Mahashay Rajpal sacrificed his life but did not bend before anyone. He worked towards spreading the knowledge of Arya Samaj and published books, which were written by top intellectuals and Arya Samajis.
AN EXTROVERTt personality of cheerful disposition, ready to shoulder additional responsibility willingly and ungrudgingly and ever keen to change the frontiers of knowledge – that was in a nutshell the personality of a man of sterling character named Rajpal. He was so dedicated to his job that he undertook whatever was asked of him.
One such employer was Hakim Fateh Chand, who succeeded in persuading our dedicated young man to forsake his name and surname lock, stock and barrel and adopt the name of his deceased son, Rajpal. The ever-obliging young man did not demur even for a moment and that gladdened the hearts of all concerned. Our Rajpal was born thus and he was destined to win laurels wherever he went, East or West; within the British Empire or outside too. ARYA SAMAJ MOMENTUM “Back to the Vedas”, that was the call of the Arya Samaj founded by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in 1885 in Mumbai. It was a kind of Reformation in Asia similar to what Martin Luther King had done in Europe. The distraught youth felt drawn to it suo moto. Once an enrolled Arya Samajist, one did not look back. On joining the Arya Samaj, the Khattri Aryas were more knowledgeable in remembering by heart, reciting, meditating and interpreting the Ved mantras better than any old fashioned Brahmin. Indeed there was noticeable excitement among the neo-bearers of the Om flag. Rajpal was not to be left far behind in reaping the new harvest of Spring of Vedic Renaissance and the wintry dark days were over once for all. Rajpal shuttled between Amritsar, where he was born in 1885 and Lahore where he found his Karmabhoomi or the arena of activity. Lahore was the centre of major spiritual, intellectual and political activities of North India. Arya Samaj was no exception to it. Rajpal, an ardent Arya Samajist, attended all major and minor functions of Arya Samaj Vachchowali and Arya Samaj Anarkali. He sought for and met stalwarts such as Lala Lajpat Rai, Mahatma Hansraj, Mahatma Munshi Ram ( later Swami Shraddhanand), Mahashay Krishna who gave him employment too and many more of their ilk. In one of the annual sessions of Vachchowali Mahatma Munshiram had delivered a stirring speech awakening his countrymen to work for an existence of honour forsaking slavery. The British police hovered all over the place and people feared that the Mahatma’s arrest was imminent. The foreign power did not gather courage to incarcerate spiritual leaders for telling the Truth. Rajpal, a courageous young man, made exhaustive notes and reported the speech verbatim. Based on his report, Mahashay Krishn wrote the leading article of the day. Rajpal had passed his Agni Pariksha, baptism by fire, as a reporter and many bouquets were presented to him. GRIHASTH ASHRAM A young girl of sterling qualities belonging to a respectable Arya family was chosen as the bride of Rajpal. They had to wait till she attained the legal age of marriage. Although economically from a higher stratum, the bride’s parents still chose Rajpal because of his qualities of head and heart. Their progeny was worth mentioning in despatches and the family life moved along the Vedic path unhindered by mundane allurements. It was their Vedic Sanskar that saw them through the difficult phases of life even after Rajpal had become a Martyr for a cause. The demands of the Grihasth Ashram motivated Rajpal to move on in life. He gave up service of other people or firms and chose to become a publisher. It was an important phase of his life and he had the full support and cooperation of Saraswati Devi, his wife, relatives and friends. As a publisher making his debut in the realm dominated by cut-throat competition, he chose the life of honesty and integrity. The Satyarth Prakash of Swami Dayanand Saraswati was published in Urdu, the language of Punjab, and sold to common man at cost price. Likewise other books enunciating the Vedic Dharm, for example, the Sanskar Vidhi, the Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika and so on were made available to those who were keen on delving deep into the Vedic Dharm. Rajpal wrote tracts on religion, published them and ensured their distribution among eager readers. His Arya Pustakalaya and Saraswati Ashram had become a meeting point of scholars and intellectuals from all over Punjab who visited Lahore, the provincial capital for one thing or the other. By and by, Rajpal earned a name for himself as a publisher and for his institutions as the Centre for preachers. LITERARY TIT FOR TAT The first few decades of the 20th century were known for religious discussions among followers of faiths so divergent that their focal point, God Almighty differed in appearance, shape, size, existence or just non-existence. Unfortunately, the Shastrarth degenerated into a flinging match of words, both fair and foul. Violence and rioting was just a step away and the Police around. Lahore was the centre indeed for such controversial meets that were intellectual at the beginning but soon degenerated into physical bouts. What was more disgraceful indeed was the slanging ping-pong through pamphlets and booklets. Some Muslim miscreants wrote two pamphlets that were obnoxious to the Hindus. Pundit Chamupati came up with a befitting reply and his pamphlet was an attack on Mohammad, prophet of Islam. All was quiet on the western front until Gandhi incited the Muslims to protest and have the booklet proscribed. Eventually this episode landed up in the court of law and the case was decided by the Lahore High Court acquitting Rajpal with honour. A bigoted, illiterate man Ilmdeen, was egged on to murder Rajpal for blasphemy as he had cast aspersions on Prophet Mohammad. One afternoon when Rajpal was resting in his shop, Ilmdeen came from behind and thrust a big knife in his stomach. It was fatal. Ilmdeen was caught red handed and eventually hanged by the neck till death. Rajpal became a martyr for the cause of country, and above all for Freedom to Publish. It may be mentioned that an international organisation based in Geneva, International Publication federation decided in 1998 to honour Martyr Rajpal for making the supreme sacrifice to uphold the Right of Publishing. They came to Delhi to present the award to Vishwanath, son of martyr Rajpal. The ceremony was held in the presence of L K Advani, Deputy Prime Minister of India. It is indeed a matter of honour that Martyr Rajpal’s contribution to Freedom of Publishing was recognised at the international level. Arya Samaj and all independent publishers stand vindicated by the presentation of this international award.