Lala Lajpat Rai is popularly known as “Punjab Kesari” was an Indian independence activist, author, politician, freedom struggler who played a pivotal role in the Indian Independence movement. He was one of the three members of the Lal Bal Pal triumvirates. In 1894, he was also involved in the early stages of the Punjab National Bank and the Lakshmi Insurance Company. He established the Hindu Orphan Relief Movement to prevent Christian missionaries from gaining custody of these children. He was known for his fiery speeches and greatest qualities towards India's independence to inspire people to participate in the freedom movement. On November 17, 1928, he was beaten to death by a group of Britishers while demonstrating against British rule.
In this Lala Lajpat Rai biography, we will learn about Lala Lajpat Rai, his early life and career, his contributions towards the Indian Independence movement, several other important Lala Lajpat Rai information, and how Lala Lajpat Rai died.
About His Early Life and Career
Lala Lajpat Rai's date of birth is 28 January 1865.
His birthplace was Jagraon, Ludhiana district, Punjab, British India.
Lala Lajpat Rai’s father was Munshi Radha Krishan Agarwal, an Urdu and Persian government School teacher. His mother’s name was Gulab Devi Agarwal.
His father moved to Rewari in the late 1870s, where he received his early education at the Government Higher Secondary School in Rewari, Punjab province, where his father was employed as an Urdu teacher.
Rai's liberal views and belief in Hinduism were influenced by his father and profoundly religious mother during his youth, which he successfully applied to a career reforming religion and Indian policy through politics and journalism.
Lala Lajpat Rai enrolled in Government College in Lahore to study law in 1880, where he met future freedom fighters such as Lala Hans Raj and Pandit Guru Dutt.
He was inspired by Swami Dayanand Saraswati's Hindu reformist movement while studying in Lahore and entered the existing Arya Samaj Lahore.
He was the founding editor of the Arya Gazette in Lahore.
He became a strong believer in the belief that Hinduism, rather than nationality, was the pivotal point on which an Indian lifestyle must be based when studying law.
His association with Hindu Mahasabha leaders drew criticism from the Naujawan Bharat Sabha because the Mahasabha were non-secular and did not follow the Indian National Congress's system.
This focus on Hindu rituals in the subcontinent would eventually lead him to continue nonviolent protests in support of Indian independence demonstrations.
His father moved to Rohtak in 1884, and Lala Lajpat Rai followed after finishing his studies in Lahore.
In 1886, he moved to Hisar, where his father had been relocated, and began practicing law. He and Babu Churamani were founding members of the Hisar Bar Council.
He had a strong desire to serve his country since childhood, and he took a vow to free it from foreign rule in 1886 when he established the Hisar district branch of the Indian National Congress.
Along with Babu Churamani, Lala Chhabil Das, and Seth Gauri Shankar, he was one of the four delegates from Hisar to attend the annual session of the Congress in Allahabad in 1888 and 1889.
He relocated to Lahore in 1892 to practise before the Lahore High Court.
He also pursued journalism and was a frequent contributor to many newspapers, including The Tribune, in order to shape India's political policy in the run-up to independence.
He supported Mahatma Hansraj in founding the nationalistic Dayananda Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore in 1886.
Lala Lajpat Rai’s Family
Let us now go through a few more Lala Lajpat Rai information like his family details.
Lala Lajpat Rai was married to Radha Devi Aggarwal.
He had three children, two sons, and one daughter.
Pyarelal Aggrawal and Amrit Rai Aggrawal were his sons.
His daughter’s name was Parvati Aggrawal.
Lala Lajpat Rai as Indian Independence Activist
Lala Lajpat Rai left practicing law in 1914 to devote himself to the independence of India, and he traveled to the United Kingdom in 1914 and then to the United States in 1917.
Lala Lajpat Rai was deported to Mandalay after joining the Indian National Congress and participating in political unrest in Punjab, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him with subversion.
Lajpat Rai's supporters tried but failed to elect him to the presidency of the party in Surat in December 1907.
Bhagat Singh was a graduate of the National College, which he founded within the Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore as an alternative to British institutions.
In the Calcutta Special Session of 1920, he was elected President of the Indian National Congress.
He created the Servants of the People Society in Lahore in 1921, a non-profit welfare organization that moved its headquarters to Delhi after partition and now has branches across India.
Lala Lajpat Rai believed that Hindu society must fight its own battles with the caste system, women's status, and untouchability.
The Vedas were an integral part of the Hindu religion, but they were not required to be read by the lower castes. The lower caste should be allowed to read and recite the mantras, according to Lala Lajpat Rai.
All should be able to read and learn from the Vedas, he believed.
He created the Indian Home Rule League of America and a monthly journal Young India and Hindustan Information Services Association in New York in October 1917.
From 1917 to 1920, he remained in the United States.
During his visit to the United States in 1917, Lala Lajpat Rai visited Sikh communities on the West Coast of the United States, as well as Tuskegee University in Alabama and workers in the Philippines.
He had petitioned the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Congress, painting a vivid image of the British Raj's mismanagement in India, the Indian people's desire for democracy, and many other issues, pleading for the international community's moral help in achieving India's independence.
