Journalism in Malaviya’s Days
Formerly Professor, Muir Central College, Allahabad
Lecturer, Modern History, University of Allahabad
Akbar Allahabadi’s witty couplet “Draw not the sword nor bend the bow,When faced with cannon bring out a newspaper” will help us to realize the value and importance of the newspaper press in Malaviya’s early days. People had learnt the bitter lesson that a Government armed with artillery and other modern weapons could not be resisted by an armed rebellion with any chance of success. Such a rebellion had been ruthlessly crushed in 1857-58 and the people had been drastically disarmed. In the North-West Provinces alone the arms seized from private owners included 795 pieces of artillery, over three lac firearms and fourteen lac swords, spears and daggers. In Awadh where carrying of arms was so fashionable that even children were decked with them, the number of arms surrendered up to the end of 1860 was 720 pieces of cannon, 1,92,183 firearms, 5,79,166 swords, 51,080 spears, 42,137 bows, arrow, etc., when it was certain that large numbers had been concealed or buried underground. All but 60 of the 1635 forts that had existed were demolished. Emasculation of the people had been carried further by the enactment of a law in 1878 by which the keeping of weapons of offence and defence was severely restricted. The day representative assemblies where popular grievances could be ventilated or opposition to Government policies voiced had not yet dawned. Legislative councils had no doubt been established but before 1909 they were more or less “gilded shams” and their nonofficial members (all of them nominees of Government) were, with honourable exceptions, “magnificent non-entities” as national leaders wittily described them. The Press was, therefore, the only medium for the expression of public opinion, the only means by which public spirited citizens could influence public policy and measures.
The Press in India was free, thanks to the liberality and vision of Charles Metcalfe who signalized in his short reign as Governor-General by removing restrictions on the liberty of the Press in 1836. Between that date and the passing of the Press Act in 1908 1910 restrictions were imposed only in emergencies like the Great Mutiny and the Afghan War of 1876-78.
Malaviya realized early the vital importance of the Press and his interest in it was sustained through life. He founded two newspapers of his own, edited or assisted in the editing of half a dozen and helped in the starting of many more. Even as the late as 1929 when he was at the zenith of his power and popularity and had as member of the Central Legislative Assembly an effective means of criticizing and influencing Government, he yet felt that journalism was still the best means of educating popular opinion or mobilizing support for movements. Speaking on the occasion of the installation of a rotary press in the new premises of the Leader in October, 1929, he avowed his faith in the efficacy of journalism in the following words:
“I donot know of any institution, neither school, nor college nor University- which supplies such daily instruction to the public at large as a newspaper. We felt that the Province would be best served if there was a daily paper not merely to expound the opinions which were entertained by educated Indians but also to guide them and to educate public opinion.”
Malaviya was initiated in journalism by his guru Aditya Ram Bhattaharya in circumstances which he related to Ram Naresh Tripathi in1940.
Devout Hindus were sorely dissatisfied with the shift which occurred in the Government’s policy towards Muslims after 1870. In Allahabad and over the greater part of the province of Agra, then known as the North-Western Province, Muslims had taken a more prominent part than Hindus in the rebellion of 1857 and were more severely repressed. They were for many years looked upon as dangerous subjects of the British Government. Alfred Lyall (soon to become Lieutenant-Governor of the Province) wrote to a relation in 1877, “I am grieved at the Turkish triumphs. Revival of military Islam bodes no good to us out here where the Muslims must ever be our enemies and rivals.” This was much milder than the opinion he expressed earlier in his Indian career when he described Mohammadans as ‘blood-thirsty fanatics’ against whom he would like to join in ‘a regular crusade in any country where Christians dwell’.
The changed policy took shape at Allahabad. Sir William Muir, Lieutenant-Governor of the North Western Province wrote confidentially to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1867 offering him twenty acres of land within ten minutes’ drive from the Government House and asking him to construct a house on it for his residence so that he might be readily available to the Lieutenant-Governor for consultation. The offer was accepted and a house was constructed on it named Mahmud Manzil, after Sir Syed’s son, later well-known as a Judge of the Allahabad High Court. Sir William Muir speaking on the occasion of the formal occupation of the house in 1871 said, “I have every hope that Mahmud Manzil will prove a great cementing centre for the consolidation of the British empire in India.” The report prepared and submitted to Government in 1870 by Sir William Wilson Hunter on the Indian Mussalmans helped to bring about a better understanding between Government and Muslims and this quickly developed into a close alliance against the nationalist movement which was led largely by educated Hindus.
