Lala Lajpat Rai born was born on January 28, 1865 in Jagraon in Ludhiana and he was an Indian author, freedom fighter and politician who is chiefly remembered as a leader in the Indian fight for freedom from the British Raj. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari Punjabi: The Lion of Punjab or Sher-e-Punjab Urdu: The Lion of Punjab meaning the same and was part of the Lal Bal Pal trio. He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages. He sustained serious injuries by the police when leading a non-violent protest against the Simon Commission and died less than three weeks later. His death anniversary November 17 is one of several days celebrated as Martyrs' Day in India. He was also the founder of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company. Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the three most prominent Hindu Nationalist members of the Indian National Congress. He was part of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio.

The other two members of the trio were Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal. They formed the extremist faction of the Indian National Congress, as opposed to the moderate one led first by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He was the eldest son of Munshi Kishan Azad and Gulab Devi who inculcated strong moral values in him. He studied law from Government College in Lahore and thereafter started his legal practice in Hissar. His political career started in 1888 with the Indian National Congress Session at Allahabad. At the next session at Bombay in 1889, he was linked with other two leading freedom fighters Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The trio was popularly known as Lal-Bal-Pal. Lalaji was actively involved in struggle against partition of Bengal. During the struggle he galvanized Indians for a campaign of Swadeshi and was imprisoned for six months for creating turmoil.

Rai traveled to the US in 1907, and then returned during World War. He toured Sikh communities along the US West Coast; visited Tuskegee University in Alabama; and met with workers in the Philippines. His travelogue, The United States of America 1916, details these travels and features extensive quotations from leading African American intellectuals, including W.E.B. DuBois and Fredrick Douglass. The book also argues for the notion of “color-caste,” suggesting a sociological similarities between race in the US and caste in India. The term comes from sociological work done at Columbia University during the 1910s.

During World War I, Lajpat Rai lived in the United States, but he returned to India in 1919 and in the following year led the special session of the Congress Party that launched the noncooperation movement. Imprisoned from 1921 to 1923, he was elected to the legislative assembly on his release. The Lala Lajpat Rai Trust was formed in 1959 on the eve of his Centenary Birth Celebration, to promote education. The trust was founded by a group of Punjabi philanthropists including R.P Gupta and B.M Grover who have settled and prospered in the Indian State of Maharashtra. A state university was created in memory of Lala Lajpat Rai at Hisar, a prominent city in Haryana, where Lala Ji also practised and was married. The university is named as Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Hisar and has started functioning from 1 December, 2010. After his release in 1907, he went to Britain in April 1914 to explain the position of India. During his stay in Britain, the First World War broke out but he was unable to return. So, he went to USA for promoting the cause of India’s freedom struggle. There he founded the India Home League Society of America. He returned to India in 1920 and formed the Congress Independence Party in protest against the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre and Non Cooperation Movement. In 1928, Simon Commission that came to India to discuss constitutional reforms was protested by Lalaji because the commission had no Indian members. The shrewd Britishers brutally lathicharged Lalaji during the protest and because of severe head injuries he expired on November 17, 1928.


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