The Forthright Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:35:38 +0000 en hourly 1 Sourav Ganguly to Join BJP in West Bengal Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:43:48 +0000 Yes, Sourav Ganguly is going to join BJP in West Bengal. This was informed by Harsh Goenka, Chairman of RPG Enterprises.

This was the exact tweet that has sparked a lot of congratulatory messages on Twitter.
It is interesting to note that Sourav Ganguly had refused BJP’s offer to contest Lok Sabha Elections on party’s ticket from West Bengal. This move is a break from past for Sourav Ganguly who has tried to remain away from politics.

sourav ganguly joins bjp

It will also lead to an interesting Didi vs Dada contest in West Bengal if party appoints Sourav Ganguly as face of BJP in West Bengal in the assembly polls due in the state.


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Open letter by an emotional Hindu Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:48:00 +0000 Dear everyone

I am writing this letter as an average Hindu. This letter has nothing to do with any of my other identities but has to do only with my religious identity. Yes! The identity that I have to keep under wraps and the identity that I am not allowed being proud of.

Open letter by an emotional Hindu

I am writing this letter after getting enraged, angry and frustrated with attempts from so-called liberals and so-called seculars who have no understanding of what exactly is Hinduism, Hindutva and Hindu but they consider it as a synonym of communal. They claim to be Journalists of Excellence, Academics of first order and even politicians claiming to represent me and my fellow countrymen but they do not have a single iota of understanding as far as the Hindu religion is concerned. For them any show of my identity is communal and if not communal, it definitely is old fashioned. Because according to them, modernity is all about wearing western clothes and borrowing western ideas of secularism and definitely not respecting the home-grown ideals of modernity and secularism.

I am currently suffering from this: “Very Sorry that I am a Hindu” syndrome. I have become apologetic for visiting temples, sporting symbols such as manglasutra, sacred threads in neck and vermillion mark on my head. I have also become apologetic for starting my every first notebook with the words: “Om Shri Ganeshay Namah” because one time I did it in my college and my left-leaning atheist professor gave me the most shame-causing look.

I understand that Education is very important and religion very private. I am a logical human being with the highest degree of respect for scientific ways of research. But that has nothing to do with my identity as a Hindu. I might start my notebook with an ode to Lord Ganesha but rest of my notebook is filled with my notes drawn from books written by the scholars of repute. It is after all my notebook and so the choice is mine.

I am upset with the media for portraying religious people as communal. Does not matter people of which religion! Since when practicing one’s religion became communal? Is not “use of religion for political purposes” the correct definition of communal? Have media organizations such as Scroll forgotten the difference between Hindutva and Communal? Is Hindutva by its very nature communal? Are all the Hindus communal because they practice Hindutva? This is gross injustice with Hindus like me. I take extra care in respecting people of other religions. I would never hurt someone just because he is of a different religion. I vote on the basis of potential for development and not on the basis of religious identity. I am scared of right wing extremists who curb my freedom, just like any other person of any other religion would be but just being a Hindu and practicing Hinduism makes me communal?

Hindu religion has no organization that can claim to represent all of Hindus. There are as many organizations and platforms claiming to represent Hindus as there are number of gods in the religion. We have no one book. We have no one way of praying to the almighty. In fact even the so-called gharwapsi that some motivated organizations are doing will not stand the test of our scriptures. We attach no premium to conversions. You cannot convert to become a Hindu! You can only live like one. There is no way- You cannot be baptized, sweared on a scripture, made to wear a sacred thread around your neck or whatever to become a Hindu. Still all such stupid acts of fame and power hungry people are attributed to the whole religion! First look up the antecendents of people who do gharwapsi and then drag the whole religion into it.

We, Hindus, are one proud people who take jokes in the right spirit. 9 out of 10 Hindu friends whom I know had no objection to PK. The fact that PK could release in a country that has more than 80% population of Hindus is a fact worth saluting. Hinduism has always encouraged reform from within. Sati Pratha, Movement against untouchability, Arya Samaj (Movement for Vedas and against Idol worship) could take place only in Hinduism. It has an automatic bullshit filter that is on work all the time. These reform have existed and existed beautifully. Each of them have refined the religion to become a better version of itself.