In 1882 when Malaviya was an undergraduate studying for his degree, Allahabad witnessed its twelve yearly grand fair, the Kumbh Mela. The majority of the local Indian officials, including the manager of the Mela, were Muslim and there were loud complaints of apathy and mismanagement and the resulting waste of public funds and inconvenience of pilgrims. Among those who took part in the agitation succeeded in that a Hindu was appointed Mela Manager in subsequent years but it recoiled grievously on the agitators. Beni Madhav was hauled up under the criminal law on a complaint of wrongful confinement and physical assault made by his syce (groom), and had to suffer the indignity of being placed in the lock up, grant of bail being delayed. That the proceedings were malicious and malafide was proved when, on the High Court being moved, the case was transferred to a court of the Mirzapur district and ended in acquittal. It cost the Bhattacharyas five thousand rupees, (the counsel engaged for defence being a European barrister), besides endless mental and physical strain. Government made amends for the harassment and indignity which Beni Madhava had suffered (after retirement from Government service with a reputation for integrity and efficiency) by appointing him an honorary Magistrate which position he retained for many years. He was also elected member of the Municipal Board more than once. The incident made a deep impression on young Malaviya’s mind. He ascribed to it his learning towards journalism and his becoming editor of a newspaper.
Aditya Ram Bhattacharya had started a weekly journal “The Indian Union” and gave Malaviya a hand in editing of it. This journal was subsequently taken over by Pandit Ajudhia Nath and Malaviya’s participation in its production continued till its amalgamation with the Advocate of Lucknow after Ajudhia Nath’s death in 1892.
Malaviya’s professional career as a whole-time journalist lasted for about two years and half in the years 1887 to 1889 as joint editor of the ‘Hindustan’ founded and run by Raja Ram Pal Singh of Kalakankar. This noble patriot had considerable hand in building up the personality of Malaviya and deserves more than a passing notice.
Unlike in many respects (including their manner of life, dress and diet), the Raja and Malaviya were alike in being staunch nationalists. They cherished ideas of freedom and liberty; they resolutely asserted their right to equality with men of the ruling race and fearlessly attacked the system of administration because it was impoverishing and demoralizing the people. They were complimentary in a very true sense, each possessing in ample measure what the other lacked or was deficient in. Malaviya had brains of a high order; he had pleasing manners and superbly eloquent tongue. He, however, lacked material wealth which is the necessary means of sustaining a life of intense public activity to which he aspired. The Raja owned a taluqa of 206 villages paying over a lac and a third annually as land revenue. He held the fifth position at Darbars in order to precedence among the Taluqdars of Awadh, coming after the Maharaja of Kapurthala (a ruling Prince, who also held a Taluqa in Bahraich District), the Maharajas of Tehri, Balrampur and Ayodhya and the Raja of Murarmau, and was entitled to a nazar of 54 ashrafis (gold coins) the second highest attainable. Unlike other Taluqdars who were staunch loyalists as a rule, Raja Rampal Singh was a progressive and fearless patriot. He had visited and resided for some years in Britain and had an Englishman in his employ. While in England, he had also started a bilingual newspaper the weekly ‘Hindustan’ forestalling the Congress in the endeavour to enlighten the British public about the state of affairs in India and to win its sympathy for his people. The journal was edited by a Christian missionary and exhibited news and views in English and Hindi in parallel columns.
On the Raja’s return from abroad in 1885 the Hindustan began to be issued from Kalakankar as a Hindi weekly edited by himself.
The Raja whose nationalism had been raised to a high pitch by his stay in England was quick to lend his support to any movement for the amelioration of the lot of his countrymen. Upper Provinces, was inaugurated at a grand assembly in the Maharaja of Banaras’s mansion on the Yamuna at Allahabad he was prominent participant. Dressed in Chapkan and pyjamas (instead of his habitual European dress)and wearing a four cornered skull cap, he was seated on the dais close to the venerable Raja of Baraon, who had been elected president, and frequently intervened by speaking on the president’s behalf, adding as an excuse that the latter was not acquainted with the manner of conducting public meetings. Many in the audience disliked this but dare not remonstrate out of regard for the rank of the offender. Malaviya undeterred by this consideration, conscious also, perhaps, of his own familiarity with the procedure at meetings, whispered his protest more than once in the Raja’s ear, but was put off with a condescending smile. When publishing the proceedings of the meeting in the ‘Hindustan’ the Raja severely castigated Malaviya as one of the immature youngmen working at the conference who impudently sought to teach seasoned public men how to baheve.
