Among various leaders that sparked during the struggle for independence one name is often considered as the leader of an alternate method of extremism. This was a freedom fighter from the warrior lands of Punjab named Lala Lajpat Rai often called ‘Punjab Kesari’. Together with Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal, ‘Lal Bal Pal’ espoused a strategy differing from the constitutional and peaceful approach of majority of Congress’s leaders. Born in 1865, he was the pride of Ferozpur in Punjab. He graduated in law and even practiced it for few years.

A disciple of his guru, Dayanand Saraswati, Lajpat Rai joined the Arya Samaj. During the same time, he worked tirelessly in various social and popular campaigns like 1899 famine relief works etc. Soon, he would become a loud voice in Indian National Congress and went abroad in 1905 to spread the message of Congress across European lands. He would eventually be exiled in 1907 for his outbursts against the colonial power.

He then assumed a role of global ambassador for Indian freedom struggling touring countries like USA etc. to garner popular support and public opinion against the British occupation of Indian lands. It was in US that he started newspaper called ‘Young India’ and founded Home Rule League.

He also wrote actively supporting self government in India. He was also a proponent of workers’ rights and founded the Indian national trade union in 1930, becoming its first president. He worked relentlessly as a unionist till his final days.

He was the spiritual founder of baking institution that would later take the shape of the present ‘Punjab National Bank’. He also worked to provide treatment for tuberculosis patients especially women. For this he opened a hospital in the name of his mother Gulabi Devi.

He would return to India after his global tour and vehemently join in the Non
cooperation movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. He was locked up multiple times during the struggle. Eventually, he would meet his hands in one such protest. It was a black flag demonstration against the arrival of Simon commission on India as it had no India as a member. Lala Lajpat Rai would lead the procession and would eventually be hit on his head by the patrolling British guards. He would breathe his last in the same year.