A legendary personality, Lala Lajpat Rai was born to Gulab Devi and Munshi Radha Kishan Azad on 28 January 1865. He was the foremost leader who worked relentlessly to improve the education system that prevailed then. He also threw himself body and soul to reform the society and promote unity among the Hindus. He gave a clarion call to people to work with him.
Lala Lajpat Rai has been given the sobriquet of Punjab Kesari. His appellation means ‘The Lion of Punjab’ in English and in Punjabi, it means ‘Sher-E- Punjab’. He was born in village Dhudike, in the present day district of Moga in Punjab. By caste, his father, Munshi Radha Kishan Azad, was an Agarwal. His mother, Gulab Devi was the person who taught moral values to Rai.
In the late 1870s and the early 1880s, for his initial education, he went to Government Higher Secondary School in Rewari. His father, Radha Kishan, taught Urdu in the same school. Lala Lajpat Rai was influenced, highly, by Hinduism. He started his career in transfiguring Indian Policies by means of writing and politics. He was so highly influenced that he came to firmly believe that Hinduism was the basis on which the entire Indian society must be based.
Later, in 1880, he enrolled in the Government College, Lahore, to study law. When he was studying, he met several patriots and to-be freedom fighters, such as Pandit Guru Dutt and Lala Hans Raj. After completing his studies, he started his practice in Hisar. He also collated funds for Daya Nand College. He became a part of Arya Samaj, founded by Swami Daya Nand Saraswati, and regularly attended its functions and meetings. He was also an active participant in the various activities organized by the Congress and was chosen as a member of the Hisar municipality. Later on, he became the secretary. In 1892, Lala Lajpat Rai shifted to Lahore.
During the World War I, Lala Lajpat Rai was in the United States. He returned to India in 1920. He organized protests against the Jalianwala Bagh massacre. Just like Bhagat Singh, he was deeply unhappy when Mahatma Gandhi suspended the Non-Cooperation Movement due to the incident at Chauri Chaura.
Lala Lajpat Rai has several books to his credit, such as Arya Samaj, Unhappy India, The United States of America: A Hindu’s Impression, The Story of My Deportation and Autobiographical Writings.
The accidental demise
To discuss constitutional reforms in India, the British government decided to send Simon Commission to India in 1928. There was no Indian in the commission. In 1929, when the Commission arrived in India, Indians were greatly aggravated by it. They carried out peaceful processions against the Commission. Despite the procession being peaceful, the British government brutally lathi-charged the people. During this procession, Lala got severely beaten up and encountered several injuries on his head. In less than 3 weeks of this incident, Lala Lajpat Rai succumbed to his injuries and died. 17 November 1928 is his martyrdom day.
India lost one of her multi-faceted, versatile and dynamic personalities to the profanity of the British.