Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

The spirit of ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’ in Indian History


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lal-Bal-Pal

Mains level : Swadeshi Movement and its pioneers

To commemorate the death centenary of Tilak, a Pune based NGO is set to revive the Independence-era spirit of the ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’, named after nationalists Lala Lajpat Rai, ‘Lokmanya’ Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2010:

Q. What was the immediate cause for the launch of the Swadeshi movement?

(a) The partition of Bengal done by Lord Curzon.

(b) A sentence of 18 months of rigorous imprisonment imposed on Lokmanya Tilak.

(c) The arrest and deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh; and passing of the Punjab ColonizationBill.

(d) Death sentence pronounced on the Chapekarbrothers.

About Lal-Bal-Pal

  • Lal Bal Pal was a triumvirate of assertive nationalists in British-ruled India in the early 20th century, from 1906 to 1918.
  • They advocated the Swadeshi movement involving the boycott of all imported items and the use of Indian-made goods in 1907 during the anti-Partition agitation in Bengal which began in 1905.
  • The final years of the nineteenth century saw a radical sensibility emerge among some Indian intellectuals.
  • This position burst onto the national all-India scene in 1905 with the Swadeshi movement – the term is usually rendered as “self-reliance” or “self-sufficiency”.

Their Legacy

  • Lal-Bal-Pal mobilized Indians across the country against the Bengal partition, and the demonstrations, strikes and boycotts of British goods that began in Bengal soon spread to other regions in a broader protest against the Raj.
  • The nationalist movement gradually faded with the arrest of its main leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak and retirement of Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh from active politics.
  • While Lala Lajpat Rai suffered from injuries, due to British police superintendent, James A. Scott, ordered the British Indian police to lathi charge and personally assaulted Rai; he died on 17 November 1928.


Lala Lajpat Rai

  • Born in undivided Punjab on 28 January 1865, Lala Lajpat Rai grew up in a family that allowed the freedom of faith.
  • Even before he focused his efforts towards a self-sufficient India, Rai believed in the principle.
  • In 1895, he started the Punjab National Bank—the first Indian bank to begin solely with Indian capital, and that continues to function till date.
  • Rai had travelled to America in 1907 and immediately caught up similarities between the ‘colour-caste’ practised there and the caste system prevalent in India.
  • In 1917, he even founded the Indian Home Rule League of America there.
  • His proactive, brave participation in the protest earned him the title of the Lion of Punjab or Punjab Kesari.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak (23 July 1856 – 1 August 1920) was an Indian nationalist, teacher, and an independence activist
  • In 1884, he founded the Deccan Education Society in Pune, and under the banner, opened the New English School for primary studies and Fergusson College for higher education.
  • His involvement in the educational institutions was to emphasise on the cultural revival of young Indian minds.
  • For the British, Tilak was the “Father of the Indian Unrest.”
  • When the Indian National Congress was divided among moderates and extremes—the stand that each member took against the British government—there was no doubt which side Tilak supported.
  • Literary works: Kesari and Maratha newspapers

Bipin Chandra Pal

  • The father of revolutionary thoughts, Bipin Chandra Pal, was born to a wealthy family in Sylhet, Bengal Presidency (now in Bangladesh).
  • Pal was a journalist by profession and often contributed to several newspapers.
  • He used his literary expertise to write against the use of British goods, advocating Indians to start using Swadeshi goods instead.
  • He was of a strong opinion that a mass reliance on Swadeshi goods would help people get rid of their poverty.

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