Great Privilege to BHU
Ex-Head Dept. of Geology
The name and the fame of Revered Malaviyaji as national leader of India had spread far and wide and we used to hear it even in our school going age. Every student in those days, used to regard it a matter of great privilege if his parents decided to send him to the Banaras Hindu University this University was regarded as Cambridge and Oxford of India naturally when my guardians decided to send me to Banaras I was over-joyed at this selection of theirs. During my college days when I was a student of this University and during the period of my service in this University, I had innumerable opportunities of observing the great personality from very close quarters. His versatile personality was like a diamond having so many facets and each time one observed a new facet of his personality shed brilliance from that facet.
Remark on Donation from other Countries
His national pride was beyond imagination. After my return from England, in one of the meetings which he had called to find ways and means of collecting funds for the Hindu University as the University in those days used to have immense financial difficulties. The then Government gave only a small fraction of the total expenditure of this University and the rest used to be collected by Revered Malaviyaji himself. One of the members present in that meeting proposed to get donations from Ford Foundation and other charitable institutions of U.S.A. and of other countries. Most of us who were present thought that this was a very fine proposal which will remove the financial difficulties of the University without much efforts. Within a very short time we were all surprised that inspite of the great financial difficulties, Revered Malaviyaji atonce remarked “Will you then have the pride of calling this University as your University?”
While advocating Swadeshi to students, he used to say that he adopted Swadeshi when he was much younger than many of the persons present there and thus they were having better understanding at the age than what we had when he started using Swadeshi.
Death of Son and Fast unto Death of Gandhiji
His nationalism too was beyond conception. After the death of his elder son, Ramakanjee, some Professors and the Heads of the Departments called on him on the third day to express our condolences. One by one our strength increased to more than 20 or 25 when we were taken to his room (outer glazed Varandah of Malaviya Bhawan). We waited for more than an hour and none of us could open our mouth to express our feeling of condolences as Malaviayji had surcharged the atmosphere with anxiety regarding the future of India if something untowards happened to the life of Mahatma Gandhi who had then undertaken a fast unto death in Agha Khan Palace and Malaviayji was having trunkcalls to various persons in Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, etc. for Malaviyaji the anxiety of the future of India was much greater than the great grief which had fallen on him in his old age.
In politics Malaviyaji always avoided extremes. The result was that he never had a group of his own, but persons in different groups used to always run to him for advice. He was always very practical. Once he came to deliver a speech to the crowd of the students and began in English. A good number of students in the crowd started clamourning for Hindi-Hindi. Malaviyaji atonce switched on his speech in a very fluent Sanskrit which a majority of the people in the crowd could not follow. Then the voice came we are unable to follow. Atonce Malaviyaji switched on to English and told the students to let him speak in a language which everyone will follow and he then continued his speech in English which was interrupted in the beginning.
Reply to Dr. Hume’s lecture
His conception of religion and philosophy was supreme. When that famous scholar of Sanskrit and Hindu religion, I mean, Dr. Hume, who I understand has translated Upanishads etc., came to the University and delivered a lecture on Hinduism. He happened to begin his lecture with his Idol worship etc. At the end of his lecture, Malaviyaji asked Prof. A.B. Dhruva, Principal of C.H.C., and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University, a great scholar of Sanskrit and Philosophy, to reply to Dr. Hume’s lecture. Principal Dhruva could not say anything in reply to his lecture. Then Malaviyaji himself stood up and expounded the ideas of Hindu religion that idol worship etc. were meant for the beginner who could not understand or conceive the real conception of Hindu philosophy. Malaviyaji contributed by saying that according to this idea, God is a “Jyoti” (Eternal Flame) and spark of which resided in every living being and by living an ideal life everybody could raise himself or herself to be not only nearer the God but get merged into the Eternal Flame. At the end of the lecture of Malaviyaji, the old man, Dr. Hume stood up and said “Several decades of my intense study of Hinduism have been a waste and it is only today that I have learnt the true significance of Hindu Philosophy at the feet of Malaviyaji.