VARANASI: Conferring of Bharat Ratna on late Mahamana Pt Madan Mohan Malviya by the Government of India on the eve of his 152th birth anniversary has not only brought jubilation on Banaras Hindu University campus but also left the academicians and scholars of travelling back to memory lanes to recall his personality and outstanding contributions.
Recalling history they said that Malaviya envisioned BHU to serve as a premier centre of world knowledge for vigorous search of deeper quest and knowledge in all possible disciplines ranging from classical ancient Indian culture, philosophy, religion, humanities, arts to modern science, medicine, agriculture, engineering and technology. According to BHU scholars as well as history available at varsity, Malaviya was a strong proponent of science and engineering education in India. Prior to establishment of the BHU, he had realized the role of modern science in building a strong India.
He was aware that science and technology could be the prime movers for the prosperity of resurgent India. He was of the view that India cannot regain its prosperity until the application of modern science becomes naturalized in the country. When Malaviya established the BHU in 1916, he had authored the prospectus of the university encompassing a comprehensive educational programme to impart the students the knowledge of Indian cultural heritage, ethics, and human values so that they do not get carried away by western civilization.
At the same time, he served as a crusader to introduce the teachings of various disciplines of basic as well as modern science and engineering including agriculture and medicine so that large number of scientists, engineers and industrial leaders could be produced from the university capable of alleviating the sufferings of the masses by scientific solutions to the problems, by increasing agricultural and industrial production and creating wealth.
Malaviya always advocated for revival of Indian industries. With the donations received from Maharaja of Patiala and the Jodhpur Darbar, Malaviya initiated degree courses in Electrical and Mechanical engineering in BHU in July 1919, on the pattern of the courses run in British universities. He had realized the vast potential of mineral wealth of India and the deficiency of expertise to handle metals and mineral resources.
Therefore Geology as a degree course was started in 1920 at BHU and degree courses in Mining and Metallurgy were started in the Engineering College in 1923. The first department of Industrial Chemistry in India was initiated in 1921 at BHU. Malaviya pioneered the beginning of the courses in Ceramics and Glass Technology in the Engineering College in 1924 where soaps, cosmetics, glass-wares and porcelain materials were manufactured.
For the first time in India BSc and MSc degree courses in Pharmacy were initiated by Malaviya at BHU in the year 1935.
Former Information and Public Relations Officer of BHU Dr Vishwanath Pandey said Malaviya’s life was replete with innumerable social causes and commitments, which tested and proved the character of the happy warrior in him.
Social work started from the very beginning of Malaviya’s life, when as a youth in 1889 he founded the Bharati Bhavan Library, which is still serving the citizens of Allahabad. He also started a Boy Scout Unit in 1918 under the Prayag Seva Samiti to inculcate the spirit of service from a young age. Malaviyaji’s work for uplifting the oppressed classes was not due to any political motive, but more due to his own inner conscience and firm belief. In 1912, Malaviya encouraged his son Ramakant, to start the Yatri Seva Samiti, which later became Prayag Seva Samiti.
The main objective was to extend help to the thousands of illiterate and helpless pilgrims. In January 1933, he persuaded the Sanatana dharma leaders to ameliorate the condition of the deprived classes. When the Harijan tour undertaken by Gandhiji ended on 29 July 1934 at Banaras, a meeting was held at the Central Hindu School grounds. Malaviya spoke in support of equal civil and religious rights to Harijans.
According to Pandey, Malaviya was keen on educating the oppressed classes and the poor. His work started as early as in 1909 when he stressed the need for educating them. When BHU was established, he helped many poor, backward and needy persons to receive quality education there.
In 1925, Malaviya had gone for the Mahasabha Conference to Patna and on the way back he addressed a huge gathering in Arrah. When he was getting into the car someone brought a young lad, Jagjivan Ram, and said that he had matriculated but had difficulty in pursuing further studies.
Malaviya spontaneously told him to bring this boy with him to the university. Admitting him to the university, housing him in the hostel, waiving his fees and hostel expenses were all within the power of the vice chancellor, but what mattered most was the invitation to study along with his own son Govind.
This was the humane side of Malaviya. He opened a separate Women’s College in the BHU campus in 1928, for undergraduate courses in the disciplines of the arts, sciences and humanities. He also encouraged women to take admission in other advanced courses.