This momentary dislike was, however, turned into deep affection and respect a year or so later when the two met at the second session of the Indian National Congress at Calcutta in December, 1886. At this session Malaviya must have win the Raja’s heart by his memorable maiden speech on constitutional reforms which he himself thought excelled any he ever made.
The Raja’s performance was equally memorable. He moved the resolution on volunteering “in a most remarkable speech, a speech which showed that in him, at least, the old martial spirit was not dead.” The speech must have found a grateful echo in Malaviya’s heart; it incorporated so strikingly the exhortation which he was fond and never tired of addressing youngmen at every available opportunity: to be manly, to cultivate physical fitness.
“We cannot be grateful to it (Government),” said the Raja “for degrading our nature, for systematically crushing out of us all martial spirit, for converting a race of soldiers and heroes into a timid flock of quill-driving sheep. Thank God things not yet gone quite so far as this. There are some of us yet, everywhere, who would be willing to draw the sword, and if needful lay down our lives, for health and home. But this is what we are coming to. . and when we once come to that then I think that despite the glories of the Pax Britanica, despite the noble intentions of Great Britain. . . . India will have to regret rather than rejoice that she had ever had anything to do with England. This may be strong language but it is the truth; nothing can ever make amends to a nation for the destruction of its national spirit and of the capacity to defend itself and the soil from which it springs.”
“If men are fit for soldiers, fit to fight to any purpose when the time trial comes- and come it must for every country- then they must be trained in the use of arms, the must from their childhood see their parents their elders, using arms and participating in those martial exercises which only 35 years ago, in Oudh at least, were part of every gentlemen’s occupation.”
“I might dwell on the fact that in the way the Arms Act is now worked in many localities the people, their herds, their crops are wholly at the mercy of wild beasts.”
“I might dwell on the insult, the justice, the violation of the most sacred and solemn judges of England to India, that are involved in the rules that permit Indian Christian but donot permit Indian Hindus or Mohammadans to volunteer.”
Soon after, the Raja sought out Malaviya and as a token of his admiration made him a present of money. Six months later he offered Malaviya employment as co-editor of the Hindustan on a salary of Rs. 150 permonth which was raised within a fortnight to Rs. 200 per month.
Malaviya resigned his post of teacher in the Government High School, Allahabad, and took up residence at Kalakankar in July, 1887. The Raja himself edited the weekly Sunday issue of the Hindustan, giving Malaviya a holiday which he spent with his family at Allahabad. The journey was made by boat which he took at Manikpur, three miles above Kalakankar on the Ganga.
His tenure of editorship was marked by many improvements in the Hindustan and a great advance in Hindi journalism, credit for which belongs exclusively to him. Before him there was hardly a newspaper in Hindi journalism. With Malaviya’s assumption of the charge the Hindustan became a Hindi daily, the first newspaper of its kind to subscribe directly for foreign news telegrams and the first to adopt a matter-of-fact style by narration for news in place of the verbose and pedantic language used by contemporaries. Malaviya enriched the contents of the journal by publishing literary pieces in prose- very rare then- and poetry. He also published literary criticism and wrote informative and critical editorial articles.
It was in the Hindustan that some of the best contributions of the leading Hindi poets and writers of the time were published and high level controversies were conducted such as the one regarding the suitability of Khari boli as a vehicle of poetry, between Radha Charan Gosawmi and Shridhar Pathak. The Hindustan also took on itself the championing of the cause of Hindi against Urdu which was not only strongly entrenched in official use but had the powerful support of the Aligarh school.
The Hindustan and the generous patronage of its proprietor, Raja Rampal Singh, attracted many of the leading lights in Hindi literature to Kalakankar and the obscure village leapt suddenly into prominence. The facts that Kalakankar the seat of Raja Rampal Singh witnessed the dawn of the public career of Malaviya and Kalakankar House (the Rajas Lucknow residence) witnessed the close of the career of his illustrious contemporary Motilal Nehru.
