The Ghadar Party was an organization founded by Punjabi Indians in the United States and Canada with the aim of securing India’s independence from British rule.
The founding president of Ghadar Party was Sohan Singh Bhakna and Lala Hardayal was the co-founder of this party.
The Ghadar Party, initially the Pacific Coast Hindustan Association, was formed in 1913 in the United States under the leadership of Har Dayal, Sant Baba Wasakha Singh Dadehar, Baba Jawala Singh, Santokh Singh, and Sohan Singh Bhakna as its president.
The members of the party were Indian immigrants, largely from Punjab. Many of its members were students at the University of California at Berkeley including Dayal, Tarak Nath Das, Maulavi Barkatullah, Harnam Singh Tundilat, Kartar Singh Sarabha, and V.G. Pingle.
The Ghadar became very popular particularly among the Indians living abroad.
Barkatulla was a native of Bhopal and a strong advocate of the Ghadar Party. Another advocate was Ram Chandra.
With the outbreak of the First World War, the Indian revolutionary leaders like Lala Hardayal sought the help of Germany Emperor William II.
An organization known as the Indian Independence Committee was set up at Berlin which established contact with the revolutionaries in the U.S.A.
Ultimately an agreement was reached and the Indian Independence Committee and Ghadar party agreed to work jointly.
But on April 4th, 1914, the Komagata Maru case created an explosive situation in Punjab.
Baba Gurdit Singh charted a Japanese ship from Hongkong.
At intermediate ports consignment of Ghadar newspaper was received on board.
On the 23rd of May, the Komagata Maru arrived at Vancouver with 351 Sikhs and 21 Punjabi Muhammadan on Board.
The Canadian authority refused permission to land the ship which returned to Calcutta on 27 September 1914.
The passenger of the ship believed that the British Government had inspired the Canadian authority.
The government of India ordered all the passengers to be carried by train to Punjab.
The Sikhs refused to enter the train and tried to march on Calcutta in a body.
They were forcibly turned back and a riot ensured with loss of life on both sides.
Many of the Sikhs were armed with American revolver.
Only 60 passengers in all, including the 17 Muhammadans on board, were got off in the riot many were arrested either then or subsequently; 29 including Gurdit Singh disappeared.
Thirty-one were interned in jail.
Three important factors which provided temporary respite to the terrorist activity.
Gandhiji’s Non-violence gave a temporary halt to the movement.
The provision of constitutional reform before 1919 created a suitable atmosphere for compromise and conciliation.
With the close of World War I, the Government released all the political prisoners arrested under the Defence of India Act.
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