Point of raising all this right now is to stop you from flattening religions into nothing! You do this to Islam and you do it to Hinduism where both have a history of peace in the past. Your frames pit them against each other. Your frames make a religious person look stupid. Your thoughts are not modern. They are western because historically west has been more powerful. Your liberalism is sick. Liberal socities should ideally have tolenrance and not provocation at their core. We can be religious and yet we can be peaceful. You do not have to minus the Hindu from me to be peaceful.


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An open letter to Rana Ayyub in response to her piece Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:03:35 +0000 Dear Rana Ayyub,
As I read through your article, I was humbled. For long I have thought my family was perhaps one of those rare families who preached ‘Unity in Diversity’ to their kids.

hindu muslim unity article

When my class was learning English alphabets, my father was busy teaching me Hindi and when the time came to learn Hindi, my father progressed to teaching me Urdu. Quite a pain for a kid, I must say!! But years later I realized the intent behind this approach. My father always felt for a nation like India, it is essential we learn to appreciate and celebrate diversity and what better way it is to learn through different languages!!
Even when the country was going through the “ho-hum” in the nineties, I never heard of anti-Muslim opinions being shared in our house. Perhaps I was a kid, may be too small to remember anything. But during the recent years when unrequired tension has hurt the fabric of this country, I never heard of anti-any-religion opinion being shared in our house. I remember very vividly my mother and father crying on the gruesome killings of Dr. Graham Stuart Staines along with his two sons Philip and Timothy. My mother, a devout Hindu, categorically rejected the faith which killed the innocents. She still maintains she loves Ram but cannot endorse the killings in the name of any God. She is a Ram-Bhakt in her heart but her identity of being an Indian overpowers any other identity. Perhaps this is the reason why we have learned to respect Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Maulana Azad equally.
I can imagine the pain and isolation Muslim fraternity might be facing because of the recent attacks. Being held responsible for the wrongs in the world can be quite overbearing. But hey, just wait, you aren’t alone. It is not just you who is asked, “So Pakistan today, na?” some like us who still believe in the rights of man, are mocked – “So you must be supporting your relatives today.” Twitter calls us names like ‘sickular’. Very recently, someone called me ‘Pseudo-Musalman’. But I don’t complain. I don’t feel bad. I am not ashamed to say I was brought up this way – to believe India is a queer mix of people, that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis, Jews and people of other faiths can live here peacefully, that to do friendship with others you don’t need to know their religion, that to help others you don’t need to identify their faith first, that any activity which disturbs the fabric of this beautiful country is unarguably wrong. It doesn’t really matter what your religion is. But what does matter is what you are – in the core of your heart.
No matter how you feel and what some ‘friends’ might point out to you, you have to believe and remember – there are still some people who believe in the strength of diversity, other than some journalists who are ably able to pen their thoughts in some of the leading newspaper dailies there are some who won’t corner the Muslims just because they are Muslims. India’s rich history will never let Muslims down. Banaras, the place of Hindu worship is also the birthplace of Ustad Bismillah Khan which even Hindus revere. The times ahead are tough but when have they not been? The answer to Muslim isolation in the world is India where even today kids irrespective of their religion go to school together and play together, where the biggest movie stars in the country are Muslims and are adored by Hindus and Muslims alike, where a soldier’s identity is never his religion but his regiment.
I am a nobody to you but I want to assure you, it isn’t as bleak as it seems to be. We aren’t brought up on hate against religions and equally detest the Khairlanji killings, the Dalit atrocities committed under the garb of civilized society and every other terrorist action which threatens the country. Yes on the surface it might appear we are indifferent but we are trying to make difference in our own small ways – one of them by teaching our kids ‘Unity in Diversity.’


