Biography of Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary

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Indian Freedom Fighter Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary Biography

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was the son of Ch. Radha Krishan Dutt. He was born in 1866 in Kanjrur (now in West Pakistan). After completing his graduation from the F.C. College Lahore, he did his Law degree and started practice in the High Court of Lahore (now in West Pakistan).

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was the founder member of Indian National Congress and had the privilege to attend all the session of Indian National Congress till his death. In 1905 he got married to Sarala Devi Choudharani, the niece of nationalist poet, Rabindranath Tagore.

She was the first woman political leader of her time and she was the leader of the anti-British Govt. Her father Janakinath Ghoshal was one of the earliest secretaries of Indian National Congress.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary and his wife Sarala Devi Choudharani became followers of Mahatma Gandhi in 1919 and sent their son Dipak to Gandhi`s Ashram for education. Gandhi admired them for their patriotism and the sprit of self-sacrifice.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary told the people of Gujrat that the message of Rambhuj Dutt which, according to him, was also the message of entire Punjab was fearlessness : “It asks you never to accept defeat, come what may, to love God and work on with patience and fortitude.”

His dedication to Swadeshi Movement was evident from his decision to exclude all foreign clothes during his son`s marriage. This further impressed Gandhiji.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary also led relief work at the time of Kangra earthquake. Pandit ji was close to revolutionaries like Sardar Ajit Singh (uncle of Bhagat Singh), Lala Lajpat Rai, Lala Harkishan Lal and Master Amir Chand.
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Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was a very respectable person in the Congress and Gandhiji had a special regard for him as he was highly impressed with his patriotism.

Pandit Ji had played an important role in the various subject committee of Congress at national level. He took active part in the freedom struggle.

After the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, he was arrested by British Govt. under Defence of India Rule and his property was confiscated. He took active part in Khilafat movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi.

Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was one of the few leaders of the Punjab who took keen interest in the activities of the Congress during the early period of its development. At its Lahore Session in 1900 he seconded the resolution moved by Surendranath Bannerji condemning the exclusion of Indians from higher Public Services.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary also supported Tilak`s resolution on famine, poverty and land revenue at its Banaras Session in 1905. At its twenty-third session in 1908, he moved a resolution demanding that posts of higher ranks in the army might be thrown open to Indians.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary represented Punjab on a committee appointed at the twenty-fifth session of the Congress at Allahabad in 1910 to prepare an Address to be presented to Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India. The resolution thanking the Government of India and the secretary of State for annulling the partition of Bengal passed at the twenty-sixth session in 1911 also received his support.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary condemned the policy of racial discrimination of the Government of Canada at the 28th session of the congress in 1913 at Karachi. He opposed the Rowlatt Act. He, therefore, took prominent part in the agitation against this legislation. He composed a song at this time which was “Kadi Nahin Harna, Bhaven Sadi Jan Jave.”

This song caught the imagination of the people of the province. He presided over the memorable meeting at Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore on April 6, called to protest against Rowlatt Act.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary fearless attacks on the Government added to his rising popularity and the British Government arrested him on April 14, 1919, along with Harkishan Lal and Duni Chand under Lahore Conspiracy case as a result of which he was sentenced to transportation for life and his property was confiscated.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was described as the “Chief Spokesman of the Conspiracy”. He was released by the Secretary of State, Montague, to create favourable atmosphere for introduction of his reforms scheme.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary did a lot of social work as well for the depressed classes of Punjab province. He is remembered by these people even today and since 1932 his birthday is celebrated as a mark of respect and recognition.

Shri Jagjivan Ram and many others national leaders graced the function of his birthday celebration in Gurdaspur District.
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Moreover the people of depressed classes of Gurdaspur district still regard him as their Guru. A memorial (Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Veda Shala) was also setup by late Shri B D Birla. The foundation stone of this memorial was laid down by Smt. Kasturba Gandhi, wife of Mahatma Gandhi, near Awankha (Gurdaspur).

Like Lajpat Rai and Swami Sharaddhanand, Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was a prominent member of the Arya Samaj. He was a forceful advocate of National Education and in pursuance of it he sent his eldest son, Jagdish to a gurukul for his education. He was also engaged in the programmes of the Arya Samaj that included the upliftment of the depressed classes.

Panditji also struggled hard to eliminate discrimination against the backward through education and propaganda. His work in Gurdaspur district in this connection received the approbation of the people.

Besides these he was well known journalist and launched two newspapers in Urdu & English, `The Hindustan.` He was the member of the Municipal Corporation, Lahore and took an active part in the civil affairs.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary was also a working committee member of Indian National congress and President of the Punjab congress committee during pre – independence of India.

Pandit Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary went to England in September 1908 to explain to the British Government the cause of unrest in the Punjab province and the Government had to implement his scheme to cool down the unrest in the province.

Gandhi Ji had brotherly relation with Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary and it was Sarala Devi and Gandhi Ji proposed to Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to get Indira married to Dipak Dutt, the son of Pandit Rambhuj Dutt and Sarla Devi.

The proposal, however, could not materialize. Their son, Dipak, later got married to the grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Radha.

Both Rambhuj Dutt Choudhary and his wife Sarla Devi were champions of Indian freedom movement.

Their selfless contribution to freedom struggle, upliftment of women, weaker section and patriotic literature which had inspired many to jump into the freedom struggle to free the India from British Raj have immortalised their names on the pages of Indian history.