Pandit Malaviya was the most lovable of our public men; and he was respected as much as he was loved. At a time when full-timed politicians were rare the call to national service was so irresistible to him that he gave up a magnificent practice at the Bar in spite of onerous family obligations. There was no ostentation about his self-dedication; it came to him as naturally as fragrance does to the flower. Few men could have combined in themselves in so exceptional a degree so many aptitudes for a political career nourished by appropriate training. He had started life as a Hindi journalist and built up a fine reputation for his paper. And his interest in journalism continued to be close and friendly. It was his inside knowledge of the potentialities as well as the problems of the Press that made him a formidable critic of the Press laws which have made a mockery of freedom of opinion in this country. As a member of the Legislature for many decades he led the serried cohorts of nationalism against the citadel of the bureaucracy with an unruffled dignity, an urbane eloquence and a high moral fervor which won him the respect of even his most reactionary opponents. As an educational administrator his record must be accounted unique. Though numberless people have helped, he was the supreme architect of the Benares Hindu University. Of that grand achievement it might he justly said, what the well-known epitaph of Wren said of St. Paul's, Si monumentum requi-ris, circumspice.
The unifying influence in this long life of exceptionally crowded activity was Panditji's devotion to the faith of his fathers and the ancient culture of the land. Steeped in the literature, sacred and secular, which in Sanskrit still nourishes the roots of a living tradition, Pandit Malaviya was not in the unfortunate predicament of those who are born strangers to the splendid legacy from the past. Firmly anchored in the culture and mores of his people he looked out on the modern world with the frank and friendly eye of an equal. He was not indifferent to the great advances that Western science and social organisation had achieved. He wanted his countrymen to receive from the West the best it could give but not at the cost of their individuality or self-respect. And he had a robust faith in the power of Indian spirituality to bring health to an activity-mad world tormented by suicidal urges. Like all the best minds of both the hemispheres he realised that the first condition of India's rehabilitating herself and helping to persuade the world to follow the ways of peace and co-operation was for her to achieve political emancipation. It was because he was sustained by profound faith in the spirit of man that his mind retained to the end its resilience as well as vigour. He never stopped growing in tolerance, charity and understanding. The most orthodox and abstemious of men, he did not hesitate to disregard taboos and even braved the rigours of jail life when he felt that the people's interests might be imperilled or national self-respect was insulted. His devotion to Gandhiji was eloquent of the true greatness of the man. There was not in him an atom of vanity or amour propre. To the last he was a crusader for righteousness and because he saw in Gandhiji a pillar of fire he followed him unquestioningly in many a crisis when his own innate moderation and aversion to strife might have counselled a different course. He was a man cast in a large mould and such was his happy eclecticism that he could combine in himself many roles which in others might have seemed irreconcilable. He was a founder of the Hindu Mahasabha and yet his faith in the Congress never wavered. He was a true Sanatanist but with not the slightest suggestion of obscurantism about him. He was truly among the children of light.