The book reflects the study of the nationalist movement in India by veteran freedom fighter and our foremost leader Lala Lajpat Rai. It covers India from 1757 to 1857 A.D. and then from the mutiny of 1857 to 1905 A.D. It was revised further by the author to the happenings up to the year 1915. It gives a detailed account of the socio-economic condition and the spread of awakening for freedom among the masses. It decimates the arguments of British colonialism of having a welfare state in India. It is an important tool for the study of Indian independence.
A must read book for the current generation by one of the tallest freedom fighters of India which will provide an insight into the history of Indian Struggle for independence.
Lala Lajpat Rai was born on January 28, 1865 at Dhudike village in Ferozpur District. He joined the Government College at Lahore in 1880 to study Law. Since childhood he had a desire to serve his country and therefore took a pledge to free it from foreign rule.
Lajpat Rai helped to establish the nationalistic Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School and became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati. In 1888 and 1889 he was a delegate to the annual sessions of the National Congress. He moved to Lahore to practice before the High Court in 1892.
In 1895 Rai helped found the Punjab National Bank, demonstrating his concern for self-help and enterprise. In October 1917, he founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York.
In 1920, after his return from America, Lajpat Rai was invited to preside over the special session of the Congress in Calcutta. He plunged into the nonTcooperation movement, which was being launched in response to the Rowlatt Act, in principle. The movement was led by Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab and he soon came to be known as 'Punjab Kesri' (The Lion of Punjab).
He died after the police lathi-charged on the activists, protesting the arrival of Simon Commission.
Mr. Lajpat Rai, the author of this book, is one of the most widely known, most honoured and most influential public men in India. For more than twenty years he has been a leading member of the bar in Lahore, the capital city of the large province of the Punjab, and has long been prominent in public affairs both local and national.
From almost the beginning of the National Indian Congress he has been an active leader in that body, which is the most important political organization in the country. The last time I was in India (two and a half years ago) I found that he was being widely talked of for the Presidency of the Congress at its approaching yearly meeting.
Conspicuous in Indian educational work and a founder of the large and flourishing Anglo-Vedic College in Lahore, he has for a dozen years or more held the position of either Vice-President or Honourary Secretary of the College, and also that of Lecturer in History.
He started The Punjabee, a leading paper in the province, published in English, and has edited a monthly magazine and a weekly paper printed in the vernacular, besides writing for other Indian periodicals and for reviews in London.
The Arya Samaj, an important, fast growing and influential movement of religious reform in India, which rejects idolatry and caste and is active in promoting education, social reforms and the elevation of woman, counts Mr. Rai among its honoured leaders.
He has organized relief work during periods of famine in India, and has for some years led in an extensive movement for the elevation of the 'Depressed Classes,' that is, the forty millions of 'outcasts' or 'untouchables' whose condition is so miserable. Several years ago I attended a National Conference to promote this work, at which he presided and delivered a powerful address.
Mr. Lajpat Rai has made three or four extended visits to England and three to America. In England he has spoken in many cities as a delegate from the National Indian Congress, for the purpose of acquainting the British public with the real condition of things in India, and to urge upon the British Government the granting to the Indian people of certain important political reforms. In America he has made a careful study of our history and institutions, our industrial and social movements, our political and religious life, and especially our schools and -universities, and our educational systems and methods. He is impressed with the leadership which the United States is attaining in the world of education, particularly education in scientific, industrial, technological and agricultural directions, and he finds much here which he desires to see introduced into his own country.
From the beginning of the New National Movement in India, Mr. Rai has been one of its most prominent leaders. He is an ardent patriot, is proud of his country, her civilization, her literature and her great place in the world's history, and he believes she is destined to have a great future, commensurate with her great past. But now she is a subject land, ruled by a foreign power, her own people having practically no voice in the direction of their own national affairs or the shaping of their future destiny. This deeply grieves and galls him, as it does a large part of the Indian people. The Nationalist Movement, of which he gives an account in this book, is a protest against present political conditions, and a demand for larger freedom and independence. Indeed, its aim is self-rule; not necessarily severance of connection with the British Empire, but partnership in the Empire-home rule inside the Empire like that enjoyed by Canada, Australia and South Africa.
