The Ghadar Movement
It was in America that the Ghadar Movement have taken its birth on November 1, 1913, when Lala Hardayal had set up the Ghadar Party at San Francisco. Sohan Bhakhna was the first President of this party. Lala Hardayal himself was elected as its General Secretary and Kashiram as its treasurer. A paper by the name of Ghadar was also brought out. Ghadar used to be sent to many countries to spread the muscles of a revolution.
Komagatu Maru Incident
One Baba Gurdit Singh, a public-spirited Sikh, who had settled in Singapore chartered a Japanese ship Komagata Maru for Vancouver along with some Sikhs. It sailed from Hong Kong on Travel four, 1914. After it reached Vancouver, the Canadian authorities refused permission to the ship to land and the ship returned to Budge, Calcutta on 27 September 1914. The inmates of the ship and many Indians believed that the British government has inspired the Canadian authorities. The Government of India ordered all the passengers to be carried directly by train to Punjab. The inmates, however, refused to board the Punjab bound crime. In this battle, 22 persons died.
Impact of World War I
The other important development that made the Ghadar revolution popular was the outbreak of World War I. During this period Hardayal and other Indians abroad moved to Germany and set up the Indian Independence committee in Berlin.
Failure of the Revolt
Sohan Singh Bhakna, second from the right, was arrested and jailed for his role in the Ghadar Partys abortive revolt against British rule in India. The former St. Johns mill worker, a major organizer and leader of the party, is shown here in 1938 at Amritsar Railway Station.” (Photo: Kesar Singh, Courtesy of Amarjit Chandan Collection. Source: Portland Tribune
Finally, 21 February 1915 was fixed as the date for an armed revolt in Punjab. Unfortunately, the authorities came to know of these plans and took immediate action. The leaders and members of Ghadar party in Punjab were arrested on a mass scale and tried. 42 of them were hanged, 114 were transported for life and 93 were sentenced to long-term imprisonment.
Assessment of Ghadar Movement
Though the aim of the revolutionaries was to secure the freedom of the country from British rule, other methods did not produce any fruitful result. But if success and failure are to be measured in terms of deepening of nationalist consciousness, the evaluation of testing new strategies and methods of struggle, the creation of traditions of resistance, of secularism, of democracy, the Ghadarites certainly contributed their share to the struggle for India’s freedom.
The major weakness of the Ghadar leaders was that they completely underestimated the extent and amount of preparation at the entry-level organisational, ideological, strategic and finances that was necessary before an attempt at an armed revolt could be organised.