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Lala Lajpat Rai, also known as the 'Punjab Kesari' (the lion of Punjab) was born on 28 January 1865. He was played a significant role in the freedom struggle of India. Apart from being a freedom fighter, he also served as a lawyer and politician. He was one of the Lal-Bal-Pal. These are the titles of three famous freedom fighters namely, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal, who played a major role in the freedom struggle of India.
He was born in a Jain family in the Dhudhike, a small village in Punjab, India. His father Munshi Radha Krishna Agrawal was a teacher, while his mother Gulab Devi Agrawal was a home-maker. It was in 1870 when his father got transferred to Rewari and Rai received his primary education in the Government Higher Secondary School.
On his 155th birth anniversary let us know some lesser-known facts about one of the greatest freedom fighters of India.
1. Inspired by many other freedom fighters, Lala Lajpat Rai took a pledge to participate in the freedom struggle of India against the British Raj, while he was just a kid.
2. It was in the year 1877 when he was married to Radha Devi Agrawal. The couple had 3 children- two boys and one girl.
3. In 1880, he went on to pursue law at the Government College, Lahore. During this time, he got the chance to interact with some young freedom fighters.
4. Meanwhile, he got the opportunity to know Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj. Inspired by his teachings, Lala Lajpat Rai also joined the Arya Samaj.
5. He started practising Law at Hisar (a district in Punjab) when his family moved to the same place in 1886. Later he served as the founding member of the Bar Council Of India in Hisar with Babu Churamani, another lawyer.
6. He, along with Babu Churamani, later went to establish a branch of Indian National Congress in Hisar. They also established a branch of Arya Samaj in the same district.
7. He received the opportunity of being one of the four delegates participating in the annual session of Congress in 1888 and 1889. Both the sessions were held in Allahabad.
8. In 1892, he went to practice law at the Lahore High Court. During this time, he also practised journalism and use to write regularly for 'The Tribune' newspaper. Lala Lajpat Rai, a stalwart of the Indian struggle for independence, played a significant role in the birth of PNB. Under his guidance, the Dayanand Anglo Vedic School managing committee was established.
9. Soon, he realised that he must quit the law and participate in the freedom struggle of India. Therefore, he quit practising law in 1914.
10. It was in May 1907, when he was deported to Mandalay, Burma for being a part of a political agitation that took place in Punjab.
11. During the Calcutta Special Session held in 1920, Lala Lajpat Rai became the president of the Indian National Congress (INC).
12. The Servants of the People Society which is a non-profit welfare organisation was founded by Lala Lajpat Rai in 1921. The then headquarter was at Lahore. After the partition of India in 1947, the organisation was shifted to Delhi.
13. When Simon Commission came to India on 30 October 1928, it was opposed by Indians and every political party. Several people were protesting against it. It was then, Lala Lajpat Rai organised a non-violence protest named 'Simon go back'.
14. In 1927, he established the Gulab Devi Chest Hospital in the loving memory of his mother who died after suffering from Tuberculosis. It is said that the hospital is situated at the same place in Pakistan where his mother died. It was inaugurated on 17 July 1934. The hospital is dedicated and run by women only.
15. Furious over the protesters against Simon Commission, James A. Scott, the superintendent of Police, ordered his force to do Lathi Charge on the protesters. Scott himself went into the Lathi Charge and caught hold of Lala Lajpat Rai. Reports claim that he assaulted Lala Lajpat Rai severely.
16. Though Rai was severely injured and was under treatment, he addressed the crowd and said, "I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India."
17. Lala Lajpat Rai couldn't recover from his injuries and on 17 November 1928, he died after having a heart attack. The British Government denied the role of Scott or any other British government official in the death of Lala Lajpat Rai.
18. A group of philanthropists who belong to Punjab opened the Lala Lajpat Rai Trust in 1959. It was founded on the eve of his Centenary Birth Anniversary.
19. In the year 2010, the Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences was established by the Government of Haryana.
20. Today, there are many memorials, streets, localities and other public areas across India named after Lala Lajpat Rai.