Revolutionaries : Ghadar Movement in India

Exact Match
  Indus Valley
  Mauryan Era
  Post Mauryan
  Kushana Era
  Golden Age
  Post Gupta

  Arab Invasion
  South India
  Prithviraj Era
  Delhi Sultunate
  Mughal Period
  Maratha Era
  British Period

  Subhash & INA

Prelude | Ghadar | Ghadar in India | HRA | Assembly Bombing | Bhagat Singh | Surya Sen 

But in November 1913, the Canadian Supreme court allowed entry to 35 Indians who had not made continuous journey. Encouraged by this judgement, Gurdit Singh, an Indian contractor living in Singapore, decided to charter a ship and carry to Vancouver, Indians who were living in various places in East and South-East Asia. Carrying a total of 376 Indian passengers , the ship began its journey to Vancouver. The government of Canada had in the mean time plugged all the legal loop holes which had resulted in the November Supreme court judgement. The battle lines were clearly drawn.

When the ship arrived in Vancouver, it was not allowed into the port and was cordoned off by the police. Soon the Komagata Maru was forced out of Canadian waters. Before it reached Yokohama, World War I broke out, and the British Government passed orders that no passengers be allowed to disembark anywhere on the way, but only at Calcutta. On landing at Budge Budge near Calcutta, the harrased and irate passengers, provoked by the hostile attitude of the authorities, resisted the police and this led to a clash in which 18 passengers were killed and 202 arrested.

A few of them succeeded in escaping. The Government of India, fully informed of the Ghadar plans armed itself with the Ingress into India ordinance and waited for the returning emigrants. On arrival, the emigrants were scrutinized. Of an estimated 8000 emigrants who returned to India, 5000 were allowed to proceed unhindered. Precautionary measures were taken for roughly 1500 men. Upto February 1915, 189 had been interned and 704 restricted to their villages. Many who came via Colombo and South India succeeded in reaching Punjab without being found out. But Punjab in 1914 was very different from what the Ghadaraites had been led to expect- They found the Punjabis were in no mood to join the romantic adventure of the Ghadar.

The militants from abroad tried their best, they toured the villages, addressed gatherings at Melas and festivals, all to no avail. The chief Khalsa Diwan proclaiming its loyalty to the sovereign, declared them to be 'fallen' Sikhs and criminals, and helped the Government to track them down.

Frustrated and disillusioned with the attitude of the civilian people, the Ghadar made an attempt to find a leader; Bengali revolutionaries were contacted and through the efforts of Sachindranath Sanyal and Vishnu Ganesh Pingley, Rash Behari Bose, the Bengali revolutionary who had become famous for his daring attack on Harding, the Viceroy, finally arrived in Punjab in mid-January 1915 to assume leadership of the revolt.

Bose established a semblance of an organization and sent out men to contact army units in different centers, (from Bannu in the North-West frontier to Faizabad and Lucknow in U.P.) and report back by 11th February 1915. The emissaries returned with optimistic reports, and the date for the mutiny was set first for 21st and then for 19th February. But the criminal investigation department (C.I.D.) had succeeded in penetrating the organization, and the Government succeeded in taking effective pre-emptive measures.

Most of the leaders were arrested, though Bose escaped. For all practical purposes, the Ghadar movement was crushed. But the Government did not stop there. In what was perhaps the most repressive action experienced by the national movement this far, conspiracy trials were held in Punjab and Mandalay, 45 revolutionaries were sentenced to death and over 200 to long terms of imprisonment.

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