Lala Lajpat Rai
- Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the foremost leaders who fought against British rule in India.
- He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari (Lion of the Punjab).
- Lala Lajpat Rai was born in January 1865 and got martyrdom on November, 17, 1928.
- Lala Lajpat Rai joined the Government College at Lahore in 1880 to study Law.
- While in college he came in contact with patriots and joined the Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
- He passed his Vakilship Examination in Second Division from Government College in 1885 and started his legal practice in Hissar.
- Besides practicing, Lalaji collected funds for the Dayanand College, attended Arya Samaj functions and participated in Congress activities.
- He was elected to the Hissar municipality as a member and later as secretary.
- He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages.
Role In Freedom Struggle:
- Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the three most prominent Hindu Nationalist members of the Indian National Congress, part of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio.
- They formed the extremist faction of the Indian National Congress. They believed in action instead of petition, propaganda strategy of moderates.
- Lalaji actively participated in the struggle against partition of Bengal.
- Along with Surendra Nath Banerjee, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurorbindo Ghosh, he galvanized Bengal and the nation in a vigorous campaign of Swadeshi.
- Lajpat Rai was deported to Mandalay, Burma (now Myanmar), without trial on May 1907.
- Lalaji believed that it was important for the national cause to organize propaganda in foreign countries to explain India’s position because the freedom struggle had taken a militant turn.
- He left for Britain in April 1914 for this purpose. At this time First World War broke out and he was unable to return to India.
- He went to USA to galvanize support for India. He founded the Indian Home League Society of America and wrote a book called “Young India”.
- The book severely indicted British rule in India and was banned in Britain and India even before it was published.
- He was able to return to India in 1920 after the end of World War. After his return, Lala Lajpat Rai led the Punjab protests against the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre and the Non-Cooperation Movement. He also became Congress President in 1920.
- In 1921, He founded Servants of the People Society, a non-profit welfare organisation, in Lahore, which shifted based to Delhi after partition, and has branches in many parts of India.
- He disagreed with Gandhiji’s suspension of Non-Cooperation movement due to the Chauri-Chaura incident and formed the Congress Independence Party, which had a pro-Hindu slant.
- Graduates of the National College, which he founded inside the Bradlaugh Hall at Lahore as an alternative to British institutions, included Bhagat Singh.
Lala Lajpat Rai’s writings:
- The Story of My Deportation (1908)
- Arya Samaj (1915)
- The United States of America: A Hindu’s Impression (1916)
- Young India (1916)
- Unhappy India (1928)
- England’s Debt to India (1917)
- In 1928, British Government decided to send Simon Commission to India to discuss constitutional reforms.
- The Commission had no Indian member and this greatly angered Indians
- When the Commisssion came to India there were protests all over India. Lala Lajpat Rai himself led one such procession against Simon Commission.
- While the procession was peaceful, British Government brutally lathicharged the procession.
- Lala Lajpat Rai received severe head injuries and died on November17, 1928.
- Although Bhagat Singh did not witness the event, he decided to take revenge, and joined other revolutionaries- Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar and Chandrashekhar Azad, in a plot to kill Scott.
- In a case of mistaken identity, Bhagat Singh shot John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police.
- He was shot by Rajguru and Bhagat Singh while leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928.