By Sagar Kumar
Imagine a country without any sort of traditional knowledge!!! What would be the political, cultural, social as well as spiritual condition of that country? Once a scholar said:-"If you want to destroy any country, you need to reduce the quality of their education, and let students cheat". Following this saying and so called 'white man's burden' theory, the colonizers made us feel inferior. .....To create a nodal between western and orient education, Banaras Hindu University, situated on a holy city of Ganges, established. Kindly note it down that the purpose for establishing the seminary was to revive and to create an environment for the renaissance in Hinduism. Two nationalists mind, Annie Besent and MM Malviya were the stage manager for establishment of this university. Actually what happened that many Britishers assumed that the religion they encounter in India would vastly be inferior and even a false form of Christianity. They saw where the weak point of Hindus resides. They observed our rituals, superstition, caste and Varna system, scripture and all that. Max Muller was appointed in doing so. In a nutshell he was solely appointed to misinterpret Vedas. Britishers suffered from superiority complex and also from the strict separation of white and black. Europeans described Hindus as vastly inferior species. An example can easily prove it. An essay question for an examination was on the topic of 'Comparison between Hinduism and Christianity'. A boy wrote it as:- "How can we compare Christianity to Hinduism? Christianity raises a man to his proper dignity. While popular Hinduism is mother of ignorance". In doing many degradation to the religion by invaders there was a growing tendency, especially in western educated students, to agree with the oppressors and to see their culture as degenerate. Many reformers in nineteenth century tried to revitalize the religion. Prominent among them were Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati and Swami Vivekananda. Now there is a time to discuss on the lifespan of two persons who sacrificed to establish BHU. Firstly we have to understand that not only Indians but also the Europeans took interest to revive Hinduism. In this row the first name is Annie Besent. On her arrival in 1893, she quickly embraced India and chose her as homeland. She acquainted "hinduism" in her daily life. Unlike Roy, she supported traditional Hindu education. In order to see her ideas put into action she established CHC affiliated through Allahabad University. Interestingly, she came to India under an agent of theosophical society. Nevertheless, many Indians later admired the theosophy. The theosophical society also played an important role in revitalizing hHnduism. She also wrote a series of book, Sanatana Dharma, which later became the textbook of CHC. The second was a pure orthodox Brahmin in his
daily life, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. He believed that youths were in need to teach self discipline and patriotism. Pandit jee very early convinced that there was a hurry need for a residential institution which would mould hinduism among youths. He was born in December 25th, 1861 to Shrimati Moona Devi and Pandit Braj nath. He obtained his BA degree from Muir college in 1884. Pandit Malviya as young man who involved in many indian causes including the abolition of vernacular press act. In 1887, he resigned from government school and became an editor of newly established magazine "Hindustan". On a part time basis Pandit jee helped Ajudhia Nath to publish "Indian Union". He himself started two weeklies "Abhyudaya" and "Maryada". "Leader" with collaboration of Motilal Nehru. Pandit Malviya was involved in activities of INC in its early days. He was a powerful orator as is described by A.O. Hume:- ".....but the most eloquent speech was made by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya". In 1886 and 1887 he became congress delegate. Hume also reproduce the speech of Malviya of 1887 congress session, 3000 copies and distributed in London. But numerous complaints made against Malviya Jee on the main danger poses on Hindu-Muslim unity. JL Nehru also did this. At times, there were also favourable comments for Pandit Jee by Jinnah and Liyaqat Ali Khan and also from fellow urdu poet Akbar Allahabadi. Pandit Malviya took position that Hindu and Muslim have their own educational institutions in order to receive the benefit of religious training. Both the founders were all aware of the importance of higher education in order to maintain dignity of nation. Earlier universities were established as a tool for colonial rule. The Macauley Minute of 1835 had its purpose to make a class of persons; Indians in blood but European in taste. Britishers felt that unlike English Universities, Indian University would of necessity be without religion. The founding of BHU in 1915 marked a first sanctioning of religious university of its own kind by Government under Act XVI of 1915. The main motto of university was to mould Hindu culture among youths as English culture was moulded in Oxford and Cambridge. The Britishers were in misunderstanding that the institution will produce obedient servant for Raj. Like Mahamana, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan of Aligarh also sought to improve the status of Indian Muslims. This was also done by education; more precisely by establishing MAO later known as AMU. Both Hindus and Muslims agreed upon the fact that to revitalize their own religion one must be given their religious knowledge plus