Malaviya was a great social reformer of the twentieth century. He understood
well that the social customs in Hindu society which were injurious to the community
would die hard. He opposed child marriage as it greatly affected the physique
of the youths. He was against untouchability and suggested several reforms for
the socio-economic upliftment of Harijans. He wished to see then social and economically
prosperous by raising their educational standards. His spirit of compromise was
thus coupled with his determination and strength of will.
role as a member of the legislature is unique in the annals of our freedom
struggle. He was a fine orator and his powerful and comprehensive arguments in
the legislature greatly influenced the British bureaucracy. He fought
consistently for the basic right of Indians which included education, adequate
representation in services along with the British bureaucrats and last but not
the least the demand for Swaraj.
He was well-
conversant with the culture and traditions of Hinduism. He had indeed
comprehensive knowledge of Vedas, Upanishad, Ramayana, Mahabharata and other
Hindu scriptures. He favoured the concept of charity, but opined that charity
should be given to a proper for a right cause. The development of education was
dear to his heart and for the collection of funds he never hesitated to contact
the ‘smallest and the greatest’ man on earth.
He lamented that
crores of rupees were given in charity every year, but the same was not always
well spent. If that money, could be diverted to education, that would help both
the cause of education and of religion .in his opinion, providing a man with education
and ‘means of livehood’, was the greatest Dharma. Dana or giving of alms is
sacred act. The recipient of the alms, therefore, must be pious man, for the
objective of charity is not to make the recipient idle or a parasite. Giving of
alms, thus, is a social phenomenon, and it must lead to some social good. To
those who deposited ‘mantras’ or ‘Ramnaam’ in a religious bank, his advice was
to offer them in ‘diksha’.
To Malaviya, the
dearest thing on earth was religion and the religion was the Sanatan Dharma.
The essence of the religion according to the Mahabharata is that “one ought not
to do that unto another which he would not like another to do unto him. One
should do that unto another which he would wish that other to do unto him”. The
essence or truth as enunciated by Veda Vyas in the Mahabharata is shared by all
other religions Malaviya was proud of belonging to a Dharma which he held to be
the oldest and the holiest religion on earth. He claimed never to have departed
from the path laid down by the shastras, and sincerely wished that his people
should go back to the purest dictates of the Shastras that we live under in the
old system, which was no half so bad as it is today.” Both the Shastras and the
Karamakanda or rituals were dear to him.What, however, distinguished Malaviya
from the orthodox was the fact that he claimed to have interpreted the Shastras
in the light of both there letter as well as spirit.
He was a social
reformer in our society. He favoured the idea of social upliftment of women and
opined that they should be properly educated. He supported widow remarriage and
opposed child marriage both for boys and girls. In his speeches and writings he
always talked about the equality of men and women in our society.