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Mahamana as a Social Reformer


Malaviyaji developed deep concern about the lack of employment opportunities in courts and government offices in NWP for Hindi speakers. During the 1880s and earlier, the court languages were Urdu and Persian, which were not known to the majority of Hindus. This position had greatly affected the employment opportunities for the majority of the population, as well as caused difficulties in appealing or understanding court orders. Earlier attempts were made in 1884 and later a movement was also started by Nagari Pracharini Sabha.

An attempt to introduce Devanagari in court matters had failed in 1895. Malaviyaji deeply studied the matter and with Dr. Sundar Lal and the Rajas of Ayodhya, Mandu and Awadh collected a huge amount of data and opinions. Finally, Along he prepared a hundred-page detailed memorandum in 1897 and submitted it to the government in 1899 He presented the memorandum for two hours in the High Court at Allahabad, in spite of running a high fever.

Finally, the battle was won when the government passed the order in April 1900 and introduced the use of Devanagari along with Urdu and Persian as court languages. Malaviyaji's success lay in preparing a detailed memorandum by virtually sacrificing his own legal practice for several years, clearly showing the possible problems and confusions in using the Persian script as opposed to the clarity of the Devanagari script, and strongly putting the case of the loss of employment opportunities to the Hindi-speaking majority. Later, Malaviyaji supported the development of Hindi and was the president of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan on three occasions. Malaviyaji also frequently raised points in the legislative Assembly and Imperial Council demanding sufficient employment for his countrymen at higher categories in the army. Apart from employment, it was also a question of getting them due credit and honour for their valour and services during the World War. The starting of Banaras Hindu University could even be considered the focal point of his social service, which aimed at building a modern India with an economic strength that would generate huge employment for the poor people.

On Dharma

Malaviyaji's upbringing was done in a religious orthodox atmosphere enriched by the values of Sanatana Dharma. He had ample opportunities to hear, read and understand Bhagavata, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Bhagavad Gita, many other scriptures and devotional poems of saints while growing up.


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