The attention of visitor is caught by a gentle portrait of Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya and he steps into the Mahamana Gallery which is dedicated to the Founder of the Banaras Hindu University, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. He was a great educationist, statesman, social and religious reformer, editor and a true sage and seer . Prof. Hari Gautam, Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University proposed the organisation of a gallery in the Bharat Kala Bhavan to inspire the teachers, students and visitors from the magnetic personality of the Founder .
The gallery begins with a letter dated September 7, 1931 of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi who hailed Malaviyaji in high esteem. It reads -'I am a devotee of Malaviyaji. His personality from in and out was represented by his unspotted white dress. He is matchless in his patriotism ' The Banaras Hindu University is the soul of Malaviyaji and Malaviyaji was the soul of Banaras Hindu University.
The Gallery highlights the important events of the life of the Mahamana through correspondence, photographs, gift items and books by him and on him. Besides the collection of Bharat Kala Bhavan, the exhibits have seen their way to the Gallery through the generous courtesy of Malaviya Bhavan, Public Relations Office of the University and individual donors. His contribution in the freedom struggle and nation building was enormous and this is amply evidenced by the fact that he was elected as President of All India Congress several times. Although a devout Hindu leader, Malaviyaji advocated for the unity between Hindus and Muslims and this aspect has been well projected through his appeals. As a social reformer Malaviyaji fought for the right and better place for down-trodden and backward sections of the society. He attended a conference of untouchables in the Kumbha fair of Allahabad. Malaviyaji also fought for the cause of women education and he thought that the girls must be well educated as they will become the true teachers of their children. As a staunch believer in Swadeshi, he launched campaigns for the use of Indian goods to help the freedom struggle. Like Gandhiji, he also advocated for patronising spun and hand-woven Khadi. For the same cause, he formed a nationalist party in 1934.
Banaras Hindu University is the most celebrated contribution of Malaviyaji and he dedicated completely ' for this great cause till his death in 1946. He served the University in different capacities. The position was always insignificant for him as he was the heart and soul of this great institution. Functioning as Vice-Chancellor, he maintained the noble traditions of Kulapatis of early India and loved the students as his sons. The student community also held him in high esteem and this fact is noted by a citation of honour presented on the 75th birthday of Mahamana on 18.12.1935. This is displayed in the Gallery .
As a great visionary he masterminded the excellent planning and layout of this University which reflects his aspiration to revive Indian architecture (Vastushastra) and shaped each faculty as Vidyamandira (temple of learning). He brought out the harmonious blend of oriental and occidental systems of education where religion (Dharma) and Science (Vijnana) played an equal role. In his appeal for donation issued on Jan. 17th, 1936 (on view) he called the Banaras Hindu University as the National Temple of Learning.
Serving the University and inspiring the country through his outstanding contributions, ideals and conduct for long this illustrious son of India breathed his last on November 12, 1946 at the age of eighty five. The Gallery terminates with a glimpse of the last rite of Mahamana (great soul).