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How to raise investment, even if you are not an E-Commerce Start-up Wed, 07 Jan 2015 08:18:47 +0000 Online superstore Flipkart recently raised $1 billion, Myntra raised $50 million and SnapDeal, $100 million. From the evident success of e-commerce start-ups in India, it’s easy to conclude that investors these days favour only those from the internet ecosystem.

raise investment in india

So does that mean you’re doomed if you’re not an e-commerce company? Not really. You can either go ahead or call venture capitalists shortsighted and biased, or you could convince them that your idea has what it takes to be successful.

Knowlarity turned five this year, and our fifth birthday present came in the form of a $16 million shot in the arm from a second round of funding. And we’re not an e-commerce company. So how did we do it? Follow these four cardinal rules and you’ll never have to worry about funding.

1) Have a billion-dollar idea

Not a million-dollar. Not even a 50 million-dollar one. Look for large market-size opportunities. This is the easier part for an Indian start-up because of the sheer size of the country. Any idea that directly targets consumers becomes a big-market opportunity. Take for example, ideas in the fields of education, matrimonial, job search, travel or transport. Show investors the data and awe them with numbers.

2) Show that you can scale

This may be the harder part, but it’s not impossible. A business idea, for instance, in education would hold plenty of promise, but to scale up may be a challenge because of its brick-and-mortar way of delivery. You could have logistical constraints, may not be able to access all of the market, or offer your services at a price that works for your target consumers. However, if you want to raise money, you have to be able to prove to investors that you will be able to take your services to a large number of people in a short time, and that you’ll do this at a price that will be irresistible, and still be able to make a profit.

3) Build a world-class management team

Put together a great founding team whose skills and talents complement and complete each other. This would give your business idea the holistic attention it needs to sprout and thrive. It’s impossible to have one person who can be a visionary, a great communicator, a shrewd business person, a farsighted technologist and a subject matter expert. This is why you need an eclectic team.

Venture capitalists prefer to back an A-class team with a B-class idea, rather than a B-class team with an A-class idea, for the simple reason that a good team will soon realise the folly in the B-class idea and make it A-class.

Twitter, whose first prototype was an SMS-based communication platform for status updates used by employees of podcasting company Odeo, today has 271 million monthly active users around the world. Clearly, B-class idea, A-class team.

4) Your product should solve a big problem

Once you’ve discovered a big problem that affects a lot of people, build a product that solves it. It’s the surest way of winning investors as well as customers. That’s just what RedBus did. Most entrepreneurs already know this cardinal rule of consumer-first when they head out with an idea, but then get carried away by their passion for the product and the company and lose sight of the consumer. Don’t let that happen. Your focus should not be the product itself, but what it can do to help your customers. Remember that and you’ll be fine.

So there they are. The four rules. It doesn’t matter if you’re not an e-commerce company. As long as you have your basics right and understand what investors look for, you’re unstoppable.


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एक जनरल केटेगरी के ग़रीब छात्र का मोदी के नाम ख़त Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:06:21 +0000 एक सामान्य वर्ग के गरीब छात्र
का मोदी जी के नाम खुला ख़त….

