Humbly refused a ‘Doctorate’
Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya, the founder of Banaras Hindu University, was a proud andardent follower of Hindu Dharma and Culture. He sacrificed his whole life in the service of Bharat mata. He was as much generous, modest, humble and soft as was self-controlled, firm, self-respected and a resolute warrior.
The pride for Hindu Dharma and Hindu culture was deep rooted in him.
Once, the Vice-chancellor of Calcutta University sent a letter to Malaviya in appreciation of his work.
Malaviyaji (Seeing the letter murmured in a confused state) : This is an awful proposal. What shall I tell ? What shall I write ?
Friend : Panditji, what is so awful that is written in the letter ?
Malaviyaji : The Vice-chancellor of Calcutta University is desirous of taking away my Sanatan degree (of Pandit) and conferring a new degree. He has written in this letter that the Calcutta University is thinking of felicitating me by conferring a‘Doctorate’!
A gentleman (with folded-hands) : This is quite an appropriate proposal. Please do not say ‘no’ to it. This is a very prestigious thing for us, the people of Varanasi.
Malaviyaji : Brother, you are very naive ! This will not enhance the honour of Varanasi but this is a proposal that is insulting to the erudite natureof Varanasi.
He immediately composed a reply to the letter, “Respected Sir, Thank you for your proposal. Please do not think my reply as an insult to your proposal, but have second thoughts.I find your proposal is meaningless. I am a Brahmin both by birth and karma (Act). The one who lives his life by following the limitations of Brahmin Dharma, there can be no other superior degree to ‘Pandit’. I would prefer being called as ‘Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya’ to ‘Dr. Madan Mohan Malaviya’. I hope by respecting the feeling in the mind of a brahmin, you will let me remain ‘Pandit’ only.”
Malaviyaji had a very sweet and easy style of doing work. Owing to his co-operative nature and other virtues even the critics used to respect him. In his advanced years when he was the senior counsellor to the then Viceroy’s Convention, despite his obscure and true criticism, the Viceroy said to him one day, “Pt. Malaviya, British Government wishes to honour you with knighthood.”
Malaviyaji smild and said, “I am thankful to you for considering me worthy of this ! But I do not wish to give up the Sanatan degree acquired hereditarily. God has conferred upon me the title of ‘Pandit’. Hence denying that honour why should I accept the honour conferred by His (God’s) servant ?”
Reference : Monthly, ‘Rushiprasad’, December 2011