Chapter 16:WORLD WAR I AND GHADAR
Outbreak of the War
outbreak of the World War I aided the national movements.
Tilak and Annie Besant used this opportunity to launch
home rule movements to get self government. Ghadar
revolutionaries in North America used this to attempt
overthrowing the British rule by violence.
Immigration in Canada
coast of North America was destination for steady
immigration from Punjab. The peasants there would pawn all
their belonging and leave for this destination to escape
economic hardships at home.
were not welcomed overseas and were faced with brunt of
racial exploitation and humiliation at the hands of white
labor unions that resented the competition.
for popular vote supported them. The secretary of state
for India too wasn’t keen on immigration as close
familiarity of Indians with whites was not good for
discriminatory policies of the host countries soon created
a flurry of political activity in nationalists. The
sustained agitations in Canada and USA created national
consciousness and solidarity amongst Indian immigrants. Their
inability to convince the Indian government or the
British government to intervene and stop the
discriminatory practices against them led to blossoming
of revolutionary movements.
hardayal a political exile came to USA and delivered
lectures on anarchist movements to American intellectual,
workers and radicals. The bomb attack on Lord Harding
revived the revolutionary in him and he visualized the
violent overthrow of British rule.
the leader of Indian immigrants on west coast. He told
them not to fight the USA but use the freedom here to
fight the brtish. He reminded them that they were under
the British rule and so would never be treated as equals
by the Americans. The support of the army would have to be
enlisted in this movement and so lala hardayal preached
his members to do the same.
weekly periodical called Ghadar was started for the
of the organization went to the Punjabi migrant community
to spread awareness. Through the Ghadar periodical the
evils of the English rule on India were listed and sent to
the people. Ghadar poems had the highest impact and soon
their message reached Indian immigrant communities in Far
hardayal believed that 10 years or a few years would be
needed to start a revolution in India but he too was
surprised at the response.
events influenced Ghadar revolution: Arrest of
hardayal, komagata maru incident and World War I.
Komagata Maru incident
Canadian law prevented immigration of any ship except one
that had made continuous journey from India. But the
Supreme Court of Canada had allowed some Indians who
didn’t fulfill these criteria too.
maru was a ship that was commissioned to transport
Indian immigrants from Far East to Canada.
landed in many places but finally when it reached Canada
the authorities didn’t allow immigrants to land. They were
forced to return and on return journey the world war broke
out and the passengers couldn’t get off except at
the ship made port it set off a wave of resentment
against colonial rulers. The Punjab press also
supported. Finally the ship reached Calcutta and the
irate passengers clashed with the police and many were
dead or arrested.
World War and Ghadar
world war too was an opportunity to the ghadarites to
capitalize on the British rulers. The ghadarite leaders
urged immigrants in the western coast of USA to go back to
India and start an armed revolt with support of the army
some leaders were sent to Far East countries to convince
the Indians there to return. When they returned to India
the government was already prepared for them. It arrested
the dangerous men and allowed others to proceed.
ghadarites found the Punjab state very different. No one
supported them and the khalsa even branded them as fallen
Sikhs. Their naïve attempts to turn the army’s loyalty too
failed without effective leadership.
they turned to revolutionary leaders to guide them but the
government had successfully penetrated the Ghadar. And
before the revolt most of them were arrested. The
government’s response was brutal and an entire generation
of political leadership was finished off.
Success of the Ghadar revolt:
tested new strategies for struggle
tradition of resistance, secularism, democracy and
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