open letter to
आदरणीय प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र
मोदी जी…..
मै एक सामान्य वर्ग का छात्र हूँ , मेरे पिता का देहांत हो जाने
की वजह से मेरी माँ को घर चलाने में बहुत दिक्कते
आयीं। मैंने अपने गाँव के सरकारी स्कूल फिर कॉलेज
में पढाई की। सरकारी स्कूल
की फीस तक जुटाने में हमे हमेशा दिक्कत
होती थी जबकि मैंने देखा की कुछ वर्ग
विशेष के बच्चो को, आर्थिक रूप से संपन्न होने बावजूद भी,
फीस माफ़ थी और
वजीफा भी मिला करता था। मै पढ़ाई में अच्छा था।
इंटरमीडिएट पास करने के बाद मैंने मेडिकल फील्ड
चुना। एंट्रेंस एग्जाम के लिए फॉर्म खरीदा 650 रुपये
का जबकि सौरभ भारतीय नाम के मेरे दोस्त
को वही फॉर्म 250 का मिला। उसके पिता डॉक्टर हैं। एंट्रेंस
एग्जाम का रिजल्ट आया। सौरभ भारतीय का नंबर मेरे नंबर से
काफी कम था, पर उसे सिलेक्शन मिल गया, मुझे
नहीं। अगले साल मै भी सेलेक्ट हुआ। मैंने
देखा की बहुत से पिछड़े जाति के लोग, अनुसूचित जाति के
जनजाति के लोग जो हर मामले में मुझसे कहीं ज्यादा सुविधासंपन्न
हैं, उनको मुझसे बहुत कम फीस देनी पड़
रही है। उनके स्कॉलरशिप्स भी मुझे मिल
रही स्कालरशिप से बहुत ज्यादा है और उनका हॉस्टल
फीस भी माफ़ है। इंटर्नशिप बीतने के
बाद मुझे लगा की अब हम सब एक लेवल पर आ गए, अब
कम्पटीशन बराबर का होगा। पर मै गलत था। पोस्टग्रेजुएशन के
लिए प्रवेश परीक्षा में मेरा सहपाठी प्रकाश पासवान
मुझसे काफी कम नंबर पाते हुए मुझसे बहुत
अच्छी ब्रांच उठाता है।
प्रधानमंत्री जी ऐसा नौकरी के वक़्त
भी होगा।
प्रधानमंत्री जी मैंने आजतक कोई भेदभाव
नहीं किया। किसी को मंदिर में जाने से
नहीं रोका, किसी को कुएं से
पानी पीने से नहीं रोका,
किसी से छुआछूत नहीं की, अरे हम
सब लोग तो साथ साथ एक थाली में खाना खाते थे , इतिहास में
किसने किया, क्या किया उस बात के लिए मै दोषी क्यों? मुझसे क्यूँ
बदला लिया जा रहा है? मै तो खुद जीवन भर से
जातीय भेदभाव का शिकार होता रहा हूँ। क्या ऐसे में मैं जातिवाद से
दूर हो पाऊंगा? ऐसा मै इसलिए पूंछ रहा हूँ की जातिवाद ख़तम
करने की बात हो रही है तो जाति के आधार पर दिए
जा रहे आरक्षण के होते हुए जातिवाद ख़तम हो पायेगा? मुझे कतई
बुरा नहीं लगेगा अगर किसी गरीब
को इसका फायदा हो, लेकिन मैंने स्वयं देखा है की इसका 95
प्रतिशत लाभ उन्ही को मिलता है जिन्हें
इसकी जरुरत नहीं है। शिक्षित वर्ग से
उम्मीद की जाती है
की वो समाज को बटने से रोके। जातिगत आरक्षण खुद शिक्षित
समाज को दो टुकड़े में बाँट रहा है।
प्रधानमंत्री जी कम से कम इस बात
की विवेचना तो होनी चाहिए की आरक्षण
का कितना फायदा हुआ और किसको हुआ? अगर इसका लाभ गलत
लोगों को मिला तो सही लोगों तक पहुचाया जाना चाहिए। और अगर
लाभ नहीं हुआ तो इसका क्या फायदा, और अगर फायदा हुआ
तो फिर 67 सालों बाद भी इसकी जरुरत
क्यों बनी हुयी है?
प्रधानमंत्री जी ‘जाति के आधार पर
दिया जा आरक्षण’ साफ़ साफ़ योग्यता का हनन है, इससे हर वर्ग
की गुणवत्ता प्रभावित हुयी है। अगर जातिगत
आरक्षण इतना ही जरुरी है तो फ़ौज में, खेलों में,
राजनीतिक पार्टियों के अध्यक्ष के पद में,
मुख्यमंत्री और प्रधानमंत्री के पदों के लिए
आरक्षण का प्रावधान क्यों नहीं किया जा रहा है।
प्रधानमंत्री जी हमने आपको बहुत
ही साहसिक फैसले लेते हुए देखा है। शुद्ध
राजनीति से प्रभावित इस मुद्दे पर भी साहसिक फैसले
की जरुरत है। उम्मीद सिर्फ आपसे है।
आशा है की ये पत्र कभी आप तक पहुचे तो आप
‘साहसी’ बने रहेंगे।
आपके देश का एक गरीब सामान्य वर्ग का छात्र….!!

