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Lala Lajpat Rai

Topics Covered:

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Lala Lajpat Rai


What to study?

For Prelims: Key contributions of lal rai and related facts.

For Mains: Significance of his contributions.


Context: November 17 is the death anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai, the firebrand Indian nationalist leader affectionately called ‘Punjab Kesari’.


His contributions, achievements and related key facts:

  1. Rai is remembered for his role during the Swadeshi movement and for his advocacy of education.
  2. Born in 1965, he became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, and went on to become one of the society’s leaders. 
  3. In 1881, he joined the Indian National Congress at the age of 16.
  4. He also helped found the Punjab National Bank.
  5. In 1885, Rai established the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore and remained a committed educationist throughout his life.
  6. Rai, Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal (called Lal-Bal-Pal) fervently advocated the use of Swadeshi goods and mass agitation in the aftermath of the controversial Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon.
  7. He founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York City in 1917.
  8. He was elected President of the Indian National Congress during its Special Session in Kolkata in 1920, which saw the launch of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement.
  9. The patriot died at Lahore in 1928 after he was attacked by police during a protest rally against the Simon Commission.
  10. His important works include: ‘The Arya Samaj’, ‘Young India’, ‘England’s Debt to India’, ‘Evolution of Japan’, ‘India’s Will to Freedom’, ‘Message of the Bhagwad Gita’, ‘Political Future of India’, ‘Problem of National Education in India’, ‘The Depressed Glasses’, and the travelogue ‘United States of America’.


The significance of his views for the freedom struggle are as follows:

  1. His views helped recognize the importance of a united front against British.
  2. The British efforts to divide India on communal lines as seen in the Acts of 1909 and 1919 was made clear to Indian leadership.
  3. His thoughts of cultural diversity were given post independence by Nehru as ‘Unity in Diversity’.
  4. His idea of people of all religions as true citizens of India, combined with Gandhiji’s ideas of inclusive fight against British led to Non- Cooperative movement linked with the Khilafat movement.
  5. Rai’s understanding of the societal issues led him to form various social organizations like All India Trade Union Congress, Punjab National Bank which are still flourishing in India.


Sources: pib.