Lala Lajpat Rai played an significant role in India's independence movement. He was a fierce patriot who died fighting for the country's independence. He led a silent march against the Simon Commission in 1928. The Commission, set up to report on India's constitutional progress had seven British members and not even a single Indian. A police lathi charge on the protesters was ordered by the Commission's head Sir John Simon and injuries due to those blows are said to have hastened his death. He died later that year on November 17. On his death anniversary, we bring you some of the most inspiring quotes from the staunch nationalist:
- The Government which attacks its own innocent subjects has no claim to be called a civilized government. Bear in mind, such a government does not survive long.
- I declare that the blows struck at me will be the last nails in the coffin of the British rule in India.
- If I had the power to influence Indian journals, I would have the following headlines printed in bold letters on the first page: Milk for the infants, Food for the adults and Education for all.
- Since the cruel killing of cows and other animal have commenced, I have anxiety for the future generation.
- I always believed that my silence on several topics will be an advantage in the long run.
Lala Lajpat Rai has left a legacy behind him. Apart from igniting the spark of 'Purna Swaraj' or total freedom in the minds of the countrymen, he became an exemplary freedom fighter for the likes of Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh, who used to follow him. His fiery journalistic writings kindled the spirit of patriotism in many young men and women who were inspired to join the freedom struggle.
He was a follower of Dayanand Saraswati and helped establish the nationalistic Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School. He was the founder of a bank which later evolved as the Punjab National Bank. He established a trust in his mother Gulabi Devi's name and also oversaw the opening of a tuberculosis hospital for women.
Lalal Lajpat Rai was popularly known as Punjab Kesari and was one third of the Lal Bal Pal trio. The trio was of three freedom fighters - Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal who advocated the Swadeshi movement involving the boycott of all imported items and the use of Indian-made goods in 1907 during the anti-Partition agitation in Bengal.