Source: Unknown

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Sabbatical: To Take or Not to Take Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:48:17 +0000 The ancient had wisdom when they prophesied, “For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.” The modern farmers understand this wisdom and for their field’s sake allow a section to lie fallow for a season. These are often sown with clover and other plants that re-enrich the soil for subsequent years’ fruitful sowing.

sabbatical to take or not to take

But why am I mentioning this here? Well, because from this has come the concept of ‘Sabbatical’ which literally means rest from work or a break. Aforementioned is one of the commandments to desist from working in the fields in the seventh year. In the strict sense, a sabbatical lasts a year. In recent times, “sabbatical” has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something. In the modern sense, one takes sabbatical typically to fulfil some goal, e.g., writing a book or travelling extensively for research. Sabbatical, career break and gap year are typical terms used to define period of time out from employment. Interestingly in some traditional societies with modern garb it is still believed this is for mothers to raise their children.

My article deals with a dilemma which all of us hitting 30s or mid-30s generally face: Sabbatical – to take or not to take?

The decision to take a sabbatical is never easy, not at all if you are the only earning member of your family. The situation gets further complicated if you have debts to pay-off. Thus deciding on a career break depends a lot on your personal life – the present and the future. We go on and on with our career until we burn out (literally meaning we reach retirement age). This is when we realize we missed on many opportunities in life. It hurts even more when we turn back to see a life lived so mechanically without pursuing the dream we wished we could.

My belief is just like the earth we all need a break – if not once in seven years perhaps once in ten years. I cannot comment on the frequency but I can definitely speak in support of taking a break. You would point out – then take a vacation? Ever felt like working after a 15-days’ vacation or even a month? No. We all hate going back to work after a short vacation; in fact we all wish to prolong it. However, a sabbatical makes you appreciate work. It not only refreshes your mind but also makes you like the nosy colleagues, bossy managers and a typical work day. It revives your energies and gives you a chance to focus on your personal development or even pursue a hobby.

It is not common for men to have a gap year in their resume. However, it is considered okay for women to have career breaks in their CVs. I believe this privilege of taking time-off from work should be extended to our male brethren as well. A sabbatical gives you an opportunity to focus on your individual development. You have enough time to analyse yourself.

  1. What tasks do I really enjoy?
  2. Where am I now and where do I see myself in the future?
  3. What experience, skills and knowledge am I still lacking?
  4. What are my strengths and where do I want to develop further?
  5. How can I deepen my expert knowledge?
  6. How can I broaden my leadership skills?
  7. Which management development programs should I attend?

You may say – We can do this even with job? I question back – How many of us have done this with job? A job come with its own set of duties and responsibilities which we cannot shrug off. There are deadlines to meet and targets to achieve. All this becomes so mechanical even the weekends are sold out in preparation of the coming hectic weeks. To add to this the personal situations which all of us face at some or every stage in life. The peace to carve out a plan and rejuvenate energy – this is what a sabbatical offers. It also gives you the required time to spend with your family. In fact this is the time when you can reconnect with your family in a completely different way. You will be surprised by the results and the impact it has on your mental health. This will make your more cheerful, happy and after a long time stress free.

Sabbatical is also about yourself. You might not do any of the training’s or seminars, you might not even carve out a career plan for yourself but still you might end up discovering a hobby or a hidden talent which you always nurtured in your sub-conscious mind. This will help you in setting up an alternate career plan and perhaps a little bit of hard work in this direction might end up giving sweet fruits in the long run.

Unlike the current mind-set where a career break generally means a diploma or a degree program, I see this gap in career as a way to rejuvenate energy and come back sharper than ever. Some of the companies these days understand the necessity of sabbatical and grant one to their loyal employees, who says loyalty doesn’t pay! However even if your organization doesn’t give you a break, you can still plan one for yourself with meticulous strategy and solid financial planning.

Aristotle once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Every once in a while, it’s a pretty good idea to stand back and look at ourselves, who we are, what we are doing, where we are going. Living is a lot like painting a mural. You have to stand back once in a while to make sure the picture is coming out the way you want it to. Sabbatical in a way helps you in painting this mural right.


