Ghadar Party

Ghadar Party

Infobox Historic Political Party
party name = Ghadar Party
party articletitle =
active = 1913 - 1919
ideology = Revolutionary Socialism
Indian Nationalism
position =
international =
preceded by = Pacific Coast Hindustan Association
succeeded by =
colours = Red, Saffron and Green
The Ghadar Party was an organization founded by Indians of the United States and Canada in June, 1913 with the aim to liberate India from British rule. It was also known as the Hindi Association of the Pacific Coast.

The first issue of the "Ghadr", their paper was published from University of California in Berkeley in November 1, 1913, In it Har Dayal wrote: "Today there begins in foreign lands, but in our country's tongue, a war against the British Raj... What is our name? Mutiny. What is our work? Mutiny. Where will mutiny break out? In India. The time will soon come when rifles and blood will take the place of pens and ink."


The economic scenario in India in the early 1900s was depressing and this led to large scale immigration of Punjabis to Australia, the United States and Canada. The Canadian government decided to curtail this influx with a series of legislations, 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 Commonwealth, and the community had expected, to honour its commitment, equal welcome and rights from the British and commonwealth governments as extended to British and white immigrants. These legislations 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.Harvnb|Strachan|2001|p=795]

The Ghadar Party, initially the "Pacific Coast Hindustan Association", was formed in 1913 in the United States under the leadership of Har Dayal, with Sohan Singh Bhakna as its president. The members of the party were Indian immigrants, largely from Punjab. Many of its members were from the University of California at Berkeley including Dayal, Tarak Nath Das, Maulavi Barkatullah, Kartar Singh Sarabha and V.G. Pingle. The party quickly gained support from Indian expatriates, especially in the United States, Canada and Asia.

The word "Ghadar"

"Ghadar" is an Urdu/Punjabi word which means "mutiny" or "rebellion" or "revolt". As Lala Hardayal, 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? Mutiny. What is our work? Mutiny. Where will mutiny break out? In India. The time will soon come when rifles and blood will take the place of pens and ink." The party consisted of mainly revolutionaries and socialists.

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 legislations, 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 organisation was centred 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.

Ghadar activists undertook what the British described as political terrorism, but what was revolution to most Indians.Fact|date=January 2008 Ghadar activists were responsible for bombs planted on government property, and targeted assassinations of Bas Bhagat Singh.

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.

Members of the Ghadar Party

*Kartar Singh Sarabha
*Lala Har Dayal
*Tarak Nath Das

ee also


External links

* [ Important Documents of the Ghadar Movement]
* [ Ghadar: The Indian Immigrant Outrage Against Canadian Injustices 1900 - 1918] by Sukhdeep Bhoi
* [ The Hindustan Ghadar Collection] .Bancroft Library,University of California, Berkeley

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