Malaviya strove to maintain in the Hindustan a standard of production which must be pronounced to be very high for a daily newspaper. He was indefatigable alike in the correction of proofs and in the embellishment of editorial manner which he went on polishing even to the stage of the final proof, In this sense he was the despair of the compositors. Even in selecting advertisement for publication he was careful to exclude items repugnant to his high moral sense.
Under his editorship the Hindustan adopted the use of the standard form of Hindi or Khari boli and shed the bias noticeable in its earlier issues towards lavish use of the local or Baiswari form of words. A style of narrative and critical prose was thus evolved in Hindi and a definite stage registered in the progress of the national language. Malaviya used simple Hindi in his correspondence as well as editorials and was opposed to over-Sanskritization. He would write Achraj not Aashcharya and Yatan not Yatn.
The Hindustan rapidly gained popularity and influence under Malaviya’s editorship. Its circulation rose to about 500. His sobriely and moderation won for him and the paper the approbation of the local Government who duly acknowledged it in the annual administration reports and by subscribing for some copies on Government’s behalf. The journal rendered yeoman service also to the cause of the Indian National Congress, still in its infancy, by propagating its ideology and programme. Public life in the Upper Proivnces was feeble before the advent of the Congress and the Hindustan. They were hardly touched by the agitation over the Ilbert Bill which convulsed Bengal; and they were thought to be untouched by the nationalist movement. Yet they sent a strong contingent of delegates to the Congress sessions of 1886 and 1887 held respectively at Calcutta and Madras. It is noteworthy that delegates from the eastern districts of the province (where the Hindustan circulated) far outnumbered those from the western parts.
It may be of interest to some to recall that Malaviya’s meteoric career as a professional journalist coincided in point of time with that of the now celebrated Rudyard Kipling as a journalist at Allahabad. The two were, however, far from alike except in their possession of talent. While Malaviya toiled night and day to edit the daily Hindustan in Hindi working as news editor, literary editor, proof reader and circulation manager, bringing new life and light to the yet nascent Hindi jouranalism, Kipling whose responsibility as editor of the weekly “Pioneer Mail” was to prepare a weekly edition of the paper for the British public at home, took his time easy: ‘loafing’ among British soldiers in their barracks and the common people in the bazaars and writing witty verses to portray the lighter side of army life and of Anglo-Indian society. Their exit from the profession was accordingly dissimilar, though in each case it was a prelude to rise in a higher sphere. The chief Editor of the Pioneer when bidding goodbye to Kipling seriously advised him to seek his fortune outside the sphere of journalism for which, in the chief’s opinion, he had little if any aptitude. When Malaviya decided to give up the editorship his Chief Editor almost shed tears and made every effort to retain him.
Malaviya’s association had benefited the Raja not in the material sense only. He had reduced his drinking considerably in an attempt to give it up. Shiva Ram Pandey reports a conversation he heard between two eminent contemporaries, Kashi Prasad Srivastava and Charu Chandra Mitra in the course of which it was said about the Raja that his intake of liquor was virtually stopped. This, however, is difficult to reconcile with the incident which led to Malaviya’s parting with the Raja.
The parting was characteristic and reflects credit on both parties. Malaviya was an orthodox Brahmin, abstemious alike in the matter of food and drink. He had, when accepting service with the Raja, stipulated that he should not be asked to see or meet him when he was at table or was drunk. By a mischance the Raja happened to summon him one day when under the influence of liquor and in the course of conversation spoke disparagingly, perhaps in abusive language, of Pandit Ajudhia Nath for whom Malaviya had great respect. Malaviya was deeply hurt and came away determined to quit his job, and informed the Raja accordingly. The Raja made handsome amends pleading that he deserved forgiveness for what was said or done in a state of intoxication and offered his head for any penalty that Malaviya might think fit to inflict. Maviya stuck to his resolve. The Raja then exhorted him to study for the Bachelor of Laws degree and offered to pay him Rs. 100 per month to defray the cost of his education. Their deep mutual regard comes out in their dealing after this separation.
After Malaviya had set up his practice, he wrote to the Raja several times to stop the monthly remittance of Rs. 100 and repeated the request when they met. The Raja’s reply narrated by Malaviya was:
“Malaviyaji, how is it that you speak of being in or out of my employ? In my dealings with you did you find anything resembling the relations of employer and employee? You have learning, you are a mine of qualities, you fulfil one of my cherished desires, and I assist you with a small sum of money. What then is the obligation I confer on you? I am pained to hear such a thing from a person of your high intellect.”
