Lala Lajpat Rai, popularly known as the Sher I Punjab was a philanthropist, a social reformer and a true nationalist. He was a great national leader, who worked tirelessly to improve the education and to promote the unity among the Hindus. Being a social reformer he intended to bring a unity in the society and to inculcate the spirit of nationalism throughout the country. The historians considered Lala Lajpat Rai as the standard of revolt against the "mendicant policy" of the Moderate leaders.
Early Life of Lala Lajpat Rai
Lala Lajpat Rai was born in 1865 in a family of Agarwals of Ludhiana. After taking a degree in Law, he set up his practice at Hissar. Soon after he was moved to Lahore and came in contact with the radical politics. At Lahore he came under the influence of Mahatma Hans Raj. A true and dedicated Arya Samajist Lala Lajpat Rai was associated with the foundation of D.A.V College in Lahore. He was a fearless journalist and founded and edited The Punjabee and The Bande Mataram and the English weekly The People.
Political Life of Lala Lajpat Rai
As a political man, Lajpat Rai`s inclination was always towards extremism. He was one of the trio- Bal, Pal and Lal, who organized the Extremist group in Indian National Congress
. He assisted Gokhale to England in1905. Their sole aim was to make the English public aware about the problems and aspirations of the Indians. But they were highly disappointed. This was so because the British Government was too busy with their affair. The English newspapers were not likely to print the situation and condition of India. Hence Lajpat Rai asked his countrymen to strike a blow against the British Government in order to grab independence. In 1907, Bal Gangadhar Tilak
proposed Lajpat Rai`s name for the Presidency of the Surat Congress, but Rai himself withdrew his name. In 1914 he went to England and later to United States in order to uphold India`s case and create India`s opinion against imperialism. In 1920 he was elected to preside over the special session of the Congress at Kolkata
At first Lala Lajpat Rai was not in favour of the Non Cooperation Movement
but later he supported Mahatma Gandhi
and his non-cooperation policy wholeheartedly. He along with the other Congress leaders protested against the withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922. This resentment found expression in the formation of the Swaraj Party in which was organize by Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale
, C.R. Dass
and Motilal Nehru
. Lajpat Rai entered the Central Legislature a Swarajist. Lajpat Rai was a true nationalist. A staunch believer of the Hindu Muslim Unity, Lajpat Rai however was not prepared to sacrifice Hindu interests in any policy. This led him to co-operate with Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in organizing the Hindu Sangathan Movement. In 1928 Lajpat Rai led a demonstration against the Simon Commission
when it visited Lahore. He died a martyr on 27th Novembers 1928
Lajpat Rai aspired for the all round uplift of the masses-educational, social, economic and political. He vigorously worked for the attainment of his objective. As a whole Lajpat Rai was a man of true vision.