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Dr. Mahesh Sharma Inaugurates an Exhibition on Lala Lajpat Rai at a Function to Commemorate his 150th Birth Anniversary



Dr. Mahesh Sharma Inaugurates an Exhibition on Lala Lajpat Rai at a Function to Commemorate his 150th Birth Anniversary
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent charge) and Civil Aviation inaugurated an Exhibition on Lala Lajpat Rai entitled “Lala Lajpat Rai – A Selfless Patriot” at a function to commemorate “150th Birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai” here today. Shri NK Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture and senior officers of the Ministry were present on the occasion. A puppet show performance based on the life and ideals of Lala Lajpat Rai was also presented on the occasion. 

Addressing on the occasion, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that Lala Lajpat Rai Ji was a great patriot and man of masses. He was a stalwart of freedom struggle who ranks among India’s most outstanding leaders. He was popularly known as ‘Punjab Kesari’. He was a prominent figure in protests against the Partition of Bengal and led the extremist wing of the Congress along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The three were affectionately called ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’. As a tribute to the recognition of his sacrifices the Government of India has decided to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary. Ministry of Culture observes birth centenary/125th/150th etc. anniversaries of great personalities of national importance and various activities are organized for a period of one year, he added.

Dr. Sharma said that Lala Lajpat Rai Ji was greatly influenced by the Arya Samaj and its founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati and he fought against many social evils, especially Untouchability in society. He was a prolific author and wrote many books. He also founded and edited newspapers and journals. Assaulted by the police while leading a demonstration against the Simon Commission in Lahore on 30th October 1928, he succumbed to severe injuries on 17th November 1928. The present generation should be indebted to great freedom fighters like Lala Ji.

Shri NK Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture in his address said that Lala Lajpat Rai Ji was a great freedom fighter who along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak formed a trio of Lal-Bal –Pal. He authored many books and edited many journals which inspired the youths and public at large to take part in freedom struggle.

Lala Lajpat Rai was born on 28th January 1865 at a small village of Dhudike in district Ferozepur, Punjab. He was a contemporary of great stalwarts including Mahatma Gandhi. He was a prominent figure in protests against the Partition of Bengal and led the extremist wing of the Congress along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The three were affectionately called ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’. He was a man of masses. In 1907, Lajpat Rai along with Ajit Singh (uncle of Shaheed Bhagat Singh) resisted the Punjab Colonisation Bill. Lalaji was deported without trial to Mandalay, Burma on 9 May 1907 and released after six months.

A passion for India and concern for social upliftment were the two motivating passions throughout Lalaji’s life. He established Punjab Shiksha Sangh(1911) and set up the Radha Kishan High School at Jagraon (1913). The reform of the Hindu society especially caste and gender relations was an abiding mission. He crusaded for an end to “untouchability”. He visited England in 1905, 1908-10 and delivered many public lectures. He also visited USA & Japan. He founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in October 1917. On being elected as President at historic Calcutta Congress (Special) Session in September, 1920, he said, “There is no life without freedom and there is no Freedom without ‘Swarajya’ or self –government. At the Nagpur Congress session in December 1920 he fully endorsed Gandhiji’s programme of Non-cooperation with the British.

Lalaji established at Lahore the ‘Tilak School of Politics in 1920 and the Quami Vidyapeeth in 1921. He founded the Servants of People Society to work for social reform in May 1921. He was arrested on 31st January 1922 and sentenced for two years rigorous imprisonment for participation in Non-cooperation movement. He joined Swaraj Party in 1926 and was elected its Deputy Leader in the Central Legislative Assembly. He later resigned from the Swaraj Party in August 1926. On 16 February 1928, he moved the resolution in the Central Legislative Assembly refusing co-operation with the Simon Commission as the latter had no Indian member. Assaulted by the police while leading a demonstration against the Commission in Lahore on 30th October 1928, he succumbed to severe injuries on 17th November 1928.

Lalaji was greatly influenced by the Arya Samaj and its founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati. He wrote his biography (1899) and also a book on the history of Arya Samaj (1915). In collaboration with Mahatma Hans Raj,, he founded the DAV School at Lahore, 1886. He founded Punjab National Bank along with Lala Harkishan Lal at Lahore (1894) and Lakshmi Insurance Company to give boost to export by Indian traders. He was also closely associated with the Hindu Mahasabha. He was a prolific author and wrote many books. He also founded and edited newspapers and journals. He launched three English weeklies, The Regenerator of Aryavarta (1883); The Panjabee(1904) and The people (1925); an Urdu weekly Deshopkarak(1883) and an Urdu daily Bande Mataram(1920). Lalaji dies as martyr. Paying tribute to him Gandhiji wrote in Young India under the caption ‘Long Live Lalaji’: ‘Men like Lalaji cannot die so long as the sun shines in the Indian sky.” 

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