Ram Manohar Lohia was born on 23 March 1910 at Akbarpur, currently part of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. His mother died in 1912, when he was just two years old, and he was later brought up by his father Hiralal who never remarried. In 1918 he accompanied his father to Bombay where he completed his high school education. He later joined the Vidyasagar College, under the University of Calcutta and in 1929, earned his B.A. degree. Lohia decided to attend Frederick William University (today's Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany), choosing it over the educational institutes in Britain, to convey his dim view of British philosophy. He soon learnt German and received financial assistance based on his outstanding academic performance, studying national economy as his major subject as a doctoral student from 1929 to 1933. Lohia wrote his Ph.D thesis paper on the topic of Salt Taxation in India, focusing on Gandhi's socio-economic theory.
Returning to India in 1932, when he was all of 22, Lohia plunged headlong in to the freedom movement in response to Gandhiji’s call for Satyagraha or Civil Disobedience. Imprisoned for his participation, Lohia met like minded nationalists, who felt that things were more or less status quo and no real change was happening. Imprisoned in the Nashik Road Jail, these young men and women wanted to take the movement to masses, in this case, the poor, the peasants, the working classes. And within Congress, they formed a youth wing calling it the Congress Socialist Party.