Source: L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Great Men of India (Bombay: 1939)

Madan Mohan Malaviya

Born 1861, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was one of the greatest upholders of Hindu Orthodoxy. Among the national leaders of his generation, he supported the Hindu Faith in its most binding religious form and underwent incredible hardships in its name. He led a life of extreme simplicity, emulating the lifestyle of Brahmins in ancient India, which Brahmins of his day aspired towards. He was also one of the leaders in removing ‘untouchability’, a custom he insisted was not Hindu.

After the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, he spoke at length in the Central Legislative Council on its horrific and deplorable nature. Although he was not ready to accept Congress’ mandate on abandoning the legislature, he did not want to leave the Congress he was so deeply loyal to. As he could not change Congress’ attitude towards Non-Co-operation, he offered civil resistance and went to prison.

Later, he formed his own party, the Nationalist Party, which confined much of its membership to Hindus. This period of Non-Co-operation was difficult, and Pandit Malaviya offered himself for imprisonment many times over, although not for long periods. He remained enthusiastic even in prison, learning German and maintaining a youthful interest in things.

To those who knew him, Pandit Malaviya was described as both gentle and winning, was known for his great devotion to the public, and an even greater devotion to his Hindu faith.

Source: L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Great Men of India (Bombay: 1939)

Works

Statement on repression in India up to April 20, 1932 (Pandit Govind, 1932)

Speeches and writings of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (Madras: G.A. Natesan, 1919)

Ideas of IndiaIdeas of India