Malaviya on his part held a high opinion of the Raja’s personality and patriotism and acknowledged the high regard which he enjoyed.
We have evidence of continued cooperation in the national work between Malaviya and Raja Rampal Singh after the temporary rupture. Lala Diwan Chand describes a visit which the two together paid to Gujranwala in the Punjab where he was school-boy between 1893 and 1897. The Raja’s speech on the occasion made a vivid impression on Diwan Chand’s mind which he says he was unable to efface from his memory. It is significant that Malaviya, though a practicing lawyer, was reputed to be the Raja’s secretary.
In the two years after throwing up the editorship of the Hindustan, Malaviya devoted his time mainly to preparation for the Bachelor of Laws degree for which he attended lectures at the Muir Central College now housed in its stately building. He, however, continued journalistic work by taking a hand along with Baldeo Ram Dave in editing the Indian Union. This paper originally started by Aditya Ram Bhattacharya had as already stated, been taken over by Ajudhia Nath and continued to be issued from Allahabad till it amalgamated with the Advocate of Lucknow after the Pandit’s death in 1892.
Sachchidanand Sinha from Bihar who had become deeply attached to Malaviya in his student days and had been practicing at Patna since his return from England in 1893 after being called to the English Bar, came over to Allahabad and started practice in the High Court in 1896. Like Malaviya he too, had liking for journalism and successfully launched two journals with Malaviya’s active support, the monthly Hindustan Review in July, 1899 and the weekly ‘Indian People’ in January 1903. The latter became semi-weekly in June, 1904 and continued as such till it was transformed into a high class daily called the Leader on 24th October 1909 by Malaviya’s efforts.
Before this happened Malaviya had launched a Hindi weekly ‘the Abhyudaya’, entirely his own in 1907.
Malaviya became a member of the Provincial Legislative Council in November, 1902 and shortly after started a movement for establishing a Hindu University. Reform of the Legislative Councils to make them larger and more representative of the people was in the air. He himself wanted to be free to devote the bulk of his time to the project of the Hindu University, and therefore, felt the need of starting a journal through which his political work could go on uninterrupted. The Abhyudaya (1907) and the Leader (1909) were the outcome of this urge.
The ‘Abhyudaya’ started as Hindi weekly on Vasant Panchami day in 1907. Its name (meaning rise and glory) was suggested by Balkrishna Bhatt. Its object at the start was mainly to popularize the politics of the Moderate group in Congress whose leadership was challenged at the previous year’s session in Calcutta. He was anxious in particular to restrain students form active participation in politics, though he was all for their making a deep study of political theory and current affairs. He also hoped (vainly as the event showed) that an ably conducted Hindi journal would fetch him an income sufficient to support his public life.
Malaviya edited it himself for two years till his election as a member of the reformed Indian Legislative Council, 1909. The editorship thereafter devolved on a succession of able men- Purushottam Das Tandon, Satynand Joshi, Krishna Kant Malaviya, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, Venkatesh Narayan Tivary nd finally (1936) Padma Kant Malaviya. Malaviya kept a tight rein over the editor and the journal’s political views and occasionally pulled him up for departing from high standards, as the following incident will show.
Krishna Kant Malaviya wrote a leading article in the Abhyudaya of June 13, 1914 on the subject of widow re-marriage. The following translation of the letter in which Malaviya expressed his grave displeasure illustrates the kind of curb he exercised over the editors of his journals.
‘(My dear) Krishan, may you be long-lived.
“Last night I had a dream that the Abhyudaya press was enveloped in a fierce fire. The flames were leaping a great height and spreading to neighbouring houses.
The pain which I have experienced on reading issue No. 23 of Abhyudaya just received by post is much greater than that which I experienced in my dream at seeing the Abhyudaya press burnt done. If the press had been reduced to ashes before the leading article in the last issue was printed I would have experienced less pain than I have done on reading it. I would have immediately closed the paper if it would be expiation. But that is not possible. So long as I live it is not proper for us to publish in the Abhyudaya or the Maryada any ideas which I may have a sense of guilt or shame in expressing before society in general.
You desire the welfare of the society and to do service to it. Society, will, however, not accept your service or afford you opportunity for it, if you do not respect its scale of values in vital matters or hurt people’s feelings or huimiliate them by publicly expressing views on delicate matters. It is an unpardonable offence to broadcast in a ‘journal’ ideas which may only be propounded in the privacy of the home and even there restraint and not without a sense of pain.