Lajpat Rai stayed in the United States during World War I, but he returned to India in 1919 and headed the Congress Party's special session that launched the non-cooperation movement the following year.
He was imprisoned from 1921 to 1923, and upon his release, he was elected to the legislative assembly.
The Commission, headed by Sir John Simon, was formed by the British government in 1928 to report on the political situation in India.
The Commission was boycotted by Indian political parties because it did not have a single Indian among its members, and it was met with nationwide protests.
Lajpat Rai led a nonviolent march in protest of the Commission's visit to Lahore on October 30, 1928. Protesters raised black flags and chanted "Simon Go Back."
James A. Scott, the Superintendent of Police, directed the police to use lathi charges against the demonstrators and assaulted Rai personally.
How Lala Lajpat Rai Died?
Lala Lajpat Rai was severely wounded in the lathi charge by the Britishers.
Despite being severely wounded, the final speech on Lala Lajpat Rai to the crowd was "I announce that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India".
Lala Lajpat Rai died on November 17, 1928, after failing to completely recover from his injuries.
When the issue was brought up in the British Parliament, however, the British government denied any involvement in Rai's death.
As it was the murder of a very tall leader in the freedom struggle, Bhagat Singh, an HSRA revolutionary who was present at the time, vowed to seek vengeance.
Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar, and Chandrashekhar Azad were among the revolutionaries who conspired to assassinate Scott in order to send a message to the British Raj.
Legacy and Influence of Lala Lajpat Rai on Indian Independence Movement
Lajpat Rai was a heavyweight veteran leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement, the Indian independence movement led by the Indian National Congress, Hindu reform movements, and Arya Samaj who, through journalistic writings and lead-by-example activism, inspired young men of his generation and kindled latent patriotism in their hearts.
Lala Lajpat Rai was the founder of several organizations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Arya Gazette, Lahore, Hisar Congress, Hisar Arya Samaj, Hisar Bar Council, and the national DAV managing Committee. Lala Lajpat Rai was also the founder of the Lakshmi Insurance Company, and he was responsible for the construction of the Lakshmi Building in Karachi, which still bears a plaque in his honor.
In 1927, Lajpat Rai formed a trust in his mother's name to create and run a tuberculosis hospital for women in Lahore, reportedly near where his mother, Gulab Devi, died of tuberculosis. The Gulab Devi Chest Hospital first opened its doors on July 17, 1934.
Literary Work by Lala Lajpat Rai
Lala Lajpat Rai was an avid writer. He contributed to several major Hindi, Punjabi, English, and Urdu newspapers and magazines in addition to founding Arya Gazette and serving as its publisher; he also wrote several books that have been published.
The Story of My Deportation in 1908.
Arya Samaj in 1915.
The United States of America: A Hindu’s Impression in 1916.
The problem of National Education in India in 1920
Unhappy India in 1928.
England's Debt to India in 1917.
Autobiographical Writings of Mazzini, Garibaldi, Shivaji, and Shrikrishna.
In this Lala Lajpat Rai biography, we got to know about Lala Lajpat Rai life history, career, his freedom movement, his contributions to literature, how he inspired the youth of India such as Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh to join the freedom movement, and finally his death.
Lala Lajpat Rai made an immense contribution to the Indian freedom movement. He was a member of the 'Lal Bal Pal' trio during the independence movement. He was dubbed the 'Punjab Kesari,' or 'Lion of Punjab.' He assisted in the establishment of a few schools throughout the region. He was also the driving force behind the establishment of Punjab National Bank. To prevent Christian missionaries from gaining custody of these children, he established the Hindu Orphan Relief Movement in 1897. He died after police used deadly force against demonstrators who were protesting the arrival of the Simon Commission.
Key Points to Remember
The biography of Lala Lajpat Rai is very vast and is difficult to remember all at once, therefore here are some of the key points which summarize the biography of Lala Lajpat Rai.
Lala Lajpat is a well-known Indian politician. During World War I, Rai lived in the United States and created the Indian Home Rule League of America.
Rai was a law student who eventually worked in Hisar as a lawyer.
The Lal-Bal-Pal trio, which included Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal, supported the Swadeshi movement.
In 1928, he proposed a legislative assembly resolution calling for the British Simon Commission on Constitutional Reform to be boycotted.
In Hisar, Haryana, the Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences is named after the revolutionary Rai, who also produced books.
The Story of My Deportation, United States of America: A Hindu's Impression, and England's Debt to India are some of his writings.
On the anniversary of Rai's death, the people of Odisha commemorate Martyrs' Day.
There are many other contributions made by Lala Lajpat Rai other than playing a major role of freedom fighter. Some of these contributions have been stated below:
Hisar Bar Council, Hisar Arya Samaj, Hisar Congress, and the National DAV Managing Committee are among the major institutions and organizations that were formed by Lala Lajpat Rai.
He was the publisher and also the editor of the Arya Gazette, which was started by himself in his time.
Lala Lajpat Rai was also the co-founder of Punjab National Bank in the year 1894.