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Madan Mohan Malaviya never wanted to die in Benaras, tells his granddaughter-in-law

Sarswati says that Madan Mohan Malaviya vouched for women empowerment and their education and even asked all his daughters-in-law to study.

Priyanka Rathi | priyanka_rathi

Updated:July 4, 2016, 9:44 AM IST
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New Delhi: Freedom fighter and Benaras Hindu University founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya has been conferred Bharat Ratna posthumously by the Government of India. The award was received by his grand daughter-in-law Saraswati Malaviya and three other family members.

At 92 years, Saraswati is the oldest living member in the family and she got married in 1940 to Madan Mohan Malaviya's grandson Shridhar. She spent six years with Madan Mohan Malaviya and says even though he had left the family life and did not attend his sons weddings, he came to Delhi to attend hers and blessed the couple.

"I was married at a young age of 17. We used to call him 'babuji'. He lived in Benaras and we lived in Allahabad. Even though he had house in Allahabad, he used to stay at his eldest son's bungalow," she says.

Young for her age, the 92-year-old shares some of her memories with IBNLive and says Madan Mohan Malaviya vouched for women empowerment and their education and even asked all his daughters-in-law to study.

"He used to visit Allahabad and it was by chance that he was there when I gave birth to my daughter. He said, 'Saraswati ki godh mei veena aa gayi'," she recalls him saying. Her daughter was named Veena by him.

She adds, "At that time, even though people cursed for having daughter but he did not. 'Unki vaani mei rass tha (His words were sweet and encouraging)'."

He was a man of simple living and had simple food, daal-roti, but liked milk a lot, she adds.

He was against untouchability and no one at his place was allowed to shout at servants. "Khaana banana wale ko bi maharaj ji kehte the. Koi bi naukaron se zor se nai bol sakti tha. (Even the cook was called Maharaj ji and no own was allowed to shout at house helps)," she says.

As a mark of respect for others he always wore complete dress from turban to shoes. "He always said jab bi jisse bi milo, bhot he full dress mei milna chahiye (People should be dressed fully before meeting someone)," she says.

Madan Mohan Malaviya breathed his last in 1946 in Benaras. "Unka kehna tha ki meri mrityu Benaras mei na ho kyunki log kehte the ki agar Benaras mei jiski mrityu hoti hai woh phir paida nai hota. Lekin woh kehte the ki mai chahta hun ki mera dusra janam ho jisse mai gareeb logon ke liye phir se sewa karne ka mauka mil sake. (He never wanted to die in Benaras as people believed that those who die in Benaras attain salvation but he wanted to have second birth to serve the poor," she says.

Madan Mohan Malaviya also put in a lot of efforts to set up Benaras Hindu University and even took donation from all. Narrating a very famous incident, Saraswati says, "Ek Nawab ne, kyuki yeh Hindu the aur who Muslim, jab maangne gaye toh apni jooti phek ke ek paer ki ke yahi humari taraf se hai. Unhone who jooti bi utha li aur kaha ki kal mai isko nilaam karunga ki Nawab ke paas paise nai the aur yeh ek jooti di hai aur mai isse nilaam karna chahta hun, toh unhone jhat joothi waapis maang li aur unko dheero rupaye diye. (When he asked for donation from a nawab who was a Muslim, the nawab threw a shoe towards him. He told Malaviya to take the shoe as donation. Malaviya told him that he would auction the nawab's shoe and tell everyone that the nawab did not have money. The nawab then gave him a huge donation after taking back the shoe)."

Even though the government awarded Bharat Ratna to the four-time Congress President in the national capital, she wants to take the award to Allahabad as there is a historical temple which Malaviya visited before going anywhere.

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