Arya Samaj Influence, Political Influence and Influence of Hinduism of Lalaji

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Arya Samaj Influence, Political Influence and Influence of Hinduism of Lalaji

Arya Samaj Influence

The two years spent in Lahore were revolutionary in Lalaji’s life. As he read the history of the past glory of India and the biographies of her great sons, he 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.
Arya Samaj Influence, Political Influence and Influence of Hinduism of Lalaji 1
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. 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.

The Arya Samaj movement, a vital force in the Punjab in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, had a tremendous appeal for Lajpat Rai (he had met Swami Dayanand at fourteen), who came under its influence from his student days. It was Lajpat Rai’s attachment to the Arya Samaj which led his father also to veer round to Hinduism. The Arya Samaj work brought Lajpat Rai into close touch with Lala Chura Mani and Pandit Lakhpat Rai at Hissar, and Lala Sain Dass, Mahatma Hans Raj and Pandit Gum Datt at Lahore.

Lajpat Rai’s association with the Ary a Samaj gave an orientation to his social and educational outlook. In collaboration with Mahatma Hans Raj, he founded the D.A.V. College, Lahore, and for many years was the President and Secretary of its Management Committee. He also established the National College, Lahore (of which Sardar Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev were two of the illustrious products), the Tilak School of Politics, and the Dwarka Dass Library at Lahore. Lajpat Rai was appointed Honorary Secretary of the Hissar Municipal Committee.

He was the General Secretary of the Arya Samaj Orphanage at Ferozpur, and a member of the Committee of the Meerut Vaish Orphanage. He presided over the fourth session of the Cow Protection league at Nagpur, and also over the All India College Students’ Conference in 1920. He was a Director of the Punjab National Bank and sponsored the Lakshmi Insurance Company. He had also founded the Servants of People’s Society, a training centre for social workers.

Political Influence

Lajpat Rai’s interest in politics was aroused by his father who in his early life was a great admirer of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan but whom he condemned later for his anti Congress tirade in an open letter which appeared in the Koh-i-Noor, an Urdu journal (1888). Lajpat Rai too had shared his father’s admiration for Sir Syed Ahmed Khan but from 1888 began to criticise in his writings the anti¬Congress activities of Sir Syed. Lajpat Rai’s father was well-versed in Urdu and Persian languages, had great respect for Islam, fasted and prayed like a Muslim, but did not embrace Islam largely due to his wife’s attachment to the Hindu and Sikh faiths.

Lajpat Rai’s political activity began from 1888 when he joined the Congress session at Allahabad. In the early part of his political career, his interest was confined to social and educational reforms, but his views on politics changed radically as a result of the hasty and ill-conceived measures trust on the country by the habit of driving his reforming plough onward a little too roughly. He criticised Curzon’s system of government as despotic, and also disliked the moderate policy of the Congress in the face of Government high-handedness.

Influence of Hinduism

Lala Lajpat Rai was influenced by Hinduism and Manusmriti and created a career of reforming Indian policy through politics and writing. While studying law at Lahore, he continued to practice Hinduism. He became a large believer in the idea that Hinduism, above nationality, was the pivotal point upon which an Indian lifestyle must be based. Hinduism, he believed, led to practices of peace to humanity, and the idea that when nationalist ideas were added to this peaceful belief system, a non-secular nation could be formed.

His involvement with Hindu Mahasabha leaders gathered criticism from the Bharat Sabha as the Mahasabhas were non-secular, which did not conform with the system laid out by the Indian National Congress. This focus on Hindu practices in the subcontinent would ultimately lead him to the continuation of peaceful movements to create successful demonstrations for Indian independence. He founded the National College, inside the Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore to impart quality education to the Indians, who did not want to join British institutions. Graduates of the National College included Bhagat Singh.