One of the legendary triumvirate – Lal-Bal-Pal ( Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal) of India’s independence struggle, Lala Lajpat Rai dedicated his life in a self-less service to the nation.
On his birth anniversary, here are some interesting facts about his extraordinary life and fight for freedom.
Lala Lajpat Rai was born to the Munshi Radha Krishna Azad and Gulab Devi in Punjab on 28 January, 1865.
His father was a scholar of Persian and Urdu language.
He completed his schooling from the Government Higher Secondary School in Rewari where his father was an Urdu teacher.
He attained a degree in law from the Government College at Lahore in 1880.
Five years later, he started his legal practice in Hissar. But he wanted to devote his life to social service.
Rai became an ardent follower of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj. Dayananda Saraswati helped Rai to establish the nationalistic Dayananda Anglo-Vedic School.
After Dayananda’s death, Lala Lajpat Rai worked hard to develop the Anglo-Vedic colleges and educational institutes.
He was appointed the member of the Hissar municipality and later became its secretary.
A Freedom Fighter
Lala Lajpat Rai entered the politics to contribute in India’s struggle for independence in 1888.
During the Allahabad’s Congress session, Rai was one among the eighty delegates whose heroic speech made waves in the Congress circle.
He shifted to Lahore from Hissar to continue his legal practice at the Punjab High Court along with serving as the freedom fighter.
He participated actively against the partition of Bengal and launched Swadeshi campaign.
In 1907, he was imprisoned in Mandalay jail for six months as his revolutionary activities caused riots in Lahore and Rawalpindi.
After getting out of the jail, he re-entered the Indian National Congress in 1912.
He served as one of the delegates of the Congress in England, two years later.
Revolution In America
Lala Lajpat Rai planned to stay in England for six months. However, this was disrupted due to the outbreak of the First World War.
Consequently, he moved to America on a self-imposed exile. In America he fought against the pitiable state of India and Indians through his revolutionary speeches and books.
He initiated the Indian Home Rule League and a journal ‘Young India’ which dealt with the significance of Indian culture and freedom of the country.
Lala Lajpat Rai- A Potential Threat To British
After returning to India, he was appointed as the President of the National Congress in 1920.
He established the ‘Servants of the People Society’, a non-profit welfare organization, in Lahore.
Owing to his increasing popularity, British considered him a threat to their rule. Therefore, Rai was imprisoned in 1921 for two years.
After returning from jail, he acknowledged the communal problem as a rising threat to the freedom struggle.
Although he was a devout Hindu who was strongly influenced by Arya Samaj yet he actively worked to bring Hindu and Muslim together.
Boycotting The British
In 1928, he led a peaceful protest against the British’s Simon Commission. The Panel aimed to discuss the required Constitutional reforms for the country but there was not even a single Indian member in it.
He introduced a legislative assembly resolution for boycotting the British and demanded complete freedom for India.
He was injured in the British’s lathi charge from which he never recovered completely.
I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India.
– Lala Lajpat Rai
The ‘Lion of Punjab’, Lala Lajpat Rai died due to a cardiac arrest on 17 November, 1928.
A Social Worker
In 1897, he had founded the Hindu Relief Movement to provide help to the famine-stricken people and prevented them falling into the clutches of the missionaries.
In his article, the Kayastha Samachar (1901), he called for technical education and industrial self-help.
In the wake of the Swadeshi movement (anti-partition of Bengal. 1905-08), Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak set up the National College in Lahore, where Bhagat Singh studied.
As he took much interest in the condition of the working class people, he was also elected as the President of the All India Trade Union Congress.
He also founded the Punjab National Bank and the Lakshmi Insurance Company.
In the memory of his mother who died of Tuberculosis, Rai established a trust to come up with a hospital for treating women suffering from Tuberculosis. The hospital was opened in 17 July 1934 and named Gulab Devi Chest Hospital.