Bharat Ratna posthumously awarded to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya

India’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna was posthumously awarded to freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on Monday in New Delhi. The award was conferred on him by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and was accepted by Malaviya’s family members.

Madan Mohan Malaviya was the founder of the Banaras Hindu University in 1916. He was an Indian educationist and politician notable for his role in the Indian independence movement and as the four time president of Indian National Congress. He was respectfully addressed as Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and also addressed as ‘Mahamana’

Malaviya was the President of the Indian National Congress on four occasions (1909 & 1913, 1919, 1932) he left congress in 1934 and also one of the initial leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha.

Malaviya became the President of the Indian National Congress in 1909 and 1918. He was a moderate leader and opposed the separate electorates for Muslims under the Lucknow Pact of 1916. The “Mahamana” title was conferred to him by Mahatma Gandhi.

To redeem his resolve to serve the cause of education and social-service he renounced his well-established practice of law in 1911, for ever. In order to follow the tradition of Sannyasa throughout his life, he pursued the avowed commitment to live on the society’s support. But when 177 freedom fighters were convicted to be hanged in the Chauri-chaura case he appeared before the court, despite his vow and got acquitted 156 freedom fighters.

pandit malaviya

Malaviya played an important part in the removal of untouchability and in giving direction to the Harijan movement. The Harijan Sevak Sangh was founded at a meeting in 1933 at which Pandit Malaviya presided.

He worked for the eradication of caste barriers in temples and other social barriers. Malaviya made massive efforts for the entry of so called untouchables into any Hindu temple. In March 1936, Hindu Dalit (Harijan) leader P. N. Rajbhoj along with a group of 200 Dalit people demanded entry at the Kalaram Temple on a Rath Yatra day.

The slogan “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone will triumph) is also a legacy given to the nation by Pandit Malaviya as the President of the Indian National Congress in its session of 1918 at Delhi, by saying that this slogan from the Mundakopanishad should be the slogan for the nation.

Sharanya Bharathwaj