Today is the 155th Birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai, one of the many key revolutionaries who fought for India’s freedom from British rule. Popularly known as Punjab Kesari, he has made a great contribution to our nation.
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Lala Lajpat Rai was born on 28 January 1865 in a jain family. His father was a Urdu and Persian government school teacher named Munshi Radha Krishan Agrawal and his mother’s name was Gulab Devi Agrawal, in Dhudike, Punjab.
He completed his initial education from Government Higher Secondary School, Rewari (presently Haryana and previously Punjab). He joined the Government College at Lahore to study Law in 1880. He started legal practice in Hisar, Harayana after completing his law degree. He got married to Radha Devi in 1877.
He was a delegate in the annual sessions of the National Congress during congress session of 1888 and 1889.
In 1914, he completely quit practicing law to dedicate himself fully to the freedom of India and went to Britain in 1914 and then to the United States in 1917. He founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York in October 1917. He stayed in the United States from 1917 to 1920.
He died in 1928.
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Quick Facts About our Punjab Kesari
1. Lala Lajpat Rai played a crucial role in founding the present day Punjab National Bank (PNB) in 1894.
2. Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal were the force behind Swadeshi Movement during the Independence movement to boycott British goods, with a vision to make India a self-dependent nation in 1905.
3. He is also responsible for the establishment of Dayanand Anglo Vedic school system popularly know as DAV. There are a total 900 DAV schools and 75 colleges across the country at present.
4. In 1921, he founded “Servants of the People Society”, which was a non-profit welfare organization, in Lahore that shifted to Delhi after 1947. The organisation has various branches in India and is now known as Lok Sevak Mandal
5. In 1928, Rai led the non-violent march against the Simon Commission, which was set up by the Britishers. The slogan “Simon, go back!” was given by him and became famous during the Independence movement.
6. Lala Lajpat Rai was brutally injured in police lathicharge during the Simon Commission protests. He died on November 17, 1928 after a heart attack.
7. Some of the most important books by him are: The Story of My Deportation (1908), Arya Samaj (1915), The United States of America: A Hindu’s impressions (1916), Young India (1916), England’s Debt to India: India (1917)
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