NCERT Notes: Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928) [Modern Indian History Notes For UPSC]

NCERT notes on important topics for the UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation. These notes will also be useful for other competitive exams like banking PO, SSC, state civil services exams and so on.

Lala Lajpat Rai was a prolific freedom fighter for India. His death anniversary, 17th November is celebrated as Martyr’s Day in India.

Facts
  • Born in 1865 in Moga district, Punjab to a middle-class family.
  • Was a lawyer by profession.
  • Also called ‘Punjab Kesari’.
  • Was influenced by Swami Dayananda Saraswati and joined the Arya Samaj in Lahore.
  • He believed that the ideals in Hinduism combined with nationalism will lead to the establishment of a secular state.
  • Along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he formed the Lal-Bal-Pal trio of extremist leaders.
  • He was also involved with the Hindu Mahasabha.
  • He fought against untouchability.

Contributions of Lala Lajpat Rai

Political life
  • He joined the Indian National Congress (INC) and participated in many political agitations in Punjab.
  • For his political agitation, he was deported to Burma without trial in 1907 but returned after a few months because of lack of evidence.
  • He was opposed to the partition of Bengal.
  • He founded the Home Rule League of America in 1917 in New York. In the USA, he worked to get moral support for the Indian independence movement from the international community.
  • He was also elected President of the All India Trade Union Congress.
  • He supported the non-cooperation movement of Gandhi at the Nagpur session of the Congress in 1920.
  • He protested against the Rowlatt Act and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that followed.
  • He was the editor of the Arya Gazette, which he had founded.
  • He founded the Servants of People Society in 1921.
  • He co-founded the Punjab National Bank in 1894.
  • He was elected deputy leader of the Central Legislative Assembly in 1926.
  • In 1928, he moved a resolution in the assembly refusing cooperation with the Simon Commission since the Commission had no Indian members.
  • He was leading a silent protest against the Simon Commission in Lahore when he was brutally lathi-charged by Superintendent of Police, James Scott. Rai died of injuries sustained a few weeks later. Bhagat Singh and a few other revolutionaries vowed to take revenge for Rai’s death and plotted to kill Scott. But he shot and killed John Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police in a case of mistaken identity.

 

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