Dr. Satya Pal was born at Wazirabad (West Pakistan)
in 1885 in a middle-class Khatri family. His
father, Lala Mani Ram, was employed under the
Government. After graduation from the Forman
Christian College, Satya Pal passed the M.B.B.S
examination from the Medical College, Lahore,
in 1908, standing first among the successful
candidates from the Punjab University. His wife,
Gian Dev, was a sister of Lala Ganda Ram Bhandari,
an advocate of Amritsar. Satya Pal had two daughters
but no son. He was simple and temperate in habits.
Owing to his strong patriotic leanings Satya
Pal took an active part in public life from
his early career. He was influenced by the political
ferment caused by the new awaking and the agrarian
unrest in the opening decade of the 20th century
in the Punjab. Enthusiastically he joined the
anti-Rowlatt Act agitation as one of the prominent
political leaders of Amritsar. He became the
spearhead of the nationalist movement against
British repression along with Dr. kitchlew and
symbolized Hindu-Muslim unity. He organized
a band of Hindu Muslim workers in Amritsar,
and actively participated in the Liberation
struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
In view of the key role played by him in the
patriotic upsurge at Amritsar immediately before
the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy (1919) he was arrested
and taken to Dharamshala. He came into close
contact with the notable political leaders of
the Punjab as well as outside. The period of
his greatest contribution to nationalism in
the Punjab was during the Gandhian epoch, 1919-47.
He continued to hold an exalted position in
the political life of the Punjab except for
the period of World War II (1939-45) when he
joined the armed forces as a doctor in the I.M.S.
As a powerful speaker and a great organizer,
he worked for Hindu Muslim unity with unprecedented
fervour and, with the help of enthusiastic co-workers
like Dr. Kitchlew, Mahashe Rattan Chand, Chaudhari
Bagga Mal and others, put Amritsar in the forefront
of the new political campaign. The historic
Congress Session held at Amritsar in 1919 and
attended by topmost political leaders of the
country owed much of its success to the untiring
efforts of Dr. Satys Pal. In his own words:
Almost to a man the people spared neither
money nor energy to make the Session a success.
In his political views he was a progressive
nationalist who believed in peaceful and constitutional
methods for the liberation of the motherland
since he had himself served the British in World
War II as a doctor. He declared: I was
never a rebel, but to revolt for righteousness
is out religion and duty. He raised his
voice against British repression and oppression
during the Marital Law regime at Amritsar.
Though his activities were confined to the
Punjab, he was not motivated by regionalism
and possessed an all-India outlook on the problems
of the country. Initially, he was in favour
of Dominion Status for India because it was
not expected to involve bitterness or bloodshed.
But subsequently he favoured complete independence
under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal
He contributed to the contemporary press on
political subjects. For some time he published
an Urdu newspaper, entitled the Congress, from
Lahore. He was popular among all sections, and
enjoyed considerable following in the Punjab.
He was the co-author of Sixty years of
Congress with Prabodh Chandra.
He believed in social reform, shunned religious
dogma and was tolerant towards other religions.
He was a great protagonist of Hindu-Muslim Unity.
He sympathized with the political sufferers
and the victims of the Marital Law. He rendered
them free medical aid. He arranged the marriage
of the daughter of Mahashe Rattan Chand, a hero
of the anti-Rowlatt Act agitation, while the
latter was deported to the Andamans in 1926.
Satya Pal suffered repeated imprisonments in
the struggle for freedom of the country.
He was recognized as a prominent Congress leader
in the Punjab, held positions of responsibility
in the organization and as the Speaker of the
Punjab Legislative Assembly, took an active
part in the political life of the State until
his death in 1954.