With the selfless guidance and statesmanship of the legal profession, the Indian national movement gained participation and its impact reached far beyond immediate political consequences. The movement that began in 1857 as a sepoy mutiny took the shape of a nationwide struggle for Independence from the British Raj. It incorporated various national and regional campaigns, agitations and efforts of both non-violent and militant philosophies. The lawyers named Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and C. Rajagopalachari had a significant role in the Indian Freedom Movement. They are said to be the Lal, Bal, Pal extremists of the freedom fight.
Lawyers like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who was an extremist, gave a new direction to the INC. Tilak began a new phase of more radical thought within the organization. He put forth new ideas and methods of opposing the imperialist rule and advocated stronger actions like the boycott of foreign goods and the policy of swadeshi (self reliance). He did not believe that the British rule was beneficial and instead felt that their rule was extremely harmful. He introduced the idea of Swaraj (complete independence) way back in 1897 with his famous statement,”Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it”.
After the partition of Bengal he emerged as an important leader of the extremist faction. In the 1906 session he was able to get his ideas of swaraj, swadeshi and boycott adopted despite the opposition of the moderates. After the split of the Indian National Congress in 1907, the British began cracking down on extremist leaders. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was imprisoned and deported to Mandalay for six years. During this time he wrote two books, Gita Rahasya and the Artic Home in the Vedas. He was released in 1914 and started the home rule league two years later in 1916, which inspired the youth to fight against the foreign occupation of the country. Sir Valentine Chirol rightly described him as one of the most dangerous pioneers of disaffection and truly the father of Indian unrest.
Other eminent lawyers who supported the extremist ideology were C. Rajagopalachari and Lala Lajpat Rai.Lala Lajpat Rai was popularly known as the Punjab Kesari and Sher-e-Punjab and was also the founder of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company. He formed the extremist faction of the congress along with Tilak and Bipin Chndra Pal, the trio was popularly called ‚─˙Lal, Bal, Pal‚─¨. Later, Lajpat Rai presided over the first session of the All India Trade Union Congress in 1920. He also went to Geneva to attend the eighth International Labour Conference in 1926 as a representative of Indian labour. His journals Bande Mataram and People, contained his inspiring speeches to end oppression by the foreign rulers. The contribution of the lawyers in India and jurists in this struggle for liberty, equality, justice and truth however remains unparalleled.
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