Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya or Mahamana Malaviya, as he was popularly known, was born on 25th December 1861 at Prayag, in a family of six brothers and two sisters. His grandfather Pt Premdhar and father Pt Baijnath were Sanskrit scholars. His father, Pt Baijnath, was also an excellent Kathavacak (narrator of the stories from Bhagawat). After initial training in Sanskrit, Malaviyaji joined the Saraswati School for study in English. He passed his B.A. from Muir Central College in 1884. He was married in 1878 to Kumari Devi of Mirzapur. Circumstances forced him in 1884 to join the Government School as a teacher for a salary of Rs.40 per month.
After his graduation and the job of a teacher in 1884, Malaviyaji could pursue his education only from 1889 and passed LLB course in 1891. He first practiced in the District court in 1891 and then in the High Court from 1893. He decided to give up his roaring practice during his 50th birthday and retired in 1913 to serve the country. Gopala Krishna Gokhale 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”.
Malaviyaji worked in the editorial of Hindi daily ‘Hindosthan’ (1887-1889), English daily ‘Indian Opinion’ (1889-), started Hindi weekly ‘Abhyuday’ (1907-1909 under his editorship). Started English daily with the help of Motilal Nehru ‘Leader’ When the English Government tried to bring in the Press Act and Newspaper Act in 1908, Malaviyaji started a campaign against the Act and called an All India Conference in Allahabad. He then realized the need of an English Newspaper to make the campaign effective throughout the country. As a result, he started the English daily `Leader’ in 1909 with the help of Pt. Motilal Nehru. He was associated with ‘Leader’ as Editor 1909-1911 and as the President 1911-1919. In 1910, Malaviyaji started the Hindi paper `Maryada’. He took active control of `Hindusthan Times’ from Delhi in 1924. `Sanatana Dharma’, a magazine dedicated to religious, dharmic interests, was started in 1933 from BHU.
Malaviyaji’s firm grounding in the tenets of Hindu Dharma led him to strong beliefs on right attitude, right thinking, right expression and right actions in every field of his activity.
He was catapulted into the political arena immediately after his first thrilling speech at the Second Congress Session in Calcutta, held in 1886. He served the Congress for almost 50 years and worked with 50 Congress Presidents. He was the Congress President for a record of four times.
He visualized the importance of education and the hardships of the students early in life. He set up the ‘MacDonald Hindu Boarding House’ to accommodate 230 students in 1903 in Allahabad, by collecting a public donation of Rs 1.3 lakhs. This appears to be the precursor for his grand vision of the Banaras Hindu University, which he built up from a vision in 1900 to a reality in 1916. These examples show his keen analysis of a problem, ability to think of a workable solution, motivate a team to work, collect large amount of funds for a public cause and realize the dream.
Pt. Malaviya ji was one of the founders of Scouting in India. He also founded a highly influential, English-newspaper, The Leader published from Allahabad in 1909. He was also the Chairman of Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946. His efforts resulted in the launch of its Hindi edition named Hindustan Dainik in 1936.
This great son of this soil passed away on 12 November 1946 (aged 84) at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Pandit ji was posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, on 24 December 2014, a day before his 153rd Birth Anniversary.