Enthusiasm for good cause is praiseworthy if it is kept within the limits of decency and reason. If you allow your enthusiasm to sweep away your reason and discretion then you will not be able to do any good to anybody.
I hope you will not repeat such a deplorable error in future. We have to apply soothing balm to thousands of sores, to rid society of the effect of thousands of poisons and to restore to society its purity and strength by the administration of thousands of curatives. All this is possible, however, only when you maintain a standard of decency and respect the values of society while rendering service yourself and asking others to render service to it.
I am sending an article which please publish in the next issue due next Saturday, the 20th of June. Please donot hesitate. Nothing short of this will do. I am not sure that even this will mend matters. I shall send an article later for the next succeeding number.
P.S. Also, quote less of Urdu verses.”
An article by Krishna Kant Malaviya published in the issue dated January 10, 1914 under the caption “What do you want, life or death?” attracted official notice.
It was Malaviya’s ambition to make Abhyudaya a daily but he found it impossible to do this except for short periods in 1915 and in 1926-27. During the period of intense political activity preceding the Montague-Chelmsford reforms Abhyudaya was issued daily for a while in 1915 but reverted to a weekly shortly after the financial reasons.
Action was taken on the publication in June, 1915 over a news item relating to the treatment of black soldiers in Africa. Malaviya in whose name the declaration in respect of the journal stood was called upon to make a security deposit of Rs. 2,000 under the Press Act, which he refused to do and stopped publication of the paper instead. The U.P. Government, of which James Meston was the head, took the unprecedented step of withdrawing the order calling for the security deposit and received the congratulations and thanks of the Leader. It is likely that the order was revoked at the instance of the Viceroy, Lord Hardinge. Malaviya’s acknowledgement of the U.P. Government’s letter withdrawing the demand for a deposit is strikingly brief:
“In the circumstances, when Government has withdrawn the notice served on me, I need say no more than that I thank Sir James Meston. Abhyudaya will restart.”
Abhyudaya attained the zenith of its popularity in 1919 during the troubles in the Punjab when it published depatches from its special correspondent in that province Kapil Deva Malaviya and from its editor Krishna Kant Malaviya, which gave news not published by any other paper. Its circulation shot up from 3,000 to 11,000 but fell subsequently when Malaviya’s opposition to some parts of Gandhi’s programme of non-cooperation made his politics unpopular.
When during 1926-27 Abhyudaya was once again issued as a daily, it contributed substantially to the impressive success of Malaviya’s Independent Party against the Swarajists in the election to the Legislatures on which Motilal Nehru was impelled to exclaim that it was not merely a defeat but a rout of Swarajists. Early in the thirties when a fresh instalment of constitutional reforms was in the offing, Malaviya renewed his efforts to make it a daily. The papers issue dated August 12, 1931 published an appeal by him for the purpose, but it proved infructuous.
Abhyudaya had a chequered career henceforward till 1948 when it was finally closed. This was due largely to Malaviya’s estrangement from Government as a result of its repressive policy and to the strong Congress leaning of his nephew Krishna Kant ad grandnephew Padma Kant who were in charge of the paper. Both were repeatedly kept in jail or preventive detention for their civil disobedience activities, vigorous criticism of Government and championing of national causes.
In 1930 publication of Abhyudaya was suspended in obedience to a Congress decision. It was restarted within a few months on the advice of Motilal Nehru himself, since a Congress journal was needed in the U.P. for boosting the Congress movement. It published a special issue of Bhagat Singh (March 1931) and shortly after a ‘Kisan’ special number, both of which were forfeited.
On Congress being reconciled to Government in the middle of 1931 on the eve of the second Round Table Conference, Malaviya’s hopes of making Abhyudaya daily ran high but were not fulfilled. On repression being resumed the paper was stopped and its press locked by Government in 1932. It did not have smooth sailing even after resuming publication in 1934.
It published a translation of Krishna Kant Malaviya’s speech on the Central Legislative Assembly on the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, which was not published by any paper as a result of threat of action by the Home Member, Henry Craik. The publication of a Hindi translation of it by the Abhyudaya raised the constitutional question of privilege which was debated in the Assembly on a motion of Sardar Sant Singh, Secretary of (Malaviya’s) Nationalist Party. Bhulabhai Desai and Jinnah also participated in the debate to defend the right of the press to publish speeches of members of the Legislatures. The Speaker, Sir Abdur Rahim, however, ruled that members of the Indian Legislatures were not entitled to all the privileges enjoyed by members of the British Parliament but only to such of them as were provided for in the Government of India Act.
