Gadar (Ghadar) Movement
Important Documents of the Ghadar Movement
The first manifesto or political platform of the Ghadar Party:
1. To liberate India with the force of arms from British servitude and to establish a free and independent India with equal rights for all.
2. To establish their headquarters in San Francisco, that would serve as a base to coordinate all the activities for achieving these aims and objectives.
3. To publish a weekly paper, Ghadar, in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and in other languages of India.
4. To hold organisational elections every year to elect a coordination committee from the different committees to carry out all the work.
5. To organize cells amongst Indian railway, industrial, and farm workers, as well as students who would be directly linked to the centre.
6. The coordination committee would elect a three-member commission to supervise the political and underground work.
7. Revenue would be drawn from each member through a monthly contribution of one dollar.
8. No discussion or debate was to take place on religion within the organization. Religion was considered a personal matter and that it had no place in the
9. Every member was duty bound to participate in the liberation struggle of that country in which they were resident.
Widely distributed poster entitled, Jang Da Hoka (Declaration of War)
Clarion Call for the Ghadar Army
The British have occupied our dear land. Our commerce and industry has been ruined. They have plundered and looted the wealth of Hindustan and brought famine and plague. More than 90 million Hindustanis do not even have one square meal a day. Thirty million have died due to famine and plague. They are sending all our produce and grains to England. It is due to these conditions of misery that Hindustanis have started going to far off lands such as Australia, Canada, America, and Africa and when they have begun to fill their stomachs, it has poked needles and pins in the heart of the British. Because it has opened the eyes of the Hindustanis and they are understanding all the schemes of the British, these British strangle us in India. And when we come abroad here they also make our lives miserable. They have closed Australia and Canada for us. Our mothers, sisters and children are treated like animals in Africa by the British.
Now the British are pressuring the American government to stop us from coming to the shores of America. The American government has said that if the British government is stopping the Hindus from coming to their own-ruled countries, Australia and Canada, why should we allow them to come here. This bill is in their parliament (Congress). If this bill is passed we will be ruined. Other countries will also make such laws. Now is the time to do something about this condition.
Brave Hindis! Awaken from your sleep. The British are getting you thrown out from everywhere. Let us unite and fight so such laws are not passed here. We should also think about, whether or not these laws pass, what should we do? What is our duty at this time? Our duty at this time is to prepare an army to fight against British rule in India which is the root of all our problems. This is not the time for talk. This is the time for war. How long will you wait? How long will the world keep calling you slaves? On Sunday, February 15, a huge gathering will take place in Stockton. All Hindus and Muslims of America are called upon to join. No more petition to the oppressors. Now we have to take our rights with sword. AN ARMY WILL BE RECRUITED FOR THE GHADAR IN INDIA.
Come brothers, you have earned plenty of dollars! Take the ship back to our motherland! Come let us go back to our motherland and raise the banner of revolt! Come to the gathering in Stockton and take a vow to go back to Hindustan and fight in the Ghadar! Just as this call is written in blood in the same fashion the letter of freedom will be written in ours and the blood of the British on the soil of Hindustan. For this oath, this call is being sent out from the Yugantar Ashram. This is not a paper, but a declaration of war! Stop everything and come! Do not delay!
ONLY HE IS A BRAVE FIGHTER WHO FIGHTS FOR HIS COUNTRY. EVEN IF HE IS CUT INTO PIECES, HE DOES NOT LEAVE THE BATTLEFIELD.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF INDIA
We do not have to remind you; you all know how much we have suffered under the British rule. We all wish to get rid of this foreign tyrant who has been bleeding us white. The time is coming when our united efforts will be able to throw off the yoke of this aggressor.
Another world war is approaching. We must take advantage of this opportunity. England is sure to get involved in the coming war. Political wisdom demands that we must utilize this rare opportunity for our good. We must put forward our demand for complete independence when our enemy, British imperialism, is engaged in a life and death struggle.
To save her life, Britain will need India's friendship more than anything else. We must demand complete independence as the price of our friendship.
We must let the British rulers know in clear terms right that if they care for the friendship of India, they must be prepared to give India full independence at once. Otherwise India will resist to limit their effort to get any help from India. It is beside the point how we will resist, but resist we will.
Complete independence means India's control over treasury, foreign affairs, and military forces. Nothing short of that will do.
We must remember that we can no longer trust any more promises from the British imperialists. To our sorrow, we have found out many times that we can not rely upon their words. We must stand pat on our demands; we must one way or another unite until our demands are met.
The world situation is such that the British will think twice before refusing India's demand. We must not miss this golden opportunity.
To get full advantage of the situation, we must put up a strong united front. All those Hindustanis who really work for independence must come together in a united front. Personal differences must be forgotten. Unity of purpose is essential for our cause. All of us who hold India's freedom dear to us, must work to establish a formidable united front. Our demands backed by our united front will have a telling effect.
Our demands must be popularized among our countrymen. Our people must be made to act in case our demands are not met.
