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|Preceded by||Pacific Coast Hindustan Association|
|Colours||Red, Saffron and Green|
The Ghadar Party was an organization founded by Punjabi Indians in the United States and Canada with the aim of securing India's independence from British rule. Key members included lala Har Dayal, Sohan Singh Bhakna, Kartar Singh Sarabha, and Rashbehari Bose.
After the outbreak of World War I, Ghadar party members returned to Punjab to agitate for rebellion alongside the Babbar Akali Movement. In 1915 they conducted revolutionary activities in central Punjab and organised uprisings. Their presence shook the hold of the British empire and police surveillance in Punjabi villages increased in an attempt to crush the rebellion. The party is known for setting the foundation for future Indian revolutionary movements and served as a stepping stone for independence. Though predominantly Sikh, the party included members and leaders of many religions, demonstrating an accepting and democratic attitude towards all people as they united in their patriotism. After the conclusion of the war, the party in America split into Communist and Anti-Communist factions. The party was formally dissolved in 1948.
Ghadar is an Urdu word derived from Arabic which means "revolt" or "rebellion." As Kartar Singh Sarabha, one of the founders of the party, wrote in the first issue: "Today there begins 'Ghadar' in foreign lands, but in our country's tongue, a war against the British Raj. What is our name? Ghadar. What is our work? Ghadar. Where will be the Revolution? In India. The time will soon come when rifles and blood will take the place of pens and ink." The name of the organization was primarily spelled "Gadar Party" or "Ghadr Party" by its members.
The economic downturn in India during the early twentieth[dubious ] century witnessed a high level of emigration. Some of these emigrants settled in North America. These included Punjabis as well as people from other parts of India. The Canadian government decided to curtail this influx with a series of laws, which were aimed at limiting the entry of South Asians into the country and restricting the political rights of those already in the country. The Punjabi community had hitherto been an important loyal force for the British Empire and the community had expected, equal welcome and rights from the British and Commonwealth governments as extended to British and white immigrants. These laws fed growing discontent, protests and anti-colonial sentiments within the community. Faced with increasingly difficult situations, the community began organising itself into political groups. A large number of Punjabis also moved to the United States, but they encountered similar political and social problems.
RasBihari Bose on request from Vishnu Ganesh Pingle, an American trained Ghadr, who met Bose at Benares and requested him to take up the leadership of the coming revolution. But before accepting the responsibility, he sent Sachin Sanyal to the Punjab to assess the situation. Sachin returned very optimistic., in the United States and Canada with the aim to liberate India from British rule. The movement began with a group of immigrants known as the Hindustani Workers of the Pacific Coast.
The Ghadar Party, initially the Pacific Coast Hindustan Association, was formed in 1913 in the United States under the leadership of Har Dayal, Sant Baba Wasakha Singh Dadehar, Baba Jawala Singh, Santokh Singh and Sohan Singh Bhakna as its president. The members of the party were Indian immigrants, largely from Punjab. Many of its members were students at University of California at Berkeley including Dayal, Tarak Nath Das, Maulavi Barkatullah, Harnam Singh Tundilat, Kartar Singh Sarabha and V.G. Pingle. The party quickly gained support from Indian expatriates, especially in the United States, Canada, East Africa and Asia.
The Ghadar Newspaper
The party was built around the weekly paper The Ghadar, which carried the caption on the masthead: Angrezi Raj Ka Dushman (an enemy of the British rule). "Wanted brave soldiers", the Ghadar declared, "to stir up rebellion in India. Pay-death; Price-martyrdom; Pension-liberty; Field of battle-India". The ideology of the party was strongly secular. In the words of Sohan Singh Bhakna, who later became a major peasant leader of the Punjab: "We were not Sikhs or Punjabis. Our religion was patriotism". The first issue of The Ghadar, was published from San Francisco on November 1, 1913.
Following the voyage of the Komagata Maru in 1914, a direct challenge to Canadian racist anti-Indian immigration laws, several thousand Indians resident in the USA sold their business and homes ready to drive the British from India. However, Hardayal had fled to Europe concerned that the US authorities would hand him over to the British. Sohan Singh Bhakna was already in British hands, and the leadership fell to Ram Chandra. Following the entry of Canada into World War I, the organization was centered in the USA and received substantial funding from the German government. They had a very militant tone, as illustrated by this quote from Harnam Singh:
- No pundits or mullahs do we need
The party rose to prominence in the second decade of the 20th century, and grew in strength owing to Indian discontent over World War I and the lack of political reforms.
In 1917 some of their leaders were arrested and put on trial in the Hindu German Conspiracy Trial in which their paper was quoted.
The Ghadar party commanded a loyal following the province of Punjab, but many of its most prominent activists were forced into exile to Canada and the United States. It ceased to play an active role in Indian politics after 1919. The party had active members in other countries such as Mexico, Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaya, Indo-China and Eastern and Southern Africa.
- Sohan Singh Bhakna (President)
- Kesar Singh (Vice President)
- Lala Hardyal (General Secretary & Editor, Urdu Gadar)
- Kartar Singh Sarabha (Editor, Punjabi Gadar)
- Baba Jawala Singh (Vice President)
- Sant Baba Wasakha Singh Dadehar
- Balwant Singh (Ghadarite)
- Pt. Kanshi Ram (Treasurer)
- Harnam Singh Tundilat
- G. D. Verma
- Lala Thaker Das (Dhuri) (Vice Secretary)
- Munshi Ram (Organizing Secretary)
- Bhai Parmanand
- Nidhan Singh Chugha
- Santokh Singh (Ghadarite)
- Master Udham Singh
- Baba Harnam Singh (Kari Sari)
- Mangu Ram Mugowalia
- Karim Bakhsh
- Amar Chand
- Rehmat Ali (Ghadarite)
- V. G. Pingle
- Sant Baba Wasakha Singh
- Maulavi Barkatullah
- Harnam Singh Saini
- Tarak Nath Das
- Pandurang Sadashiv Khankhoje
- Ganda Singh Phangureh
- Bhai Randhir Singh
- Karim Bux
In popular media
A character in the World War II thriller The Tenth Unknown by author Jvalant Nalin Sampat is a member of the Ghadar Party and is involved in the Ghadar Mutiny.
- "Ghadr (Sikh political organization)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- Strachan 2001, p. 795
- "There were not many Scheduled Caste persons in the Ghadar movement, however; Mangoo Ram recalls only one other Chamar besides himself.".
- Strachan, Hew (2001), The First World War. Volume I: To Arms, Oxford University Press. USA, ISBN 0-19-926191-1.
- Ramnath, Maia (2011). Haj to Utopia: How the Ghadar Movement Charted Global Radicalism and Attempted to Overthrow the British Empire. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520950399.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ghadar Party.|
- A Gallery on Gadar Party
- Ghadar Party materials in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
- Ghadar: The Indian Immigrant Outrage Against Canadian Injustices 1900 - 1918 by Sukhdeep Bhoi
- The Hindustan Ghadar Collection. The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
- Communist Ghadar Party of India