This Day in History (10-Dec-1907) – Rudyard Kipling, author of `The Jungle Book’ and `Kim’, received the Nobel prize for literature

Considered one of the great English writers, Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born 1865, in Bombay (Mumbai). For Kipling, India was a wondrous place. Along with his younger sister, Alice, he reveled in exploring the local markets with his nanny. He learned the language, and in this bustling city of multiple religions, Kipling fell in love with the country and its culture. However, at the age of six, he was sent to Southsea, England, to receive formal British education. He was severly illtreated by the foster family. He found solace in books to overcome grief.

In 1882, Kipling’s parents had him return to India, as they could not afford his college education. The sights and sounds, even the language, which he’d believed he’d forgotten, rushed back to him upon his arrival. Kipling made his home with his parents in Lahore and, with his father’s help, found a job with a local newspaper. The job offered Kipling a good excuse to discover his surroundings. Kipling’s experiences during this time formed the backbone for a series of stories he began to write and publish. They were eventually assembled into a collection of 40 short stories called Plain Tales from the Hills, which gained wide popularity in England.

In 1889 he returned to England and visited America. He published a second collection of short stories, Wee Willie Winkie and American Notes, which chronicled his early impressions of America. His poems include Mandalay & Gaunga Din. He also published his first major poetry success, Barrack-Room Ballads. He subsequently settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA where he built a house and named it as “The Naulahka”. His work during this time included The Jungle BookThe Naulahka: A Story of the West and East andThe Second Jungle Book, among others. His tales enchanted boys and girls all over the English-speaking world. By the age of 32, Kipling was the highest-paid writer in the world.

End of 19th century, Kipling settled in UK due to family dispute. Kipling’s books during these years included Kim, Just So, Puck of Pook’s HillActions and ReactionsDebts and CreditsThy Servant a Dog and Limits and Renewals. He is the youngest writer to win Nobel prize for literature at the age of 42.


This Day in History (17-Nov-1928) – Lala Lajpat Rai died after suffering grievous injuries during a lathi-charge carried out by the police

While in college Lala Lajpat Rai joined the Arya Samaj founded by Swami Daya Nand Saraswati. Soon he became one of the three most prominent Hindu Nationalist members of the Indian National Congress, the Lal-Bal-Pal trio. They formed the extremist faction of the Indian National Congress, as opposed to the moderate one led first by Gopal Krishna Gokhale and then Gandhiji. Lalaji actively participated in the struggle against partition of Bengal. Along with Surendra Nath Banerjee, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurorbindo Ghosh, he galvanized Bengal and the nation in a vigorous campaign of Swadeshi. Lalaji was arrested on May 3, 1907 for creating “turmoil” in Rawalpindi. He was put in Mandalay jail for six months.

He left for Britain in April 1914 to organize propaganda in foreign countries about freedom struggle. At this time First World War broke out and he was unable to return to India. He went to USA to galvanize support for India. He founded the Indian Home League Society of America and wrote a book called “Young India”. He was able to return to India in 1920 after the end of World War. After his return, Lala Lajpat Rai, led the Punjab protests against the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre and the Non-Cooperation Movement. He was arrested several times. He disagreed with Gandhiji’s suspension of Non-Cooperation movement due to the Chauri-Chaura incident, and formed the Congress Independence Party, which had a pro-Hindu slant.

In 1928, British Government decided to send Simon Commission to India to discuss constitutional reforms. The Commission had no Indian member. This greatly angered Indians. In 1929, when the Commisssion came to India there were protests all over India. Lala Lajpat Rai himself led one such procession against Simon Commission on October 30, 1928 in Lahore. While the procession was peaceful, James Scott, superintendent of Police brutally lathicharged the procession. Lala Lajpat Rai received severe head injuries and died on November17, 1928. Subsequently to avenge Lalaji’s death, Bhagat Singh and others planned to kill James Scott, however ended up killing John P. Saunders, Assistant Superintendent of Police, in case of a mistaken identity.