New Delhi: Educationist, freedom fighter and visionary Madan Mohan Malaviya, the founder of the Banaras Hindu University, wanted to blend the best of Indian learning with modern scientific ideas of the West, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday paying tribute to him on his 150th birth anniversary celebrations.

“Malaviyaji wanted the youth of India to benefit from an integrated education that incorporated modern scientific knowledge, practical training, ethical standard and the study of the arts,” Manmohan Singh said at the inauguration of the anniversary celebrations in Vigyan Bhavan.

Born Dec 25, 1861 in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, Malaviya founded the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi in 1916. He remained the vice-chancellor of the varsity between 1919-1938.

He was also one of the early patrons of the Boy Scout movement in India. He founded the Leader newspaper in Allahabad and was the Chairman of the Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946. He helped launch the Hindi edition of the daily in 1936.

Malaviya also campaigned to secure entry for Dalits to the Kalaram Temple in Maharashtra.

The Prime Minister said, “Malaviyaji was one of the greatest leaders of our freedom struggle who shaped the values and ideals of modern India.”

“Like many leaders of that generation, he was a man of many parts and his genius as an educationist, as a social reformer, as a writer and as a legislator has left a deep imprint on our polity and society,” Manmohan Singh said.

He said, “Malaviyaji would be remembered as the founder of the Banaras Hindu University, which is today one of the premier national universities in the country with nearly 20,000 students and 140 departments.”

 “I am extremely happy at the initiative taken by the ministry of culture to celebrate the life and achievements of one of our great patriots that Malaviyaji was. We have established a National Implementation Committee headed by scholar-statesman Karan Singh to oversee the implementation of the various events,” he added.

“The main of the commemorative projects is to make Malaviyaji's ideals and achievements more accessible to a wider audience,” the Prime Minister said.

He said he was happy that special efforts are being made to translate the biography and literary works of Malaviya in different Indian languages.

“A series of countrywide seminars, lectures and exhibitions will be organised for spreading his message to the people at large. A Centre for Malaviya Studies will be set up at the Banaras Hindu University, where a digital collection of Malaviyaji's writings will be compiled for the first time,” he said.

Manmohan Singh said the government has planned to establish chairs, scholarships and education related awards in his memory.

Malaviya worked tirelessly to build the Indian National Congress, of which he was elected president four times. He served for 14 years in the Imperial Legislative Council and later in the Central Legislative Assembly, the Prime Minister said.

“He was a fiery orator and showed his skills in a four-and-a-half-hour long speech in the Imperial Council against the Rowlatt Bill,” the Prime Minister said.

I conclude by quoting what Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said about Pt Madan Mohan Malaviyaji – “It is fit and proper that we should pay homage to this great man who is the foundation stone of the huge building of Independence.” What a glowing tribute to the great patriot,” Manmohan Singh said.

The function was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, minister of culture and housing and urban poverty alleviation Kumari Selja and National Implementation Committee chairman Karan Singh.

(Agencies)