Abhyudaya remained closed for about six months and reappeared on Vijaya Dashmi day 1936 under the auspices of a newly formed limited company, “the Nationalist Newspapers Limited,” Its editor, Padma Kant Malaviya was, however, placed in preventive detention in May, 1940 for the duration of the war. He was released on parole for a short time in November, 1940 during the last illness of his father Krishna Kant Malaviya after whose death in January, 1941 he was re-interned.
Abhyudaya, therefore, was handed over to the Indian Press and was issued during war time as a non-political story magazine. After his release Padma Kant Malaviya purchased the paper and the Press in 1945 from the owning company which had gone into liquidation and carried it on till 1948 when it was finally closed on Padma Kant Malaviya’s retirement from public life at the early age of 36.
The ‘Leader’ incorporating the Indian People began its career as an English daily on Vijaya Dashmi 1966V. (October 24, 1909) under very favourable auspices, with Motilal Nehru as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the owing company and Malaviya himself as editor assisted by Nagendranath Gupta and C.Y. Chintamani. The two were previously running newspapers (the Indian Opinion and the Indian People) which were now merged in the Leader. As the second India daily to subscribe for Reuter’s service of foreign news, it soon made its mark as the best equipped newspaper in upper India while its expression of public opinion was acknowledged to be characterized by sanity, fairness and moderation. It soon became a formidable critic of Government, a veritable thorn in the side of the bureaucracy. In the very first year of its existence (1910) it received a warning for publishing an article by Bishan Narayan Dar and might have been prosecuted but for the fact that the Directors led by Motilal Nehru obtained from two eminent lawyers of England- Sir Edward Carson and Sir Horace Avery- their opinion that the article was not seditious, and contrived to convey it to the authorities.
Chintamani publicly spoke of the Leader as a creation of Malaviya. Malaviya himself as already narrated traced its origin to his own desire to create a daily newspaper before retiring from active politics to devote himself to the establishment of the Hindu University. He had raised the initial capital of Rs. 34,000 with which the paper started and when exhausted (as was anticipated) within a few months and the loss, inevitable in a new venture, had to be faced, it was by his determined efforts that the necessary funds were obtained largely from his friends in Banaras, Raja Moti Chand, chairman of the Banaras Bank, Babu Govind Das, Ram Krishnaji and others. It was not without good reason, therefore, that the Leader and its redoubtable editor continued to support the views and policies over the Mantague-Chelmsford reforms. Chintamani joined Tej Bahadur Sapru, Surendranath Verma and Hriday Nath Kunzru in forming the National Liberal Federation pledged to working the reformed Constitution. Motilal Nehru became a staunch Congressman, determined to non-co-operate with Government and wreck the new Constitution. Malaviya was divided in his allegiance, being unable either to leave the Congress or bless non-cooperation.
Chintamani’s loyalty to Malaviya caused annoyance to Congressmen in general and Motilal Nehru adverted reproachfully at times to influence the ‘Leader’. After the split he took no time in starting (Febraury, 1919) a paper of his own, the Independent which was edited by a succession of distinguished editors, Syed Hussain Ranga Iyer, Sri Prakasa, Bipin Chandra Pal, Amal Home and George Joseph. Malaviya referred to this in the following words:-
“There have been times when there have been differences of opinion in politics and you must be prepared for differences of opinion between the best friends and the most ardent of advocates of the country’s cause. Even the Leader has had such periods in its history. You will remember that when the non-co-operation movement came the ‘Independent’ was started by my friend, Pandit Motilal Nehru, in order to present the other view and to press it. Over that paper also nearly 2.50.000 was spent and if my friend will permit my mentioning a secret, a lakh out of this sum was contributed by Pandit Motilal Nehru himself, another Rs. 50,000 by my friend Mr. Jayakar and so on.”
The close alliance between Malaviya and Chintamani was most irksome to officials and Anglo-Indians and specially so when both of them were members of the legislative bodies after 1916. Their vexation found vent in the monstrous name “Madan Madrasi Chintaviya”coined for the alliance by the Pioneer. The Leader, however, prospered and by 1929 it came to have spacious modern buildings of its own erected in 1927 at a cost of two lacs, a rotary press capable of printing 30,000 copies of the paper per hour and a companion Hindi journal the ‘Bharat’, soon to become a daily.