Now is the time to educate our people: tomorrow may be too late. During the war, martial law will make things difficult. Unless the masses are made ready to act, our demands will not have much weight. The British imperialists care little for empty resolutions unless they are backed by united might of the masses.
War may start any day. We have not a moment to lose. We must do our best to educate and organize the Indian masses while we have time. Our slogans must be such as:
Complete Independence or Non-cooperation!
Freedom or Nothing Else!
No Freedom, No Soldiers from India!
No Freedom, No Money from India!
Freedom or Resistance!
In their educational materials, the Ghadar Party often referred to themselves as Soldiers of Independence and issued numerous fact sheets on the horrors of British Rule:
1. Englishmen drain from India and take to England every year 50 crore rupees ($167 million); consequently the Hindus[see Note below] have become
so poor that the daily average income per capita is only 5 paise (2.5 cents).
2. The land tax is more than 65% of the net produce.
The expenditure on the education of 240 million persons is about 0.02 percent per head per annum, i.e. about $ 40,000,000; on sanitation: $
6,000,000; but on the army $ 330,000,000.
3. Under the British rule, the famines are ever on the increase and in the last ten years 20 million men, women, and children have died of starvation.
4. From the plagues that have occurred, during the sixteen years past, 8 million deaths have resulted. And the death rate during the last thirty years has
steadily increased from 24 per mile to 34 per mile.
5. Means are employed to spread disunion and disorder in the native states and to increase British influence there.
6. Englishmen are not punished for murdering Hindus or for insulting Hindu women.
7. With money taken form the Hindus, aid is given to English Christian priests.
8. Attempt is always made to create enmity between people of different religious denominations.
9. The arts and crafts (Industries) of India have been destroyed for England's benefit.
10. Employing India's money, and sacrificing the lives of the Hindus as soldiers, China, Afghanistan, Burma, Egypt and Persia have been conquered.
11. For the sake of the almighty dollar, the British government has forced poppy cultivation in India, thereby creating the drug menace for India and the
Note: At that time, Hindus referred to all Indians, and not just to those who followed Hindu faith.
Excerpts from the Ghadar magazine: Naya Zamana
The Congress: All wise men know that the Congress is an official assembly. The founder of this assembly of ignorant persons was an Englishman named Mr. Hume. Almost every year an Englishman is appointed as its president. Mr. Gokhale, who takes a great part in it, is a titled man and member of the Imperial Legislative Council. Messrs. Mehta and Nauroji are also titled men...In short, all its members are flatterers and timid men. They do not think of measures for the prevention of famine and plague. They have learnt certain sentences which they repeat every year...They beg government to give them their rights merely by begging...These empty shows can not result in preventing famines, reducing taxes, spreading industry, introducing administration of real justice, filling the stomachs of cultivators and removing plague. The appointment of a few young men to Legislative councils can not result in any good to the country, even though they may be able to deliver very eloquent speeches. The acceptance of government service by able Indians only causes great harm to the nation...This is not the way to free country from the calamities which are devastating it...great courage and wisdom are required to awaken the country. The flattery of Englishmen can be of no avail...Congress is in the hands of Englishmen and conducted by them from London...Avoid it...
Religious Movements: Several new creeds and religious associations are coming into existence in India, everyone of which boasts of liberating India from Slavery...Religious disputes among different sections are considered by some as signs of the activity and energy of the Hindu nation...They think that when there is one religion throughout India no foreign nation can aspire to become her ruler. But this is not borne out by history and is opposed to common sense. Every person can have his/her own philosophical or religious principles. Nobody should be compelled to act upon a particular principle and thought...Social organisations should not be based upon religion...India has produced patriots like Ram Singh, Nana Sahib, Tantia, The Rani of Jhansi, Mr. Tilak, Amba Prasad Sufi, and Ajit Singh, but the religion of these men was not the same. So it is not necessary that there should be one religion throughout the country...It is foolish to think that a single religious association would be sufficient for all purposes. Education and social reform should not be based on religion...The prosperity and happiness of a people does not depend on a particular creed...To abandon efforts for liberty and equality and to devote one's entire zeal to religion is to degrade one's self below the status of man. Duty, knowledge and happiness depend on liberty and equality and upon these also depends the deliverance of a country, and in fact of the whole world.
Party Statement, 1917
The immediate object of the revolutionary party in the domain of politics is to establish a Federal Republic of the United States of India by an organized armed revolution. The final constitution of this Republic shall be framed and declared at a time when the representatives of India shall have the power to carry out their decisions. But the basic principles of this Republic shall be universal suffrage, and the abolition of all systems which make the exploitation of man by man possible;...In this Republic the electors shall have the right to recall their representatives if so desired, otherwise the democracy shall become a mockery. In this Republic, the legislature shall have the power to control the executives and replace them whenever necessity will arise.
The Revolutionary Party is not national but international in the sense that its ultimate object is to bring harmony in the world by respecting and guaranteeing the diverse interests of the different nations; it aims not at competition but at cooperation between the different nations and states, and in this respect it follows the footsteps of the great Indian Rishis and of Bolshevik Russia in the modern age. Good for humanity is no vain and empty word for Indian revolutionaries."