Pandit Ji had played an important role in the various subject committee of Congress at national level. He took active part in the freedom struggle. After the Jalianwalabagh massacre, he was arrested by British Government under Defence of India Rule and his property was confiscated. He took active part in Khilafat Movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi.
Early Life of Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary
Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was the son of Ch. Radha Krishan Dutt. He was born in 1866 in Kanjrur (now in West Pakistan). After completing his graduation from the F.C. College Lahore, he did his Law degree and started practice in the High Court of Lahore (now in West Pakistan).
Wife of Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary
In 1905, Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary got married to Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, the niece of nationalist poet, Rabindranath Tagore. She was the first woman political leader of her time and she was the leader of the anti-British Government. Her father Janakinath Ghoshal was one of the earliest secretaries of Indian National Congress.
Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary and Gandhiji
Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary and his wife Sarala Devi Chaudhurani became followers of Mahatma Gandhi in 1919 and sent their son Dipak to Gandhi’s Ashram for education. Gandhi admired them for their patriotism and the sprit of self-sacrifice. He told the people of Gujarat that the message of Rambhuj Dutt which, according to him, was also the message of entire Punjab was fearlessness: “It asks one never to accept defeat, come what may, to love God and work on with patience and fortitude”. His dedication to Swadeshi Movement was evident from his decision to exclude all foreign clothes during his son’s marriage. This further impressed Gandhiji.
Contributions of Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary
Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was one of the few leaders of the Punjab who took keen interest in the activities of the Congress during the early period of its development. At its Lahore Session in 1900 he seconded the resolution moved by Surendranath Bonnerji condemning the exclusion of Indians from higher Public Services. He also supported Tilak’s resolution on famine, poverty and land revenue at its Banaras Session in 1905. At its 23rd session in 1908, he moved a resolution demanding that posts of higher ranks in the army might be thrown open to Indians. He represented Punjab on a committee appointed at the 25th session of the Congress at Allahabad in 1910 to prepare an address to be presented to Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India. He condemned the policy of racial discrimination of the Government of Canada at the 28th session of the congress in 1913 at Karachi. He opposed the Rowlatt Act. He, therefore, took prominent part in the agitation against this legislation.
His fearless attacks on the Government added to his rising popularity and the British Government arrested him on April 14, 1919, along with Harkishan Lal and Duni Chand under Lahore Conspiracy case as a result of which he was sentenced to transportation for life and his property was confiscated. He was described as the "Chief Spokesman of the Conspiracy". He was released by the Secretary of State, Montague, to create favourable atmosphere for introduction of his reforms scheme.
Besides these he was well known journalist and launched two newspapers in Urdu and English, "The Hindustan". He was the member of the Municipal Corporation, Lahore and took an active part in the civil affairs. He was also a working committee member of Indian National congress and President of the Punjab congress committee during pre-independence of India. He went to England in September 1908 to explain to the British Government the cause of unrest in the Punjab province and the Government had to implement his scheme to cool down the unrest in the province.
Social Works of Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary
Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary did a lot of social work as well for the depressed classes of Punjab province. He is remembered by the people even today and since 1932 his birthday is celebrated as a mark of respect and recognition. He also led relief work at the time of Kangra earthquake. His work in Gurdaspur district in this connection received the approbation of the people. Moreover the people of depressed classes of Gurdaspur district still regard him as their ‘Guru’. A memorial named "Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Veda Shala" was also setup by late Shri B D Birla. The foundation stone of this memorial was laid down by Smt. Kasturba Gandhi, wife of Mahatma Gandhi, near Awankha.
Like Lajpat Rai and Swami Shraddhanand, Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was a prominent member of the Arya Samaj. He was also engaged in the programmes of the Arya Samaj that included the upliftment of the depressed classes. Pandit Ji also struggled hard to eliminate discrimination against the backward through education and propaganda.
Both Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary and his wife Sarala Devi were champions of Indian freedom movement. Their selfless contribution to freedom struggle, upliftment of women, weaker section and patriotic literature which had inspired many to jump into the freedom struggle to free the India from British Raj have immortalised their names on the pages of Indian history.
Image Contributed by Ashok Datta Choudhary
Indian Freedom Fighters
Indian National Congress
British Empire in India
Rowlatt Act of 1919
Indian Independence Act 1947
Indian Freedom Struggle