Punjab Kesari – Lala Lajpat Rai
One among the Lal Bal Pal triumvirate, popularly known as Punjab Kesari, Lala Lajpat Rai was a great freedom fighter, author and politician. His contribution to Indian Independence is indeed an inspiring part. He was born on 28 January 1865, Dhudike, Punjab, India and completed his initial education in Government Higher Secondary School, Rewari, Punjab province. In 1880, he joined Government College at Lahore to study Law, where he met patriots and freedom fighters like Lala Hans Raj and Pandit Guru Dutt. After completing his studies, he became a founding member of the Bar council of Hisar.
He also practiced journalism to contribute regularly in order to widespread the independence movement. To completely concentrate and dedicate himself to Indian Independence movement he quit law practice and only concentrated on the independence of India. He founded the National College inside Bradlaugh Hall at Lahore as a substitute for British colleges and Bhagat Singh was one of the graduates from his college.
In 1907, Lala Lajpat Rai went to the US. His travelogue, The United States of America gives brief details regarding his journey and the works he carried out there against the Britishers. He prepared 32 pages petition overnight which gave a picture of mal-administration of the British rule in India and was discussed in the Senate of American Parliament during October 1917. After World War 1, Lajpat returned to India and led a non-cooperation movement by Congress party and was imprisoned for 2 years. Later, he was elected as a member of the legislative assembly in 1923.
On 14 December 1923, he demanded a clear partition of India into a Muslim India and Hindu State India in The Tribune. Lala Lajpat Rai led a nonviolent march with words “Simon go back” on 30 October 1928 when the British Commission visited Lahore and he was assaulted badly by the superintendent of police. In Spite of bad injuries he still addressed the crowd saying, “I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India”. He couldn’t recover the injuries and died on 17th November 1928 die to a heart attack. The matter was taken to court but the British government denied it was their mistake and the case was closed. But Bhagat Singh vowed to take revenge and joined other leaders and planned to kill Scott who was responsible for Rai’s death.
He established a trust in 1927, to build and run a tuberculosis hospital for women where his mother Gulab Devi had expired due to tuberculosis. Now it is one of the biggest hospitals of present Pakistan and around 2000 patients are treated comfortably. Many trusts, institutes, schools libraries and also bus terminus were built and are named in his honor and still run as a tribute to his great contribution in Indian Independence.
His efforts and dedication towards independence was of great appreciation. On this special occasion of Independence Day, let us salute such a devoted freedom fighter and pledge for peaceful India in future too.
Written By: Priyanka Kammar
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