Lala Lajpat Rai (1865- 1938)

Famous Arya Samajist and Extremist leader from the Punjab popularly known as ‘Punjab Kesari’. He started his political carrier by attending the Congress session at Allahabad. He is one of the three pillars of Extremism in India, the other two being B.C.Pal and B.G.Tilak. In 1907, he organised and led a massive Agrarian Movement in Punjab for which he was deported, along with Ajith Singh to Burma. After his release, he went for a long lecture tour to Europe and USA. In 1920, he presided over the Calcutta session of the congress. He actively participated in the Non Cooperation Movement and after his suspension joined the Swarajya Party on October 30, 1928. While leading the anti-Simon Commission procession in Lahore, he was brutally lathi- charged, and died 18 days later on November 17, 1928. About the police assault on him he warned: “Every blow aimed at me would prove to be a nail in the coffin of the British Imperialism in India”. Lala Lajpat Rai was a prolific writer and was deeply interested in journalism and founded an Urdu daily, the Vande Mataram and an English weekly, the People. Earlier he had published Young India in the USA. Some of his works are England’s Debt to India, India’s Will to Freedom, Call to Young India, and Unhappy India. He also contributed to the spread of modern education. He founded the DAV College, Lahore. He also established the National College in Lahore.

Keywords: Lala Lajpat Rai, ‘Punjab Kesari’, Agrarian Movement, Non Cooperation Movement, anti-Simon Commission,