October 26 1946. Exactly twelve days before he uncoiled his earthly bonds, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya delivered a Sanatana or eternal message to the Sanatana society. In reality, it was his last civilisational will, testament and a portentous presage, the imprint of whose urgent warning has remained like an inexpungable slap across our faces. Like most other perceptive leaders and thinkers of his time, he had realized the inevitability of the partition of India. And like them, he also had, throughout his life, vainly reposed faith in an impossibility: the patriotism of Indian Muslims that he had naïvely thought would transcend the insurmountable obstacle of their faith in Islam. At the late age of 88, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya’s naïve faith cruelly shattered before his own eyes. However, instead of departing from this world with bitterness, he displayed the selfsame equanimity that characterized his entire life and work. His last message, for those who care to read it in full, still infuses extraordinary hope. The following is an abridged adaptation of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya’s last message to the Hindu society. All emphases have been added by me.
For numerous years, Hindus have invested tremendous efforts at fostering Hindu-Muslim unity with a spirit of magnanimity. At every turn, Hindus have come forward on their initiative to cooperate with Muslims and have yielded to their demands. However, when I increasingly noticed that the tolerant spirit of the Hindu society has been mistaken for its weakness, it has filled me with immense sadness. Each time the Hindu society has extended its cooperative hand, a corresponding measure of response has not emanated from the Muslim society. I am uttering these words after a lifetime of deep contemplation. Till the time the Hindu society does not strengthen its own condition and plight, there will be no solution for the Hindu-Muslim problem.
There are two urgent and important duties before the Hindu leaders of our society: the first duty is towards their Matrubhoomi; the second is towards their Dharma, culture, and their brethren. The immediate need of the hour is the fact that the Hindu society should organize itself as an unified whole. No group or section of the Hindu society is exempt from this duty. This calls for selfless service on the part of the last Hindu, done in a spirit of devotion to the Matrubhoomi. It is essential to forget distinctions of Jati and Varna. All Hindus must symbolize the ideal of Hindutva in their own selves and come forward for the protection of their eternal Hindu culture even if it means sacrificing their lives.
In the present situation, there is actually no need to even seek the reasons for the aforementioned organization and unification of Hindus. The most important reason is clearly evident—the declared aims and goals of Muslim religious and political organisations and their actions across the nation. The poisonous speeches of Muslim leaders; the kind of focused and deliberate pamphleteering done by anonymous Muslim organsiations; the dangerous political and religious overtones taken by the Muslim League; the genocide of Hindus in Calcutta; the incessant flood of messages from East Pakistan calling Muslims to wage war against Hindus across the country and unleash large scale riots; forcible conversions of Hindus to Islam; abducting, raping and converting Hindu women; mercilessly slaughtering innocent Hindu infants; destroying temples; looting Hindu shops—this has been the continuous story over the last few months. It is imperative that immediate steps need to be taken by Hindus to halt and prevent such atrocities.
It is clear to plain sight that all these brutalities are not accidental. If the Hindu society is serious about its own honour and self-respect, it needs to prepare a powerful counter against such actions. Unfortunately, over the last few decades, Hindus have become associated only as a people endowed with Dharma, truth, non-violence, and peace-loving people. The spirit of Kshatra has completely vanished from the mental space of Hindus.
It is beyond even the imagination of Hindus that one community in the same country will have to prepare itself for a violent clash with another community. Muslims have all along misused this deep-rooted mental outlook of Hindus. Not only have they increasingly escalated their intransigent demands, they have also coloured it with the communal nature of their faith. Propaganda based on falsehood has been the foundation of their fight. Owing to all these reasons, they have attained success far beyond even their own expectations.
A wholly communal organization like the Muslim League has attained parity with a nationalist organization like the Indian National Congress Party. It is only due to this development that the larger Hindu community has become demoralized. The Hindu community’s aspirations, its culture, Dharma…all of these have been drowned under the weight of something called “Secular India.”
Perhaps the political fortunes of Hindus are still safe in the hands of the Congress Party. However, an entirely new and powerful organization needs to be formed from the scratch to safeguard the Dharma, culture, traditions, customs, institutions, and social good of the Hindus. This organization must also constantly raise a strong voice on behalf of the Hindus. The conversions—forced or otherwise—of Hindus to Islam must be stopped with immediate effect. All reconversion efforts must be actively encouraged and the larger Hindu society must make proper provisions for the same. The Hindu society must form a solid wall of defence and protect their brethren against the various social and economic inducements and physical threats brandished by Muslims. The Hindu society must send a loud and clear message that they will not tolerate any form of attack against their fellow Hindus. Anybody who shows intolerance towards the innate Hindu nature of peaceful coexistence must not be tolerated.
