Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the greatest freedom fighters of India. His Patriotism earned him the title of “Punjab Kesari“.
Early life :
He was born at Dhudike in the Ferozepur district in Punjab on 28th January, 1865 in a Hindu Agarwal family. His father Lala Radha Krishna was a urdu teacher in a school. He was married to Radha Devi with who he had two sons – Amrit Rai Agarwal and Pyarelal Agarwal and a daughter – Pravati Agarwal.
He joined the Government college, Lahore where he studied law and later started practice at Hisar.
In college, he came into contact with freedom fighters such as Lala Hans Raj and Pandit Guru Dutt.
While studying at Lahore he was influenced by Hindu reformist movement of Swami-Dayanand Saraswati and joined the Arya Samaj and started the work of social reforms.
He was very much interested in educational matters. He founded a Sanskrit School at Hisar and took great pains to collect funds for starting the Dayanand Anglo Vedic college at Lahore.
He also practiced journalism and was a regular contributor to several newspapers including –
“The Tribune, He started, Young India”, a monthly paper and wrote several books like Hindu’s impressions and a study, History of Arya Samaj, Samaj and social change, England’s debt to India, Problems of National Education in India.
He also initiated the establishment of a bank at Lahore known as “Punjab National Bank“
Freedom Struggle –
In 1914, he quit law practice to dedicate himself to the freedom of India and event to Britain in 1914. In 1917 he founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York. He stayed in the United States from 1917 to 1920.
After his return from America, He was invited to Preside over the special session of congress in Calcutta that launched the non-corporation movement. He was imprisoned from 1921 to 1923 and elected to the legislative assembly o his release.
He led demonstrations against the British in Punjab in protest for Jallian Wallah Bagh incident. He was also interested in the conditions of the working class people, he was also elected as the President of the “All India Trade Union Congress“.
On 30th Oct. 1928 to boycott the arrival of the members of the Simon Commission in Lahore, a peaceful procession headed by Lala Lajpat Rai was launched. Interrupting the march, superintendent of Police, Scott ordered the Police force to “Lathi-charge” at the activists. The Police officer targeted Lajpat Rai, in particular and hit him on the chest that led to serious injuries and eventually died on 17th November 1928 of a heart attack.
Lala Lajpat Rai is remembered as a nationalist Indian and freedom-fighter who was unafraid of putting his views, even when they were critical of the Congress or Mahatma Gandhi, in the public domain. As an author and thinker his writings leaves behind a fascinating and rich legacy.
By Vasundhra Garg
Sher-e-Punjab,Sher-e-Punjab,” Sher-e-Punjab” UPSC Current Affairs
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