I have known Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya principally in connection with his endeavours to get Mysore connected with the Benaras Hindu University. In that connection, he visited Mysore at least twice. Though I had heard of him before then, by his eminent public services, I had not known him personally. My first meeting with him proved quite an experience. Some people had described him as an “anti-Mussalman”. A short conversation showed him untrue was such a description of the patriotic personality before me. This example, indeed, was more than sufficient to make me doubt the accuracy of popular verdicts. Pandit Malaviya is simply pro-Indian first and last. What impressed me most in him was his humility, his self-effacement and his sense of moral values. They say that self-abnegation is the law of life. If that be so, few, I think, will be disposed to dispute it. Here is one who has demonstrated it in his work for the country. I have heard a great lawyer say that if Mr. Malaviya had so willed it, he would have been a ornament to the legal profession. Perhaps a college professor would say, with equal truth, had he so desired, he would have been a splendid teacher of youth. A philosophically inclined person might claim him, perhaps with equal right, for his own fold. I am emphasizing not so much his versatility as the sacrifice he has made for the sake of advancing public interests. That is the outstanding merit of Pandit Malaviya. I draw pointed attention to it because it offers the true key to his character and his achievements in public services.
I do not think I need refer at any great length to his many-sided activities or to his great oratorical gifts, though of the latter something interesting might be said. He possesses in eminent degree the great powers of the orator-- to instruct, to move, to delight. The perfect rain of donation that has followed many a public speech of his on behalf of the Benaras University has, no doubt, to be set down to the marvelous effect of man’s mind, of his splendid eloquence. I sometimes wonder whether, in these days of crippled finances, Mysore may not secure unto herself an equally good money-dragging orator with my friend, the worthy Pandit. Perhaps the greatest achievement of Pandit Malaviya in the field of practical action has been the foundation of the Benaras Hindu University, which will ever stand a public monument to his disinterested labours in the cause of public education in the country. His persuasive skill carried all before him. After his second visit, it was almost impossible to resist him. The result was that His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore accepted the Chancellorship of the Benaras University. I am happy in the thought that what His Highness’s Government could do was done for this University. Quite apart from the financial aspect of the matter, Pandit Malaviya was anxious to have the moral support of a Maharaja who is acknowledged on all hands to be the type of what a Hindu Sovereign should be -- a father to his subjects in the truest sense of that ancient and hallowed phrase.
It is pleasing to feel that a just tribute to the great work done by Pandit Malaviya is being paid to him on the 70th Anniversary of his birth. Pandit Malaviya wears his years lightly. He is, as the poet would have it, “A man not old, but mellow like good wine”.
I gladly join my countrymen in praying my personal tribute to the eminent worth and work of one of the foremost among Indian patriots.