Lala Lajpat Rai

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Dhudike, India
Birth Sign
Dhudike, India

Lala Lajpat Rai, popularly known as Punjab Kesari or the Lion of Punjab, was one of India’s finest leaders, actively participating in the Indian struggle for independence from British control. Blessed with outstanding organizing and oratory ability, he sowed the seeds of Indian independence in the minds of Indian youth. Educated in law, he was profoundly moved by the beliefs of Dayananda Saraswati’s Arya Samaj movement. He was a member of the infamous ‘Lal Bal Pal’ trio, which was a thorn in the side of the British administration. He also traveled to the United States to promote the cause of Indian independence. He established the Servants of the People Society, a charitable organization. A prominent member of the Indian National Congress, he was violently assaulted by police while opposing the entrance of the British-appointed Simon Commission to report on India’s political condition, which finally resulted in his death.

Childhood & Adolescence

On January 28, 1865, in the Dhudike village of Punjab, he was born Lajpat Rai to Munshi Radha Krishna Azad and Gulab Devi. He belonged to the Aggarwal Bania community. His father was a Persian and Urdu language expert.
Rai had his primary education at Rewari’s Government Higher Secondary School when his father was assigned as an Urdu teacher.

After completing his elementary schooling, he entered 1880 the Government College in Lahore to pursue a degree in law. He met Indian patriots and future liberation fighters such as Lala Hans Raj and Pandit Guru Dutt during his college years.

Lala Rai’s Career

He completed his legal studies in 1885 and established a legal business in Hissar. Unlike other lawyers in his fraternity, he, however, desired to devote his life to social service rather than legal practice.
He became an ardent devotee of Dayananda Sarasvati, the founder of the hardline Hindu organization Arya Samaj, during this time period. He co-founded the nationalistic Dayananda Anglo-Vedic School with the latter.

Following Swami Dayanand’s demise, he and his companions worked tirelessly to establish Anglo-Vedic colleges and educational establishments. Due to his neutral and unbiased attitude, he was initially chosen as a member of the Hissar municipality, later becoming its secretary.

He entered politics in 1888 and made a significant contribution to the country’s war for independence as a freedom fighter. He was one of the eighty delegates at the Congress session in Allahabad whose brave speech generated waves in the Congress circles and boosted his fame by leaps and bounds.

To better assist the country’s cause, he chose to relocate from the little town of Hissar. As a result of qualifying as an advocate, he relocated to Lahore and began practicing law at the Punjab High Court. He was always juggling legal obligations and social service.

He campaigned actively against Bengal’s division and founded the Swadeshi movement. His name became synonymous with the advent of the Indian National Congress’s new leadership when he became a member of the infamous Lal-Bal-Pal trio. He remained undisturbed by the government’s repressive measures and worked tirelessly to instill national pride and self-respect in the populace.

His active role in igniting a revolution sparked riots in Lahore and Rawalpindi in 1907, resulting in his six-month detention in Mandalay jail till November 1907.
After a couple of years away from Congress, he re-entered the Indian National Congress in 1912. He later served as a delegate to the Congress in England two years later.

However, the advent of the First World War in 1914 derailed his plan to stay in England for six months, forcing him to relocate to America in self-imposed exile. It was in America that he made a strong case for India’s and Indians’ plight through his revolutionary speeches and novels.

In America, he founded the Indian Home Rule League and founded the periodical ‘Young India,’ which discussed the importance of Indian culture and the necessity of Indian independence. It was through the paper that he sparked a worldwide movement.

Returning to India in 1920, he was elected President of the National Congress at the September Special Session. His meteoric rise to fame elevated him to national hero status, as people blindly accepted and followed him.
He started the ‘Servants of the People Society’, a non-profit charity organization, in Lahore the following year. He was imprisoned from 1921 to 1923 due to his growing popularity and potential threat to the British Raj.

After being released from prison, he turned his attention to the sectarian conflict that had developed into a growing menace to India. Though he was a devout Hindu who was greatly influenced by Arya Samaj, he saw the importance of Hindu-Muslim harmony and worked diligently to achieve it.

He presided over the Hindu Mahasabha in Calcutta in 1925, where his inspirational address inspired a large number of Hindus to join the national cause for independence.
1928 proved to be a watershed year in the life of this freedom warrior, who spoke out passionately against the British’s Simon Commission, which was tasked with examining necessary constitutional reforms in India but lacked an Indian member on its panel.

Infuriated, he organized a nonviolent protest against the Commission, submitting a legislative assembly resolution calling for the Commission to be entirely boycotted and for its members to return to their native country. British retaliation in the shape of a lathi charge seriously damaged him, and he never fully recovered.

Personal History and Legacies

He died of a heart attack on November 17, 1928. In India, his death is commemorated on Martyrs Day.
Lala Lajpat Rai’s legacy continues to grow in the country in the shape of numerous schools, universities, and educational institutes bearing his name.

His statues line several roads, squares, and lanes throughout India’s towns and metropolises. Additionally, markets and neighborhoods bear his name in recognition of his unflinching dedication to the independence movement.

Throughout his life, he made significant contributions to trade and media. While he is credited with founding the Punjab National Bank and the Lakshmi Insurance Company, his newspapers, journals, and weeklies were instrumental in mobilizing Indian youth for the freedom war.

His influence as a social worker and Arya Samaj member has been incalculable. He acted as a father figure for orphans, assisted in the establishment of various orphanages that continue to operate today, and worked diligently to improve the working conditions of the working class.

Estimated Net worth

Lala is one of the wealthiest civil rights leaders and is included on the list of the most popular civil rights leaders. Lala Lajpat Rai’s net worth is estimated to be $15 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


This prominent Indian politician and liberation warrior was dubbed Punjab Kesari, or Punjab Lion.