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Mohan Lal Verma

(1912 – 1979) – (Uttar Pradesh)

Mohan Lal Verma (Aged 67) was born on 12 October 1912 in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father, Prayag Datt Verma, was a prosperous landlord, and his mother was Raj Rani Verma. After a few years of his birth, the family migrated to Hardoi, but within a few years of moving there, Mohan Lal’s father died. Due to the local traditions of the time, women were not allowed to move out of their houses. Hence his mother could not manage their properties and businesses, and a number of them were lost. In spite of his family’s hardships, Mohan Lal continued to support his mother as a young child.

In his early childhood, Verma realized that India was ruled by the British and he wanted to see his country freed from colonialism. When he was in the 9th grade, he left home to join the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. His family was worried about him as they knew the consequences of getting captured by the British.

Mohan Lal Verma played a key role in mobilizing the people of Hardoi and neighboring towns to join the movement. He was appointed as the Head of Congress Seva Dal in 1932 for the Hardoi district. In 1930, Gandhi launched the Salt Satyagraha, and on 5 May 1930, he was arrested at Karadi near Dandi for violating the Salt Law. Section 144 was imposed in the country.

Mohan Lal Verma led the protest against Gandhi’s arrest in Hardoi and was taken into custody along with five of his colleagues. All five, except Mohan Lal Verma, apologized in writing to the British Government. As a result of his defiance, Mohan Lal Verma was sentenced to four months in jail. He was again sent to jail by the British in 1932 for six months and served another 15-month jail term in 1940 for his role in India’s Independence Movement. During this period, he was jailed in Hardoi and Badaun jails.

In 1942, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement, Mohan Lal promptly joined the movement and offered his arrest as a symbol of support. The British sent him to Bareilly jail for 15 months, including a period of house arrest for participating in the movement. He passed away on 9 January 1979.