occidental one. Notwithstanding, the Raj gave the sanction to the university because they considered that the graduated people from University would better serve the His Majesty Government. Because we all know that after the suppression of revolt the Muslims were crushed brutally which in turn lowering their prestige and the representation in Government. In 1875, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan opened the college which also called as Madrasat-ul-Musalman. Initially, many Muslims were not in favor to send their children to Aligarh. The Fatwa-e-Kufr was also summoned against Ahmad Khan from Mecca. The Muslim University, according to Muhammad Ali, would stand along with the Hindu University, not in antagonism; but with effervescency. Soon after 1904, at the session of congress held in Benaras, Pandit Jee's proposal for establishing a residential Hindu University was unanimously accepted. The establishment of AMU would have been done earlier if Aga Khan did co-operate with the Government. Had it been possible AMU was established two years earlier than BHU. It was the Harcourt Butler who firstly did not support the establishment of seminary like this but later he became barnacle supporter for establishing the same. He said in council:- "We must take a leap in the dark but the machinery you are providing, I think intervention will not be required". Butler believed that the government of India would not be hindered by Hindu Education and most probably due to this fact the book "Sanatana Dharma" written by Annie Besent were not only used in BHU but also in Mysore, Baroda, Rajputana etc. Talking about the land of campus, Leah Renold, emphatically condemned that the land was given in a donation by Maharaja of Benaras HH Prabhu Narayan Singh. It was only a religious myth. It reinforces the Maharaja of Benaras to depict a beneficial Hindu face. According to Governmnet records, though the early records of BHU, the land on which the university is built was acquired through imposition of a land acquisition order and against the protest of upper caste Bhumihar landowners and tenets of very value able and cultivated lands. Later the famed became a point on the circuit of sacred sites for many Hindu pilgrimage. One of the most memorable visitors to the university was MK Gandhi during his campaign against British. The early years of university was full of throne as it had to face the challange imposed by Gandhi. He was the supporter of nationalist education. It was spinning Charkha, resign from government funded school and so on. But this seminary founded by an orthodox Brahmin was for the purpose of traditional plus western knowledge. Hence the clash is inevitable. Gandhi told people to boycott BHU and join Kashi Vidyapeeth which was a result of leaving government aided school and colleges during Non-cooperation movement. He firmly believed that the divine knowledge does not come from book. It's a matter of feeling. Austerity, discipline, carpentary, spinning, gardening were taught in KVP. One of the early professor at BHU. Acharya Kriplani left under the influence of MK Gandhi. Dr. Sampurnanda was also a professor at KVP. Gandhi implied that Hindu religious education was not impossible at government funded university. Nevertheless the charter in establishing BHU clearly condemned the interference of Government in academics activity. Gandhi always favored for the establishment of purer ad truer university free from Government aid. Gandhi's idea of education was fully contrasted with one the education provided at BHU. Religion and nationalist politics were woven together in Gandhi's education scheme. Gandhi's complaint against BHU was not that it was a Hindu University rather it was a University not Hindu enough. He believed that providing english medium education would co-operate the Raj to oppress the Hindu culture. Even in 1921, when Prince of Wales was invited by Pandit MM Malviya to come to BHU to dedicate the new building to Nagwa Campus. Kriplani and some students distributed pamphlets callling for boycott. This is what we may call Gandhi's effort to close 'Benaras Hindu University'. As a conclusion we may say that the Hindu education that developed at BHU during the years of Indian Independence movement nurtured a broadening of the definition of religion. The presence of a diverse University population, coupled with the embracing of modernity, lead to strengthening of religion that was not confined to practice rituals and the adherence to certain duties of code and behavior. Religion was defined in its broadest sense as part of society's culture. The resulting notion of Hindu identity was expansive enough to unite the student population of the University and provide a sense of pride with which to resist British domination. The Hindu education. for which the University was known, nourished a Hindu identity and exported it throughout India with its graduate. A religious identity freed from the fetters of religious observance, was one that corresponded to wider the changes in Indian society. This newly developed religious identity was not anti-Muslim in essence, but neutral. Further, it was, diffuse to allow the participation of Hindus of varying persuasion and tradition. Embracing modernity and binding religion with culture, the religious identity that emerged at BHU also provided a basis for the politicizing of religion and the rise of Hindu nationalism. Nelson Mandela once said "Education is the most powerful weapon through which you can change the world". Glory to Benaras Hindu University!!!!!