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Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya

Full nameMahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (aka Malaviyaji)
Born25 Dec 1861, Allahabad, India
Died12 Nov 1946, Benares, India

Madan Mohan Malaviya came from a poor but learned family. After being educated at the Government High School and Muir Central College in Allahabad, graduating from Calcutta University in 1884, he became a teacher in the former. Having made an impression at the Indian National Congress in 1886 he was offered the editorship of The Hindustan (1887-1889), and subsequently founded and edited multiple papers. Meanwhile, he obtained an LLB from Allahabad University (1892) and became a High Court Vakil before moving into public service, serving in the Provincial Legislative Council (1902-12), Imperial Legislative Council (1909-20) and Indian Legislative Assembly (1924-30). An orthodox Hindu, he established the Sanatan Dharma Mahasabha (1906), and through this movement founded (1919) and served as Vice-Chancellor of Benares Hindu University.

Malaviya accompanied Gandhi for the second session within the British Indian delegation at the conference.

For additional biographical information, see the official delegate Who's Who for the Second Session. See also Emery Kelen's caricature, from his portfolio of delegates at the Round Table Conference.


  • March 1922: during the Non-Cooperation disturbances Malaviya convinced Viceroy Reading to meet Gandhi and other nationalists at a round table conference, to consider fuller self-government in the provinces, but Gandhi demanded conditions that the government couldn’t meet. (Moore, 1974:6)
  • December 1924: appointed by Hindu Mahasabha President MM Malaviya to a committee to ascertain and formulate Hindu opinion on communal relations in relation to constitutional reform, alongside CY Chintamani and NC Kelkar. (Moore, 1974:18)
  • 1927: Malaviya, Jayakar and Lala Lajpat Rai led Hindu nationalist group in the Legislative Assembly. (Moore, 1974:25)
  • 1928: supported the demand that the Indian Legislative Assembly should not co-operate with the Simon Commission (Kunzru, 1974)
  • 17th May 1931: Moonje Diary: comments on Malaviya in Simla, with Gandhi, negotiating RTC2 attendance: “Malaviyaji has no opinion of his own and can not have the courage to stand out either against the Mahatma or the Moslems” When he finds his opinions are not pleasing he modifies them. Like strong pandits of old, he requires some strong personality to lean on... I pity Malaviyaji. No one in Congress cares for him and they even treat him with contempt and yet he prefers to remain with them pocketing all insults.” (NMML Moonje Diary)
  • 4th September 1931: the British press carried various fanciful tales about Malaviya’s orthodox Hinduism. The Daily Express reported, falsely, that: “Having been denied permission to bring his own cow with him, the Pandit Malaviya, whose orthodox Hinduism forbids him to partake of ordinary food, has brought 120 quarts of ritualistic pasteurised milk for consumption on the journey. In addition he has brought twenty gallons of water from the sacred Ganges river for ablution and drinking purposes. One of his wealthy Indian admirers has subscribed £1000 to ensure that the Pandit is supplied weekly with the sacred waters during his stay in London.” (Daily Express)

Second Session

  • 28th September 1931: Moonje commented on the Minorities Committee meeting, chaired by MacDonald, who had seated Gandhi and Malaviya next to himself: “This indicates that MacDonald thinks that Gandhi and Malaviya alone count and he can now safely ignore me and bring them round to some sort of agreement favourable to Moslems.”
  • 1st October 1931: from Moonje’s Diary: Gandhi displayed Hindu weakness to the world, proceeding incautiously and not consulting anyone, even Malaviya.
  • 2nd October 1931: from Moonje’s Diary : an informal meeting of British Indian delegates took place at St James’s Palace, at which Malaviya and the Aga Khan elected Gandhi president. Gandhi suggested accept all Muslim demands
  • 9th October 1931: from Moonje’s Diary : Malaviya invited Moonje to his flat, where he blamed him for the communal deadlock, as did Professor Thompson.
  • 13th October 1931: from Moonje’s Diary . Moonje called to Malaviya’s new flat at 11 King Street, to meet Gandhi, Sastri and Jayakar, to debate arbitration of the communal negotiations.
  • 16th October 1931: from Moonje’s Diary . An afternoon meeting at Malaviya’s but relations were strained “Panditji doing everything to create a favourable atmosphere for the acceptance of Gandhi’s proposal of conceding 51 percent majority to Muslims in Punjab and Bengal and yet has not the courage to admit that he approves it.”
  • Early-November 1931: in Margarita Barns’ biography of SK Datta she recalled: “These conversations [on provincial autonomy] have already resulted in creating an interesting situation. Last week before we went to Oxford [7-9th November 1931], Sapru and Sastri at a private meeting held at Malaviya’s flat took the occasion to protest against Mahatmaji’s unorthodoxy and accused him of playing into the hands of the Government regarding provincial autonomy preceding Federation.”
  • 14th November 1931: from Moonje’s Diary: Noon meeting at Malaviya’s office, where Moonje was pressured to accept MacDonald as arbitrator of the communal issue. Moonje refused fearing separate electorates being given to the untouchables. Regarding Moonje’s proposal, Malaviya suggested that “Noone is going to listen to the proposal of approaching the League of Nations. We shd not spoil our case.”
  • 27th November 1931: from Moonje’s Diary : meeting at Malaviya’s office. Hoare had informed Gandhi there would be no responsibility at the centre. Malaviya heartbroken at the idea of a return to civil disobedience.
  • 25th September 1932: Poona Pact signed by Malaviya and Ambedkar, agreeing an alternative to MacDonald’s communal award, giving reserved seats for the depressed classes in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate and not by creating a separate electorate.


  • 1934: Having resigned from the Congress Parliamentary Board, he founded the Nationalist Congress Party
  • 1939: Resigned as Vice-Chancellor of Benares University due to ill heath, instead becoming Rector and Vice-Patron.

Sources used

  • Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi: Dr BS Moonje papers.
  • British Library, London: IOR/Q/RTC/62
  • British Library, London: IOR/Eur.Mss/C576/1-88
  • Margarita Barns, S. K. Datta and his People, Margarita Barns Papers, British Library, Mss Eur C576
  • Daily Express “Gandhi’s friend the Cat: Queer Cargo of the Conference Ship” (4 Sep 1931)
  • R.J. Moore, The Crisis of Indian Unity, 1917-1940 (Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1974)

Selected publications

Secondary literature

Online resources

ImagesPhotograph of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, from the published biographical guide to delegates at the second session of the Round Table Conference, 1931

"Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya." From Indian Round Table Conference Second Session 1931: Biographical Notes and Photographs of the British and Indian Delegates (London: St. James's Palace). By permission of the British Library (shelfmark T 11187). Reproduced under Open Government Licence v3.0 (

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