150th birth anniv: ‘Punjab Kesari’ Lala Lajpat Rai’s Jalandhar connect

  • Aakanksha N Bhardwaj, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Jan 28, 2016 11:46 IST
Students cleaning the statue of Lala Lajpat Rai at the Lala Lajpat Rai Institue of Nursing on the eve of his birthday in Jalandhar on Wednesday. (Pardeep Pandit/HT Photo)

While a state-level function will be held in Dhudike village in Moga to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of its son, the legendary freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai on Thursday, Jalandhar too has reasons to remember the martyr.

Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai has a Jalandhar connect. The Sher-e-Punjab established a Tuberculosis hospital in memory of his mother in Lahore in 1927 and named it Gulab Devi hospital. He formed a trust which had seven members. After partition, the trustees moved to Jalandhar and built the Gulab Devi hospital over 33 acres. The hospital was once the only hospital in the north which would be preferred by everyone. It would have as many as 271 beds at the time. According to an elder working in the hospital, “The Lala Lajpat Rai trustees when moved to India after partition had selected Jalandhar as an appropriate place to set up the hospital.” However unfortunately, the hospital has lost its glory over the years.

Founder of Dayanand Anglo Vedic (DAV) institute Lala Lajpat Rai who is also known as Punjab Kesari made a great contribution in the field of education. His famous quote: Milk for the infants; Food for the adults; Education for all.

Rai along with Mahatma Hansraj and Gurudutt Vidyarthi was the founder of Dayanand Anglo Vedic (DAV) institute in 1886 under which several educational institutes are run across the country. DAV College and Dayanand Model School (DMS) are the oldest educational institutes in Jalandhar.

Principal of DAV College BB Sharma said the great freedom fighter had played a crucial role in the DAV ‘andolan’. Assistant professor of history in DAV College, Rajkumar who is pursuing PhD on the life of Lala Lajpat Rai said, “The lion of Punjab was the man behind the start of the DAV institute in 1886 along with Mahatma Hansraj and Gurudutt Vidyarthi.”

He also said that ‘Servant of the People Society’, started by Rai, continues to be active and has 13 centers across the country.

Jalandhar visit

Rai came to Jalandhar on December 26, 1913 and laid a foundation stone of hostel of Saidass Anglo Sanskriti High School and named it ‘Brahmchari Ashram’.

Hundreds of students stayed in the ashram. Secretary of Lala Lajpat Rai trust Jalandhar Rajesh Pasricha said he would often visit Jalandhar to listen to Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati.

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