Lala Lajpat Rai was popularly known as ‘Punjab Kesari’ or ‘Sher-e-Punjab’. He was an eminent lawyer, educator, social reformer, and a strong critique of British rule. He joined Congress in 1888. He gave fiery speeches against the British government. As a result, he was deported to Mandalay. Lala Lajpat Rai was a supporter of the workers’ movement and became the first President of the All India Trade Union Congress. He was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress. He also joined the Swaraj Party and left it later.
Contributions of Lala Lajpat Rai
- Lala Lajpat Rai started a monthly magazine Young India to inspire people to join the national movement for attaining Swaraj. He also founded Punjabi, Vande Mataram (an Urdu daily), and People (an English weekly).
- Lala Lajpat Rai contributed immensely to society as a social reformer. He was closely associated with the Arya Samaj movement. He played a significant role in expanding D. A. V. College at Lahore in 1886. He founded many orphanages, schools, and hospitals. He also founded ‘Servants of the Peoples Society’ for the welfare of people belonging to lower castes.
- Lala Lajpat Rai visited many countries to create and mobilize public opinion in favor of India’s struggle for independence. He joined the Ghadar Party in America in 1914.
- Through his writings in Young India, he inspired many Indian youths to participate in the Indian struggle for independence.
- Lala Lajpat Rai led a procession at Lahore against the Simon Commission in 1928. He received grave injuries during the lathi charge and died a month later.
- Because assertive nationalists demanded complete independence and followed radical methods to achieve the same, they were brutally suppressed by the government. In 1908, Tilak was sentenced to six years of rigorous imprisonment in Mandalay prison in Burma. Lala Lajpat Rai was deported to Burma without any trial.
Achievements of the Assertive Nationalists
- They exposed the hollowness of the belief of British sense of justice and fair play.
- They instilled among the Indians the spirit of active nationalism. They made people realize that the policy of non-violent resistance is essential to drive the British out of the country.
- They expressed their opinion and nationalistic ideas in vernacular languages and thus had a large mass base.
- By promoting the principles of swadeshi and boycott of foreign goods, they promoted the principles of self-reliance.
- They stressed that nothing less than complete independence was acceptable to the people of India.
- Many nationalist schools were set up during the period of assertive nationalism. The National Council of Education was set up in 1906 which later developed into Jadavpur University.
- Swadeshi and boycott movements spread all over India and drew people towards the nationalist movement.
- It was due to the efforts of the assertive nationalists that the partition of Bengal was cancelled in 1911.