The Life and Times of Lala Lajpat Rai
There are few leaders of the pre-independence era who,
after having plunged themselves into the political struggle,
continued to take an active interest in social, cultural and
educational work. Lala Lajpat Rai was one of such leader.
Born on 28th January, 1865 at a small village, Dhudike in
Ferozpur district of Punjab
, he belonged to the
Agarwal Baniya caste and it was perhaps because of this, in
addition to taking part in social and political life of the
country, he took keen interest in industrial and financial
matter also. His father was a teacher of Persian and Urdu in
a government school.
Having passed the final examination in Law from Punjab University, he started his
practice in1883, when he was barely 18 years old. Endowed with a rich legacy of moral
and intellectual background, Lala Lajpat Rai had benefit of education in his the practical
rationalism of western science combined with the religious purity and moral elevation of
Eastern literature put on him the hallmark of true culture. While sympathizing with and
aiding every movement made for progress, Lala Lajpat Rai identified himself very
closely with Arya Samaj, in which he found ample scope for the exercise of his
patriotism, philanthropy and religious zeal.
Having qualified as a pleader, Lala Lajpat Rai started practice at Hissar and soon became
a leading lawyer of the district. He organized the Arya Samaj there and put it on proper
lines. In 1892, he transferred his practice to the wider field at Lahore.
Education, both secular and religious, was in Lala Lajpat Rai’s view an important factor
in national development. HE took part in the foundation of the D.A.V. College at Lahore.
Lalaji and Politics
Lala Lajpat Rai always felt drawn towards politics. It was in 1888 that he joined the
Indian National Congress when it met at Allahabad under the presidency of Mr. G. Yule.
In 1905, the Indian National Congress Committee having recognized in him an austere,
sincere and selfless devoted worker selected him as one of its delegates to place before
the British public the political grievances of the Indian people. He met the expenses of his
trip from his own pocket. He along with Gokhale carried on the political campaign in
various parts of England and brought home to the mind of the British, the evils of an
unsympathetic and bureaucratic government under which India was labouring and
pleaded in eloquent language, adding facts and figures in supporting their contention,
cause of the half starving and half dying people of India. Lala Lajpat Rai created an
impression on the public of England.