The two years spent in Lahore were important in Lalaji’s life. As he read the history of the past glory of India and the biographies of her great sons, the boy shed tears. The love of freedom and the keen desire to serve the country took root in him at that time. During those days the Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswati was dynamic in social service. It was a time when enthusiastic Punjabi youths were attracted by the progressive ideals and reformist plans of the Arya Samaj. Lalaji was then hardly sixteen.
Lala Lajpat Rai was a prominent nationalist leader who played an important role in India’s struggle for freedom. He was a prominent member of the famous ‘Lal Bal Pal’ firebrand trio during the independence movement. His fierce brand of patriotism and potent vocalism against the British rule earned him the title of ‘Punjab Kesari’ or the Lion of the Punjab.
When he joined the Arya Samaj in 1882 his life of social service began. Patriotism was kindled. The idea took root in his mind that the chains of Indian slavery should be broken. Lalaji believed that it was important for the national cause to organize propaganda in foreign countries to explain India’s position because the freedom struggle had taken a militant turn. He left for Britain in April 1914 for this purpose. At this time First World War broke out and he was unable to return to India. He went to the USA to galvanize support for India. He founded the Indian Home League Society of America and wrote a book called “Young India”. The book severely indicted British rule in India and was banned in Britain and India even before it was published. He was able to return to India in 1920
after the end of World War.
In 1928, British Government decided to send Simon Commission to India to discuss constitutional reforms. The Commission had no Indian member. This greatly angered Indians. In 1929, when the Commission came to India there were protests all over India. Lala Lajpat Rai himself led one such procession against Simon Commission. While the procession was peaceful, British Government brutally lathi-charged the procession. Lala Lajpat Rai received severe head injuries and died on November 17, 1928.