Overall, Hindus must develop an indomitable mechanism for self-defence that will make all attacks against them unsuccessful. An all-encompassing atmosphere of Hindu self-respect and valour must be created. Hindus must also not take comfort that peace has finally prevailed for a temporary period. They must become deserving of their ancient and proud heritage seeded by a long lineage of Rishis and saints.
Hindus must unfailingly, selflessly, and freely extend every support to fellow Hindus—whether the support is asked or unasked. Only Hindus can support Hindus. No other community in India cares for the welfare of Hindus. Barbaric aggression, false and communal political propaganda, attempts to hasten the sunset of the Darshana of Bharatavarsha—Hindus should show no leniency against any or all such attempts, no matter how powerful they are. In addition, Hindus must safeguard against the decline in their population. If all this is not done, Hindus won’t have a future in their own homeland. Negligence is an invitation to annihilation. Therefore, laziness and inertia are not options. In this noble endeavour, valour must shine with brilliance, which in turn must inspire other Hindus. No Muslim who tries to cause trouble in the peaceful coexistence of Hindus must be tolerated.
I utter these words, I have offered these suggestions from a profound sense of duty towards Dharma. The Hindu society and culture is now faced with grave danger. In these tumultuous times, all Hindus must organize themselves being inspired by the same sense of existential duty and make provisions for their self-defence. At the present time, Muslim leaders have embarked on a dangerous spree of making incendiary speeches and writings. They are repeatedly throwing challenges to the Hindu community in a spirit of heightened, unprovoked aggression. Not a single leader of the Muslim League has issued even a whimper of condemnation against the genocide of Hindus in Bengal. It appears that they are delighted at this Hindu genocide. I am not calling for unleashing aggression against Muslims where they are in a minority. On the contrary, wherever Hindus are in a majority, the rights and peaceful existence of Muslims has been guaranteed. However, the exact opposite is true in places where Muslims are in a majority: the lives, property, and religious practices of Hindus have become endangered. It is precisely the lack of powerful organization and unity of Hindus that is at the root of this Hindu societal weakness and is what has emboldened Muslim obduracy.
I earnestly request Hindus to wholeheartedly involve themselves in not just a defence of our Dharma and culture but in the pious service of this Matrubhoomi. It is only when Hindus unite as an indivisible force that their voices will be heard and respected by members of other communities. This is the only way to ensure their peaceful survival. If Muslims and other non-Hindus wish to live peaceably with Hindus, they must necessarily respect the Hindu Dharma, they must not defile the sacred spaces of Hindus and they must imbibe the core Hindu values of Dharma, sanctity of all life, and respecting women as Mother Goddess.
— Madan Mohan Malaviya
The last message of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya is not merely the rumination of an armchair thinker or idle ideologue speaking from the luxury of safe distance from brutal ground realities. It is the grand culmination of a rich and hard life lived in the service of the selfsame Matrubhoomi and Sanatana Dharma and civilization of which the Banaras Hindu University is the crowning glory. It is the ardent wail of an old warrior who urged his Hindu brethren so dear to him to safeguard and preserve their irreplaceable Dharma against the marauding forces of an alleged religion that values nothing noble, good, and beautiful. It is a battle cry resonating with that rare trait: innate courage bathed in the Ganga of compassion. Establishing the hallowed Banaras Hindu University was how Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya implemented his last message in practice.
And so, in our present context, unless we read, understand, and commit the last message of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya to our civilisational memory, we will fail to accurately and comprehensively understand the ongoing theatre of perversity at the once-sacred portals of the Banaras Hindu University. Perhaps, we can end our tribute to this august Rishi of Bharatavarsha by invoking these lines of John Keats:
His realmless eyes were closed;
While his bow’d head seem’d list’ning to the Earth,
His ancient mother, for some comfort yet.
He arose and on the stars
Lifted his curved eyelids, and kept them wide
And still they were the same bright, patient stars.
Then with a slow incline of his broad breast,
Like to a diver in the pearly seas,
Forward he stoop’d over the airy shore,
And plung’d all noiseless into the deep night.
To be continued