India marks freedom fighter and journalist Lala Lajpat Rai’s 157th birth anniversary on January 28. Born in Ludhiana in Punjab in 1865, he is known as “Punjab Kesari” or “the Lion of Punjab”.
Lala Lajpat Rai played a crucial role in India’s struggle for freedom from British rule. Along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal, he formed the “Lal, Bal, Pal” trio of India’s freedom movement.
The three freedom fighters were strong advocates of the Swadeshi or home-rule movement. They also mobilised Indians against the first Partition of Bengal in 1905.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other political leaders tweeted tributes to Rai. “The story of his courage, struggle and dedication in the freedom movement will always be remembered,” Modi said.
पंजाब केसरी लाला लाजपत राय को उनकी जयंती पर सादर नमन। स्वतंत्रता आंदोलन में उनके साहस, संघर्ष और समर्पण की कहानी देशवासियों के लिए सदैव स्मरणीय रहेगी। pic.twitter.com/T3bm5dZMJ9
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 28, 2022
"Lala Lajpat Rai played a played a pivotal role in the Simon go-back agitation and Swadeshi movement," Naidu added. "His patriotism continues to inspire every Indian."
Remembering the great freedom fighter #PunjabKesari Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary. A passionate nationalist & fearless journalist, #LalaLajpatRai played a pivotal role in the Simon go-back agitation & Swadeshi movement. His patriotism continues to inspire every Indian. pic.twitter.com/dTutEtjBgh
— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) January 28, 2022
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted: “Humble tributes to prominent freedom fighter Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai ji on his birth anniversary. He played a pivotal role during the independence movement. His courage and sacrifices shall inspire generations to come."
Humble tributes to prominent freedom fighter Punjab Kesari #LalaLajpatRai ji on his birth anniversary. He played a pivotal role during the independence movement. His courage and sacrifices shall inspire generations to come.
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) January 28, 2022
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb said Rai’s sacrifice shook the foundation of the British rule in India.
Rai is also remembered for leading the protest against the Simon Commission in Lahore in October 1928. The commission, set up to report on India’s political situation, did not have Indian representation.
Rai coined the slogan “Simon Go Back”. He and other protestors were attacked by the police during the demonstration.
The freedom fighter addressed protestors despite being injured. "I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India,” he had said.
Rai died in November, 1928.