Lala Lajpat Rai, fondly called Punjab Kesari, was born on January 28, 1865, in Punjab. Known for his fiery nationalism and unyielding patriotism, Rai continues to inspire generations. On this day, we commemorate the invaluable contributions he made in the fight for Indian independence.
Rai's involvement in the Swadeshi movement and his staunch support for education are just some of the reasons why he is celebrated today. Tragically, his life was cut short on November 17, 1928, when he was attacked by the police during a protest against the Simon Commission in Lahore.
With an early interest in education, Rai founded the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore in 1885 and remained dedicated to fostering knowledge throughout his life. Additionally, he was a lifelong follower and leader of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement founded by Dayanand Saraswati.
To honor the memory of this influential freedom fighter, we look back at some of his inspiring quotes. One such quote reflects the impact he believed his sacrifice would have on ending British rule: "The shots that hit me are the last nails to the coffin of British rule in India."
Rai had a broad-minded perspective on representation, as evidenced by his statement, "I am a Hindu, in the Punjab the Hindus are in a minority and so far as I am concerned I should be quite content to be represented by any good Mohammedan or Sikh member."
His views on politics were pragmatic and adaptable, asserting, "Politics is a changing game, and I do not believe in any inflexible, cut and dried scheme good for all times and under all circumstances."
Lala Lajpat Rai's legacy lies in his relentless pursuit of freedom for the Indian people, encapsulated by his powerful message: "The end is freedom to live… according to our own conception of what life should be, to pursue our own ideals, to develop our own personality, and to secure that unity of purpose which would distinguish us from the other Nations of the world."
As we pay tribute to this great leader on his death anniversary, it is crucial to remember his words that resonate even today: "The Government which attacks its own innocent subjects has no claim to be called a civilized government." Lala Lajpat Rai's resilience continues to inspire the quest for justice and freedom in our nation.