Leaders cutting across party lines on Sunday paid tribute to freedom fighter and architect of India's swadeshi movement, Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Rai was "a righteous and courageous leader who dedicated himself towards India’s freedom".
Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai left an indelible mark on India’s history. We remember him as a righteous and courageous leader who dedicated himself towards India’s freedom. Tributes to him on his birth anniversary.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 28, 2018
Popularly known by the twin monikers of "Sher-e-Punjab" and "Punjab Kesari", Rai was born on 28 January 1865 in undivided Punjab. He was part of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio, which led the independence movement in the early 20th Century.
Rai also worked as a social reformer and fought against the evils of untouchability. Along with Chittaranjan Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he was one of the earliest proponents of the Swadeshi in India.
Remembering ‘Punjab Kesari’ Lala Lajpat Rai ji’s tremendous contribution in India’s freedom movement. Lalaji was a man of exemplary courage and great values. He was also the chief achritect of India’s Swadeshi Movement. I bow to him on his birth anniversary today.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 28, 2018
The freedom fighter is also known for establishing the Punjab National Bank in present-day Lahore. The Congress leader who served as the party president in the Calcutta session of 1920, died on 17 November 1928 after succumbing to the injuries that he sustained during a lathicharge by the British authorities. He is reported to have said on his deathbed, "I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffins of British rule in India."
His death led to revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev vowing to take revenge against police officer James A Scott, who was responsible for ordering the lathicharge against Rai. A month later, on 17 December 1928, the trio along with Chandrashekhar Azad killed John Saunders, in a case of mistaken identity.
President Ram Nath Kovind and several other leaders including BJP chief Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also paid tribute to the freedom fighter on Twitter.
Tributes to the great freedom fighter Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) January 28, 2018
लाला लाजपत राय जी एक ऐसे विरलेे स्वतंत्रता सेनानी थे जिनके विचारों व तेजस्वी भाषणों से हिंदुस्तान की जनता में स्वाधीनता की ज्वाला प्रज्वालित हुई। लाला जी के विचार,उनका बलिदान व उनकी राष्ट्रभक्ति वंदनीय है। आज उनकी जयंती पर उन्हें कोटि-कोटि नमन। pic.twitter.com/hcNOGDDpbb
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) January 28, 2018
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) January 28, 2018
Former Union minister CP Joshi and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot also paid tribute to Rai while highlighting his association with the Indian National Congress.
We remember the sacrifice of Lala Lajpat Rai. He also served as the President of the Indian National Congress. pic.twitter.com/a2s6Pq6tWb
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 28, 2018
An author, a politician and a leader in #India's freedom struggle, he was popularly known as #PunjabKesari and #TheLionOfPunjab.
I pay my heartfelt tributes to the iconic freedom fighter, Sh. #LalaLajpatRai on his birth anniversary today. pic.twitter.com/AajbujWgxM
— Dr. C.P. Joshi (@drcpjoshi) January 28, 2018
My tributes n homage to Punjab Kesri, #LalaLajpatRai on his birth anniversary. He was a great leader n author of Independence movement, whose fearlessness will always be an inspiration. pic.twitter.com/ALOsamr9Pz
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) January 28, 2018
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that Rai's death inspired nationalism in India.
अपने प्राणों की आहुति देकर सम्पूर्ण भारत मे राष्ट्रीयता की भावना को जागृत कर स्वतंत्रता की अलख जगाने वाले "पंजाब केसरी लाला लाजपत राय जी" की जन्म जयंती पर उन्हें कोटि-कोटि नमन। pic.twitter.com/uogctZVGEi
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) January 28, 2018
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Rajashtan chief minister Vasundhara Raje also remembered the freedom fighter on Twitter. They said:
Remembering the great freedom fighter, Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary.
— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) January 28, 2018
Remembering the valiant ‘Sher-E-Punjab’ Lala Lajpat Rai ji on his birth anniversary. pic.twitter.com/aCbPASU1Oz
— Vasundhara Raje (@VasundharaBJP) January 28, 2018
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Updated Date: Jan 28, 2018 11:04:00 IST