri inscribed below it, below which is the denominational value of the coin preceded by the rupee symbol. On the left periphery is the name of the country “Bharat” (in Hindi/Devnagri) and on the right periphery is mentioned “India” (in English).

Reverse of the Rupees Five Commemorative coin. In the centre is a portrait of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya. On the left to upper periphery of this coin is mentioned “ Madan Mohan Malaviya ki 150vin Jayanti” (in Hindi) and on the upper to right periphery is mentioned “150thBirth Anniversary of Madan Mohan Malaviya” (in English). Below this inscription is the “M” mint mark of the Mumbai Mint, which is reserved for Proof Quality coins only . Below Mahamana's portrait is mentioned the Commemoration period 1861-2011.

The specifications of these two coins are as under: 

a)   The Rupees 150 coin:

Shape: Circular; Diameter/size: 44 mm; No. of serrations: 200; Weight: 35 gms.; Metal composition: Quaternary Alloy (silver: 50%, copper: 40%, nickel: 5%, Zinc: 5%).

b)   The Rupees 5 coin:

Shape: Circular; Diameter/size: 23 mm; No. of serrations: 100; Weight: 6 gms.; Metal composition: Nickel Brass (copper: 75%, zinc: 20%, nickel: 5 %).

Something is missing on the Commemorative coin album?

  Perhaps, the coin album could have contained a small/brief narration on Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya's life and his work for information of the Coin Collectors.

An image of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founded by Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya is seen on the back page of the coin album.

Links to Posts on Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya, and Varanasi City:

1) Commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-1946): Freedom Fighter and Founder of the Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U.)

 2) "Ghats of Varanasi": "MyStamps" (issued by India Post): Sumita

3) "Varanasi City": A set of Commemorative Stamps brought out by India Post on 24.10.2016

4) Banaras Hindu University (BHU): Celebrating the Centenary of its establishment (1916-2016): Two commemorative stamps brought out by India Post on 28.06.2017


  1. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented on 07.04.13:
    "Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya - a Great son of India !"

    1. Ramchandra Lalingkar has commented on 25.12.14:
      "Thanks for sharing again your post on FB about Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya who has been declared to be the 'Bharat Ratna' awardee along with Shri.Atal Bihari Bajpai !! Congratulations to both of them to get the highest 'Civilian Award' of India which will be conferred on coming 26th January 2015. One more thing common - Today is Birthday of both the Great Personalities !!

    2. Very nicely summed up, Lalingkar sahab.

  2. Krishnayya Ramadana has commented on 25.12.14:
    "Rajeev....thank you for the write up in your blog....."

    1. Thank you, Krishnayya. It was an old piece which I could'nt help sharing on FB/Twitter etc. after I heard the news of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya being awarded the Bharat Ratna.

    2. Krishnayya Ramadana has commented on 25.12.14:
      "Rajeev you must be having a room full of coins by now each telling a you collect the current foreign coins too?"

    3. Yes, I have a small collection of Indian coins and a few foreign coins. I stopped ordering the Foreign coins when I went into a "running battle" with the Mumbai Customs including RTI etc. & when some foreign mints stopped shipping coins to India, because of pilferages etc. Sumita, nevertheless, thinks that someday, my Coins & currency collection will bring the house crashing down. You are right about each one of the coins telling a tale. While other users think that it is just a small denomination coin or a currency note to be spent, Numismatists see how a particular coin/note connects with history and simply can't think of spending it.

  3. Shyam Sunder Shanker Naidu has commented on 25.12.14:
    "Very nice".

  4. Vishnu Kumar has commented on 25.12.14:
    "Salutations to you for your yeoman service. You are bringing out the pearls from the deep sea".

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement. Its just that Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya was a great Educationist & one of the more prominent leaders of the Independence Movement. Also I got lucky collecting the commemorative coin on him from an ice-cream shop opposite my residence, where the cashier was playing with this coin on the counter & he gave it to me on my asking him, although with some inquisitiveness !!