Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of Banaras Hindu University(BHU), has been conferred the Bharat Ratna along with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

He was born on December 25, 1861, in Allahabad and studied in Calcutta University.

He then became a school teacher and later a lawyer and even a newspaper editor, before creating the BHU in 1915.

He was also the founder of Hindu Mahasabha.

He died in 1946, a year before India’s Independence.

Some Other Details

Madan Mohan Malaviya is credited with popularising the term ‘Satyameva Jayate’ (Truth alone triumphs) – India’s national motto.

He did not coin the term. It is a mantra from the Upanishads, written thousands of years ago.

He really worked hard to make BHU a reality. On being denied funding to set up the university by the Nizam, he is said to have auctioned his slipper at a market. Eventually, it was the same Nizam who bid for the chappal and bought it at a massive price.

He was president of the party four times – in 1909, 1918, 1932 and 1933.

He is often described as a Hindu nationalist, but he always strived for Hindu-Muslim unity.

He gave two famous speeches on communal harmony – one in Lahore in 1922 and in Kanpur 1931. Here is another one, an excerpt from his presidential address at the INC’s Calcutta session in 1933.

He practiced as a lawyer at Allahabad High Court, defended most of the accused in the 1922 Chauri Chaura riots in Gorakhpur in UP and is said to have saved 153 accused from getting death penalty. Mahatma Gandhi had suspended his civil disobedience movement over the riots.

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