This Day in History (1-Nov-1913) – Gadar Movement started at San Francisco

In the United States, Har Dyal who had come from England after relinquishing his scholarship and studies at Oxford University inspired many students studying at the University of California at Berkeley. A meeting of some patriotic and enlightened Indians was called on April 23, 1913, in Astoria, Oregon, where Hindustan Association of the Pacific Coast was formed with a major objective to liberate India, just as Americans had done more than a century ago.

The headquarters of Hindustan Association of the Pacific Coast was established in San Francisco. A building was purchased with funds raised from the community, primarily Punjabi farmers and farm and lumber mill workers and was named Yugantar Ashram. The association began publishing a magazine, Gadar (revolt), for free distribution. The first issue of the Gadar was in Urdu and was published on November 1, 1913. An edition of the journal was brought out next month in Gurmukhi and in May 1914 a Gujrati edition of the journal was published. The Gadar publication exposed the British imperialism and called upon the Indian people to unite and rise up against British rule and throw the British out of India. The publication Gadar, over a period of time, became well known among Indians and the Hindustan Association of the Pacific Coast itself became known as the Gadar party. Special issues of Gadar were also printed in Nepali, Bengali, Pashto, as well as in many other languages.

The gadarites thought World War I as a golden opportunity for freedom. They began forceful campaign to mobilize overseas Indians to go to India and launch revolution. The Indian Revolutionary Society in Berlin had arranged for substantial financial aid from Germany. Several ships were commissioned or chartered to carry arms and ammunitions and batches of Indian revolutionaries, about 6000, to India. However British overpowered the ships. They also could not get the support of the leaders of India’s Freedom movement, who had already committed full co-operation with the British Indian Government for World War. Several Gadarites in India & US were imprisoned, many for life, and some were hanged. Although the movement did not achieve its stated objective, but it awakened the India and left a major impact on India’s struggle for freedom.



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