Freedom Movement | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Freedom Movement Detail

The Ghadr Movement

By : The Ghadr Movement

June 27, 2021

The Ghadr Movement

There were several factors both external and internal, responsible for the origin of the Ghadr Party. The first was the discrimination against Indians in Canada and the United States. These emigrants did not find Conditions in the Countries of their migration as attractive in actual practice as they has been led to expect.

The second was the clash of interest between American and Indian labour.

Since the vast majority of the immigrants were Sikhs, who foregathered every Sunday for Congregational prayers. The organisations were set up to build Gurdwaras. Since the only places where the Indians could meet were the Gurdwaras and as politics began to dominate the scene in both the countries, the Silk temples became storm centres of political activity. Lala Hardayal, Bhai Parmanand, Baba Sohan Singh Bhaka, Bhai Kesar Singh and Pandit Kanshi Ram played an important role in organising and uniting the Indians living in America. In April1913, a meeting was held at Astoria (Oregon), where an association of Hindustani workers of the Pacific Coast- forerunner of the Ghadr Party was formed. On this occasion, it was decided that the objects of the association would be to end British rule in India through armed revolution establish and maintain a system of self-government in India based on the principals of liberty, equality and fraternity, and to work for a social order securing the greatest good of the greatest number. The headquarters of the party Yugantar Ashram, were to be located at San Francisco and it was to have its own Press and a weekly paper, the Ghadr, which was to be published in Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi and other Indian languages. The publication of the Ghadr weekly started in November 1913 and the party itself came to be known by that name.

The Journal which was published in several language was circulated in almost every country of the world where Indians has settled as immigrants. The party established its branches in Hong Kong, Manila, Bangkok, Shanghai and Panama. It designed a tricolour national flag which was unfurled 1914, at Stockton (California) on 15 February 1914, when the Ghadrites pledged themselves to fight and die in the revolution under the National Standard.

Pledged to freedom of the Country, the Ghadrites appealed to all patriotic Indians to take full advantage of British preoccupations in World War I to rise against them and literally throw them out. They were promised support in money and arms through Indian revolutionaries in Germany who had organised an Indian Berlin Committee.

Despite British Government’s vigilance, however, about 1,000 of the Ghadrites managed to reach the Punjab between October and December 1914; eventually, they numbered 3,125. Prominent among them were Rash Behari Bose, Vishnu Ganesh Pingale and Sachin Sanyal arrived in the Punjab to reorganize a final revolt on 21 February 1915. They collected arms, manufactured bombs, attacked arsenals. In pursuance of their plans a number of dacoities and robberies occurred in 1914 as well as early in 1915.

The Ghadr Party was determined to wage war against the British in India and with that object in view decided to send arms and men to India to start a revolt with the help of soldiers and local revolutionaries. Several thousand men volunteered to go back to India. Millions of dollars were collected for that purpose. The Ghadrites contacted Indian soldiers in the Far. East, South East Asia and all over India and persuaded many regiments to revolt. As stated earlier 21 February 1915 was fixed for an all-India revolt and Vigorous preparations were made for that purpose. Rash Behari Bose, Sachindra Sanyal, Ganesh Pingale and Kartar Singh Srabha prepared a master plan for that purpose. Some revolutionaries were killed, and several others were arrested. They were also hanged. The all-India revolt failed because on Kirpal Singh passed on all the secret plans to the Government. Many places were raided, and bombs were recovered. Secret papers were also captured by the Government. Most of the ring leaders of the Punjab fell into the hands of the police. The Ghadrites were tried in a batches in the Lahore Conspiracy Case and the supplementary cases. Out of 291 sent up for trial, 42 were sentenced to death and hanged and 114 were transported for life. 93 were imprisoned for varying terms and 42 were acquitted.