The British Government of India frowns upon this Nationalist Movement, tries to suppress it, and places its leaders under ban. This is the way despotic governments always treat subject peoples as soon as they grow restive in their bonds and try to loosen them or throw them off. Mr. Lajpat Rai has had to pay heavily for his patriotism. In 1907 he was arrestal by the Government and, without trial or even being told what was his offence, was secretly sent away to prison in Burmah, and kept there six months. He was suspected of disloyalty and sedition, but not the slightest evidence was found against him. His only crime was that he was a Nationalist, and was working in perfectly open and legal ways to secure greater liberty foi4 his country. After his release from prison, he brought legal suits against two newspapers, one in India and one in London, that had published charges of sedition against him; and, notwithstanding the fact that the powerful influence of the Government was on the side of the papers, he won both suits-so clear was his case.
For a full dozen years India has been seething with unrest, seething with dissatisfaction over present political conditions. During the past ten years there has been not a little bomb throwing and not a few signs of revolution. When the present European war broke out there were at once increased outward expressions of loyalty; but the unrest has remained. When the war is over what will happen? That will depend, Mr. Lajpat Rai believes, upon the course pursued by the British Government. If the Government in a generous spirit meets India's just. demands, there will be no revolution. If the Government blindly and obstinately refuses, the worst may happen.
While Mr. Rai is an ardent and uncompromising advocate of the Nationalist Cause, he has always counselled procedure by evolutionary and not by revolutionary measures, by vigorous and, determined agitation and not by bomb throwing. Thrbughout his entire career he has striven by every means, through speech and the press, in India and in England, to move the British Government to prevent revolution, in what he believes is the only possible way, namely, by inaugurating and carrying out honestly a policy of justice to the Indian people.
During my travels in the world, the one point that has struck me most forcibly and most painfully, is the lack of true knowledge about the affairs of India among the 'civilised' nations of the globe. Even the best educated among them know very little about India and what little they know is not always right. The sources from which the ordinary stay-at-home Westerner derives his knowledge about India are the following: (a) missionaries who have been to India, (b) English writers of the class of Rudyard Kipling and Sir Valentine Chirol, (c) British officials, (d) serious students of Indian history or Indian literature like the late Professor Max Muller, the late Miss Noble, and the late Professor Goldstucker.
Now unfortunately for India most of these people, except those coming under the last heading, have generally an axe to grind and cannot be accepted as disinterested, well-informed, impartial authorities. Their reading of Indian history is often perverted and their observations of Indian life partial and distorted. They go to India with definite aims, look at persons and things from their own particular angle, and pose as authorities on matters far beyond the scope of their observations and studies. With rare exceptions most of the Westerners who go to India go with the presumption that the people of India belong to an inferior level of society; that they are heathens, worshippers of stocks and stones; that they are hopelessly divided into castes and classes; that these castes and classes are always at each other's throats; that they have never had a settled or civilised form of government; that the British have for the first time in their history given them a settled government; and that India would go to pieces if British government were to withdraw.
Writers about India may again be broadly subdivided into two classes: (a) those of British origin, (b) those of non-British origin. Those of British origin are in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred tainted with the imperial bias. They can only look at things from the imperial or British point of view. Even the best and the most fair-minded of them do not altogether succeed in freeing themselves from this bias. The bias acts even against their will. The second class of writers are affected by the racial and the colour bias. Moreover, nine out of ten amongst them are made to look at things from the British point of view. As soon as they land at an Indian port, they are taken in hand by the British residents, officials and non-officials, and practically the whole of their trip is arranged for them by the latter. They only see things which the ruling community want them to see and they only hear and know what these allow them to hear or know. The few who resolutely refuse to be thus 'programmed' do sometimes see things in their true light, as the late Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P., and Mr. H. W. Nevinson did.
In this connection I think the following remarks of the latest American writer on India, Professor Pratt of Williams College, Massachusetts, in his book on 'India and Its Faiths' are very pertinent. Professor Pratt begins by warning the reader against 'the point of view of the native' himself, as well as against' those European writers who seek to give an ultra 'sympathetic' picture of India." But his observations about the other two of the four sources of information mentioned by him are extremely interesting.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
for saving your wish list, viewing past orders, receiving discounts, and lots more...
Email a Friend