Lala Lajpat Rai

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Lala Lajpat Rai (1865–1928, Punjabi: ਲਾਲਾ ਲਜਪਤ ਰਾਯ, Urdu: لالا لجپت راے; Hindi: लाला लाजपत राय) was an Indian author and politician who is chiefly remembered as a leader in the Indian fight for freedom from the British Raj. He was born January 28, 1865 in village Dhudike, in present day Moga district of Punjab. He was the eldest son of Munshi Radha Kishan Azad and Gulab Devi. His father was an Aggarwal Bania by caste.

In 1886 he passed his Law exams and he started his practice in Rohtak but moved to Hissar where some of his friends were also practicing Law. Lalaji's early legal practice at Hissar was very successful. His life of six years in Hissar became the apprenticeship for public service. He was elected to the Hissar municipality as a member and later as secretary. Besides practicing, Lalaji collected funds for the Daya Nand College, attended Arya Samaj functions. After the death of Swami Dayanand, Lalaji with his associates toiled to develop the Anglo-Vedic College. He came in contact with all the important Arya Samajis. He became the secretary of Arya Samaj in Rohtak.

There has been some controversy regarding his death, but the fact remains that he was a great national hero who inspired hundreds of youth including Bhagat singh, Sukhdev lal, etc to fight for Indian independence. He was also refered to as Sher-e-Punjab (lion of punjab) for his great achievements during India's freedom struggle. In Punjab he was popularly known as Kesari (Caesar (of Punjab)). He was also the founder of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company.

Sirdar Kapur Singh, “Is the pride (manhood) of Punjab completely finished?”

In his work Sachi Sakhi, [Sirdar Kapur Singh]], the famous Sikh intellectual, addresses the death of Lala Lajpat Rai:

ਸਾਈਮਨ ਕਮੀਸ਼ਨ ਦੇ ਲਹੌਰ ਪ੝ੱਜਣ ਤੋਂ ਪੰਜ ਹਫਤੇ ਪਿਛੋਂ ਹੀ,
Simon Commission's day Lahore pujan toh panj hafta pecho hee,
Just five weeks after the Simon commission got to Lahore,
ਲਾਲਾ ਲਾਜਪਤ ਰਾਇ ਦੀ, ਦਿਲ ਦੀ ਧਾਪ ਬੰਦ ਹੋਣ ਕਾਰਣ,
Lala Lajput Rai dee, delh de dhap baand hoohr kharan
due to Lala Lajput Rais's heart beat stopping he
ਮ੝ਰਿਤੂ ਹੋ ਗਈ ਤਾਂ ਦੋ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਕੰਗ੝ਰੈਸੀ ਡਾਕਟਰਾਂ
mhereetu hoe gahee tah dho Hindu congressi doctora
died and two Congress doctors
ਨੇ ਇਹ ਸਰਟੀਫਿਕੇਟ ਦੇ ਦਿਤਾ ਕਿ ਇਸ ਮ੝ਰਿਤੂ
nah eeh certificate dah detah ka eesh mretu
produced a certificate showing that his death
ਕਰਤਰੀ ਕਾਰਣ (Efficient cause) ਉਹ ਡਾਂਗਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਸੱਟਾਂ ਹੀ ਹਨ,
kartatee karran ooho thanga deeya sata hee han
was caused due to injuries caused by being hit by batons
ਜਿਹੜੀਆਂ ਕਿ ਛੇ ਹਫਤੇ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਉਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਵੱਜੀਆਂ ਸਨ |
jahreea ka cha hafta phala oona noo vajeea sahn
which had happened 6 weeks before his death.
ਇਸ ਤਰਾਂ ਆਕਾਸ਼ ਬੇਲ ਦੇ ਫ੝ੱਲਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਫਲ ਲਗੇ ਤੇ ਬਾਂਝ ਵਿਧਵਾ ਦੇ ਸਪ੝ਤ੝ਰ ਦਾ |
ees tarha aakas baal dha phula noo phal laga ta baaj veedva dha saputar da
In this way, the sky bound climber's flowers bore fruit, and the sterile widow's son
ਵਿਵਾਹ ਸੰਸਕਾਰ ਹੋਇਆ ਇਕ ਕੰਗ੝ਰੈਸੀ ਦੇਵੀ ਨੇਤਾ,
veevha sanskar hooeya ek kangrasee davee nAta,
wedding ceremony took place. At this time, one Congress lady
ਇਸ ਸਮੇਂ ਲਹੌਰ ਪਧਾਰੀ ਤੇ ਇਹ ਬਿਆਨ ਅਖਬਾਰਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਛਪਵਾ ਕੇ,
ees samha Lahore pdharee ta eeha beyhan ekhabara vich chpva ka,
came to Lahore and reported & got printed this in the newspaper and
ਮ੝ੜਦੇ ਪੈਰੀ ਕਲਕੱਤੇ ਚਲੇ ਗਈ |
murdha paree Calcatta chlaa gaee
immediately left for Calcutta.
"ਲਾਲਾ ਜੀ ਨੂੰ ਦ੝ਸ਼ਟ ਸਕਾਟ ਫਿਰੰਗੀ ਨੇ ਡਾਂਗਾਂ ਮਾਰ ਕੇ ਕਤਲ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਹੈ |
Lala ji nuu duust skat phergee na dhaga marg ka katl kar deta ha
"Due to the evil foreigner Scot's beating, Lal ji has died of the injuries.
ਕੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦਾ ਮਰਦਊਪ੝ਣਾ ਬਿਲਕ੝ਲ ਨਿਪ੝ੰਸਕ ਬਣ ਚ੝ੱਕਾ ਹੈ? "
ke punjab de mardooprh belkul neepusak ban chuke ha?
Is the pride (manhood) of Punjab completely finished?"
(Translation courtesy of Sardar Hari Singh)

Tributes

A statue of Lajpat Rai stands at the central square in Shimla, India. Lajpat Nagar and Lajpat Nagar Central Market in New Delhi, Lala Lajpat Rai Hall of Residence at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur and Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Engineering and Technology, Moga are named in his honor. Also many institutes, Schools and a Library in his hometown of Jagraon, district Ludhiana are named after him.