William Arthur Ward once wrote: The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. Although he taught professionally for only a short time (resigning from teaching in 1887, at age 26), Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, through his thirst for knowledge, his desire to share it, and his commitment to advancing his community, demonstrated the core values of an ideal teacher. 

Malaviya’s thirst for the cultural traditions of his native India manifested early in life, when his sitar-accompanied recitations from the Bhagavad Gita, Meera, and Surdas earned him a reputation in Allahabad for a fine memory and singing voice (Battacherje, 2009). When he reached university, he enhanced his cultural acquisitions with English as well as Indian verse and drama, appearing in The Merchant of Venice and the Shakuntalam. 

More than possessing education, a teacher intent on sharing it is a diamond in the rough. Malaviya was one such jewel. Though famous as the founder of Banara Hindu University, Malaviya also transmitted culture grew in his career as a journalist, reporting on the complicated cultural and political realities of his day in clear and simple Hindi or English (he was fluent in both) for dozens of periodicals. 

If the great teacher inspires, we must ask who and how? In anwswer Malaviya’s political carrer rings across the ages. From his manifesto urging Indians to “Buy Indian”—a campaign that brought Britain to its knees—to his dedication to widespread Indian scientific literacy, the education of girls, and equality in the academy—BHU, he said, would “promote a proud liberation of mind and a religious spirit which will promote brotherly feeling between man and man.” (Khan, 1999)—Malaviya, more than demonstrating the values of an ideal teacher, went one step further and inspired a nation.