An ardent nationalist and a dedicated social reformer whose achievements earned him the title of “The Lion of Punjab” (Sher-e-Punjab), Lala Lajpat Rai was born in Ludhiana in 1865. Though he equipped himself for a career in law, he was drawn into the political cause when residing at Lahore. Here, he also came in contact with Mahatma Hans Raj who became a source of inspiration for him. Being an Arya Samajist as well, Lala Lajpat Rai helped in the establishment of the D.A.V. College at Lahore.
His extremist ideas helped him team up with Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal to form the famous group, ‘Bal, Pal, Lai’. After a disappointing trip to England in 1905 along with Gokhale, his message to his countrymen was that they themselves and no one else would fight for their freedom. He withdrew his name from the list for the presidency of the Congress at its Surat session. He visited Britain in 1914 and the USA as well to educate the international public about India’s cause.
In September 1920 Lala Lajpat Rai became President of the Special Session of the Congress at Calcutta. Gandhi’s non-cooperation programme was not really to his liking at first. But in 1922 he opposed its withdrawal. He joined Motilal Nehru and C.R. Das to found the Swaraj Party. In 1923 and 1926, he entered the Central Legislative Assembly as a swarajist. At the Assembly, he initiated a resolution on the Simon Commission’s boycott. He died on November 27,1928 after receiving heavy injuries while leading a demonstration against the Simon Commission in Lahore.
Lala Lajpat Rai was the founder-editor of The Bande Mataram, The Punjabee and The People. During his political career, he was imprisoned many times including two occasions in 1921 and 1922 when he was involved with the Non- Cooperation Movement.