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No, the first man to fly an aircraft was not an Indian Mon, 05 Jan 2015 08:13:18 +0000 Indian Science Congress is in the news. The claim is really startling. A paper presented at the ISC claims that ancient rishis gave set guidelines on flying. While this claim is true to an extent, still the first man to fly a plane ever was not an Indian.

The first men to fly a manned aircraft are rightfully the Wright Brothers. Even if a film slated to release this month, Hawaizaada claims otherwise.


Hawaizaada, slated to release this month is story of Shivkar Bapuji Talpade. Shivkar Bapuji Talpade was the first Indian to fly an aircraft. It is often claimed that it was Talpade and not the famous Wright brothers who flew world’s first aircraft but such claims are not well placed. Wright brothers flew an aircraft that carried human beings (manned airplane) as well whereas Talpade’s craft was unmanned.

Shivkar Bapuji Talpade cannot even be credited for flying the first unmanned plane as John Stringfellow was the first person to fly an unmanned heavier than air flight in the year 1848.


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After VoIP, Airtel to charge Adult Video watching separately Fri, 26 Dec 2014 08:56:25 +0000 In the wake of very low revenue per user, Airtel is now going to price VoIP data plans higher than browsing only data plans. The cellular company is not going to stop at that as it will also introduce new data plans for PoIP ie Po*n over Internet Protocol. That means, for every po*n video and picture that consumers watch on their phone, they will have to pay extra to Airtel.

The new Data plan for PoIP will be priced 100 times more than the usual data charges. Normally Airtel charges Rs. 0.25 per 10 kb for internet but it will charge PoIP data plans at a rate of Rs. 25 per 10 videos airtel

According to Industry Officials, adult content viewing is the most popular way of using data plans by the consumers. By charging them exclusive of a normal browsing plan, Airtel is expected to become the richest Cellular Company all over the world. However, it seems that other industry players will follow suit and charge PoIP separately just like Airtel.

Airtel officials talked to us exclusively and said “With time, people have stopped talking and messaging dirty to their girlfriends and boyfriends over our network. Forever alone people are on a rise and thus it is very important for us to milk this virgin (quite literally) user base into paying more.”

Disclaimer: This article is a piece of satire. Please do not take it to be an actual piece of news.


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Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015: Bill Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg among list of speakers Thu, 25 Dec 2014 15:11:14 +0000 Vibrant Gujarat Summit’s 2015 edition is much bigger than you can think. Ex-US President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and a host of other top CEOs of international corporate powerhouses are speakers for the event if an indicative list is to be believed.

Vibrant Gujarat Summit list of speakers

This will be the seventh edition of the summit to be held at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 11th to 13th January, 2015. Six successful edition of the summit have placed Gujarat in the league of an attractive investment location world over. The visit of top CEOs shows the interest that World Inc. is showing in the business potential of India.

This is the first time that United States is taking part in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. It has become 8th partner-country of the summit. Buzz is that US Secretary of State John Kerry (US equivalent of a Foreign Minister) will visit the Summit along with US Ambassador to India H.E. Kathleen Sthephens.

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Five very quick facts on Madan Mohan Malaviya Wed, 24 Dec 2014 08:22:26 +0000 Madan Mohan Malaviya was a famous Indian leader of the Pre-independence era. He has been awarded a Bharat Ratna a day before his 153rd Anniversary.

Here are 5 very quick facts on Madan Mohan Malaviya:

#He was the founder of the Asia’s biggest residential university- Banaras Hindu University.

BHU Madan Mohan Malaviya

#He founded an influential English Newspaper, The Leader and was also the Chairperson of popular Hindustan Times newspaper from 1924-1946.

#He got his surname from his ancestors who hailed from the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh.

madan mohan malaviya congress

#He was President of Indian National Congress twice in 1909 and 1918. He later left Congress over the party’s support to communalism in form of separate electorates for Hindus and Muslims.

gandhi madan mohan malaviya

# He was conferred upon the title of ‘Mahatma’ by Mahatma Gandhi himself.


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