Lala Lajpat Rai

Lala Lajpat Rai popularly known as Punjab Kesari was an Indian freedom fighter.

Updated: June 16, 2022

Lala Lajpat Rai popularly known as Punjab Kesari was an Indian freedom fighter. He was one third of the Lal Bal Pal triumvirate. He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages in 1894. He was deeply impressed by the ideals of Arya Samaj movement founded by Dayananda Saraswati. He founded Servants of the People Society, a non-profit welfare organization. He was born on January 28th, 1865 and died on November 17th, 1928.


Childhood of Lala Lajpat Rai:

Lajpat Rai was born on 28th January 1865 in a Hindu Aggarwal family, as a son of Urdu and Persian government school teacher Munshi Radha Krishan Agrawal and his wife Gulab Devi Agrawal, in Dhudike.


Education of Lala Lajpat Rai:

In the late 1870s, his father was transferred to Rewari, where he had his initial education in Government Higher Secondary School, Rewari (now in Haryana, previously in joint Punjab), where his father was posted as an Urdu teacher. During his early life, Rai's liberal views and belief in Hinduism were shaped by his father and deeply religious mother respectively.


In 1880, Lajpat Rai joined Government College at Lahore to study Law, where he came in contact with patriots and future freedom fighters, such as Lala Hans Raj and Pandit Guru Dutt. While studying at Lahore he was influenced by the Hindu reformist movement of Swami Dayanand Sarasvati. He completed his study of law and started his legal practice in Hissar in 1885.


Family of Lala Lajpat Rai:

In 1877, he was married to Radha Devi Agrawal, with whom had two sons, Amrit Rai Agrawal and Pyarelal Agrawal, and a daughter, Parvati Agrawal.


Some facts about Lala Lajpat Rai:

  • After the death of Swami Dayanand, he along with his associates worked hard to develop the Anglo-Vedic colleges and educational institutes.
  • A statue of Lajpat Rai at Lahore, erected in the early 20th century was later moved central square in Shimla after the partition of India.
  • In 1959, the Lala Lajpat Rai trust was formed on the eve of his Centenary Birth Celebration by a group of Punjabi philanthropists.
  • Popularly referred to as the Lion of Punjab, the legacy of Lala Lajpat Rai continues to thrive in the country in the form of various schools, colleges and educational institutes which bear his name.
  • Lala Lajpatrai College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut, Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Engineering and Technology, Moga was named after him. In 2010, the Government of Haryana set up the Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences at in Hisar in his memory.
  • His statues adorn various roads, squares and lanes in numerous towns and metropolis of India. Several markets and localities also bear his name to mark his relentless contribution in the freedom struggle.
  • Lajpat Nagar and Lala Lajpat Rai square with his statue in Hisar, Lajpat Nagar and Lajpat Nagar Central Market in New Delhi,Lala Lajpat Rai memorial park in Lajpat Nagar, Lajpat Rai Market in Chandani Chowk, Delhi, Lala Lajpat Rai Hall of Residence at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur and Kharagpur, Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital in Kanpur, the bus terminus, several institutes, schools and libraries in his hometown of Jagraon are named in his honor.
  • He made lasting contribution in the field of commerce and journalism as well. He is responsible for the establishment of the Punjab National Bank and the Lakshmi Insurance Company. His newspapers, journals and weeklies played a dominant role in instigating Indian youth to join in the freedom struggle.
  • As a social worker and member of the Arya Samaj, he served as a father figure to the orphans, helped set up numerous orphanages which function till date and toiled tirelessly to improve the working condition of the working class.
  • He controversially demanded "a clear partition of India into a Muslim India and Hindu State India" in The Tribune on 14th December 1923.
  • He breathed his last on November 17, 1928, due to heart attack. His death is celebrated as Martyrs Day in India.



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