Its formidable rival the Pioneer which had foretold its early demise, was itself on its last legs in Allahabad, its proud position as a four—anna paper, enjoying the confidence and influencing the policy of the Central Government, shattered. It was to be shifted to Lucknow shortly after. The Independent had been closed in 1923 and the Amrita Bazar Patrika was yet to start publication at Allahabad the Leader was left in undisputed possession of the field.
This happy result was due in the main to the personality of the editor. Chintamani had a prodigious memory and an extraordinary capacity for hard work. He identified himself with the Leader and spared no pains for its sake, working occasionally eighteen hours out of twenty four. With his election to the Provincial Legislative Council in 1916 followed by his appointment in 1921 as Minister of Education and Industries in the diarchic Government of the U.P. under the Montague-Chelmsford constitution, the Leaders usefulness and popularity grew so that when he returned to the paper as its Chief Editor in 1923 after resigning his place in the Government over a constitutional dispute with Governor, Sir William Marris, the Leader’s prosperity was assured.
In 1910 Malaviya helped in starting the Hindi weekly Maryada to carry political enlightenment to Hindi knowing people, a role later assumed by the Bharat issued with the Leader.
With the transfer of the headquarters of the Government of India to Delhi in 1912 and particularly after the happenings in Amritsar in 1919, the Punjab and Delhi claimed a large share of Malaviya’s time and attention. He needed a newspaper in this region and found one when the Hindustan Times (originally founded by a Sikh gentleman) passed into the possession of the Birlas in 1924, and Malaviya became Chairman of its managing Board. He thoroughly reorganized the paper and placed it on th road to a leading position among the country’s journals.
When the Hindu Mahasabha at its momentous session at Banaras in 1923 under Malaviya’s presidentship chalked out a comprehensive programme of Hindu Sangathan, need was felt for journals to promote the same. The Hindustan Times was chosen to be the English organ for the purpose; the Arjun in Hindi and the Tej in Urdu were to be language counterparts of it. By a resolution of the 13th March 1927 the working Committee of the Mahasabha granted a handsome loan to the management of the Hindustan Times. In 1935 after Malaviya had broken away from Congress and formed the Independent Party to agitate against the British Premier’s Communal Award, he made a bid to get hold of the Hindustan Times. Birla and Devadas Gandhi were however not in sympathy with him and Birla’s withdrawal might adversely affect the paper’s finances. A compromise was arrived at by which the paper would keep a neutral attitude to Malaviya and his party-neither supporting nor criticizing them.
The last of his journalistic ventures was the Hindi weekly, Sanatan Dharma issued from Banaras on Guru Purnima, July 20, 1933. The journal was started by Goswami Ganesh Datt of the Punjab under Malaviya’s patronage. Malaviya chose for its editor a gifted youngman, Bhuvaneshwar Nath Misra who had just taken his M.A. degree at the Banaras Hindu University. While the primary object of the journal was to propagate the ideals of Sanatan Dharma, it also carried articles on most subjects of public interest- science, art, economics, sociology- contributed by eminent teachers and officers of the University. Among the contributors were Acharyas Anand Shankar Bapubhai Dhruva and Mahabir Prasad Dwivedi, Mahamahopadhyaya Giridhar Sharma Chaturvedi, Mahamahopadhyaya Pramathanath Tarkabhushan and Professors Ram Chandra Shukla, Shyam Sundar Das, Ayodhya Singh Upadhyaya and Keshava Prasad Misra.
Malaviya himself occasionally contributed articles of which some were written in his own hand and some were dictated to the Editor or to his own Private Secretary, Shiva Dhani Singh. One of the subjects he chose to deal with was the historicity of Sri Krishna which was being doubted by some scholars. He was as meticulous in revising and correcting his contributions to this paper as he had been earlier when editing the Hindustan, and the publication of the paper was occasionally delayed on this account. Malaviya was not satisfied with the circulation of a few thousand copies which the journal attained. If it was to carry the message of the Sanatan Dharma Sabha to the entire Hindu public, the number of copies printed should, he thought, be at least to the number of villages in the country. Yet it was no mean achievement that this paper became self supporting within a few years.