Following the 20th Party Congress of the CPI (M), the delegates from Canada and UK immediately set about organising a fitting tribute to mark the Ghadar Party Centenary. The key objectives would be to recall the patriotic contribution of the founders of the Ghaderites movement; to reignite the passion for freedom, to challenge imperialism and its neo liberal world order; to raise awareness for social and economic justice and to end all forms of discrimination by promoting equality and secularism.Comrade Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the CPI (M) in a message to the Indian diasporas stated that “The Ghadar movement is significant because it was workers and people of peasant origin who constituted the bulk of the movement. They became part of the international revolutionary movement which culminated in the first Socialist revolution in the world in Russia. Embracing socialism, the Ghadar Party revolutionaries took the struggle for independence and emancipation forward.

The Ghadar Party centenary is therefore an occasion to pay tributes to the heroism and indomitable revolutionary spirit that this movement symbolized. In the world we are living in, where imperialism and neo-liberal capitalism is holding sway and where the communists, the Left and progressive forces are struggling against exploitation and social injustice, the Ghadar Party heroes will always inspire us to go forward.”

The Ghadar Centenary programme of proletarian internationalism across the UK, USA and Canada will be inaugurated by Comrade Sitaram Yechury Member of the Polit Bureau of the CPI (M), Member of Rajya Sabha. The inaugural function in the UK will take place in West London on Saturday 8 June, engaging with the people across all the major cities in Britain’s key industrial cities from London to Scotland ending on 7 July.The Ghadar Centenary tour will traverse continents from Asia to Europe and crossing the Atlantic to San Francisco in USA on 15 July, to pay homage at a rally at the birth place of the Ghadar Party and home to the Indian diaspora. The rally will draw in people from places like Sacramento and Yuba City in USA with its sprawling countryside, not too dissimilar to rural Punjab.

The tour will conclude its foreign journey having retraced the steps of the Ghaderites and the legendary former leader of the CPI (M), late Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet. There will be rallies in Calgary and the historic port city Vancouver. For it was in Vancouver that Komagatamaru, a Japanese vessel carrying 372 economic migrant Sikh and Muslim Punjabi’s was denied berth on 23rd May 1914. With the use of firearm the Canadian Government forced the ship to leave on 23rd July. Angered by this discriminatory treatment they returned to India and arrived at the mouth of the Hooghly in Calcutta, the capital of India under British rule. This decision by the Canada’s, British colonial masters has been publically regretted and an apology by the Canadian Government is displayed in the old Gurdawara in Abbotsford, now declared a site of national heritage.

Passion for freedom

Freedom: the ability to act freely, the release from captivity or slavery, the country’s right to self rule, the right to act or speak freely, are just some of the basic tenants of life in a free India that we take for granted today.

India, a civilisation and diverse culture which goes back thousands of years transcending and accommodating religious changes and manifestations, occasionally brutal in its history.This path of evolution and development was rudely interrupted by British colonialism.Under British rule, India was subjugated to a foreign culture and rule in the interest of another country. British Colonialism interrupted the development of all existing political, economic and social structures. Britain completely subordinated India to serve the economic interests back home.Colonialism became the embryo of Imperialism to come, a new phenomenon in history. India under British colonialism thus became a classic colony.

Ghadar di Gunj, an early Ghadarite compilation of nationalist and socialist literature, was banned in India in 1913.

Ghadar di Gunj, an early Ghadarite compilation of nationalist and socialist literature, was banned in India in 1913.

The British are generally credited with investing in the basic infrastructure to support their plunder and rape of India’s resources, namely the railways. Alongside this a fact often forgotten is that the British also accentuated and capitalised on the differences in Indian society to perpetuate their rule. As a calculated policy they applied a policy of divide and rule, a policy that capitalism and its descendents apply all over the world today. As far back as 1862 following India’s first war of Independence in 1857, Charles Wood , the Secretary of State expressed his fear in posing the question that “If all India was to unite against us how long could we maintain ourselves?”
It was against this imperialist rule by the British Empire; on which they proudly proclaimed the sun never sets, as it spanned the continents, where India’s struggle to freedom began.

Termed by Marx as India’s First War of Independence, in 1857, the greatest and most widespread uprising took place that shook the foundations of the empire. The events of 1857 gave rise to international and national awakening to the vulgarities of colonial rule and the principled struggle for national liberation.
The declining economic conditions of the peasantry in rural India, particularly in Punjab led to the first waves of migration to foreign lands. Indian patriots faced institutional discrimination and further exploitation in these countries abroad. These experiences gave rise to the foundation of a revolutionary movement to return back home to overthrow British colonialism and free India. In years to come thousands became martyrs to this noble cause. This struggle for change continues today.

The formation of the Ghadar Party in San Francisco on April 5th 1913 was secular in character. Its aim was to overthrow the British rule by using force and free India from foreign domination. Ghadar meaning to revolt or rebellion had Sohan Singh Bhakna as its President, Lala Hardyal as General Secretary and Kartar Singh Sarabha as the Editor of the Punjabi version of Ghadar.

India, won its right to self determination, declared Independent in 1947 to peruse its path of economic and social development. 65 years later, India is again in danger of being subjugated under Imperialism due to the ideologically inspired application of neo liberal capitalism by India’s ruling bourgeoisie political parties. The cherished goals of freedom and a society free from exploitation of one human by another, the dreams of the Ghaderites and their followers like Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha and Shaheed e- azam Bhagat Singh are fast becoming a distant memory.

According to Comrade Sitaram Yechury,Polit Bureau member of CPI(M) “These observations of the Ghadar movement’s centenary must be the occasion for us to undo this grave historical wrong and injustice of not giving this movement and its heroes their legitimate due in not merely the achievement of India’s freedom and independence but also in shaping the ideological consciousness and in moulding the youth down the generations in carrying forward the struggles for justice, freedom and liberty in its most comprehensive manner. Their contribution continues to remain an inspiration to the current struggles in India that are aimed to create a better India for the vast mass of its people.”

The glorious traditions of fighting injustice, upholding secularism and the spirit of sacrifice is being tainted by unscrupulous leaders applying the divisive doctrines of yesteryear colonial masters. In the last two decades, the policy of divide and rule has manifested itself with catastrophic consequences. The promotion of Hindutva, rise of Islamic fundamentalism and Sikh extremism now pose a danger to the unity of India. Their machinations reverberate amongst the Indian diasporas abroad and threaten to divide communities, leaving them exposed to racial discrimination and attacks. After sixty plus years of India being a Republic, the minorities are still discriminated against and alienated. The plight of females, victimised and treated as second class citizens, being killed at birth and raped with impunity have awakened India. The visual media has presented a reflection of the contemporary Indian society hidden and subjected to denial, especially by the people in authority.

A tour of UK by Jana Natya Manch (Janam), India’s leading political theatre company will provide a dramatic tribute to the centenary celebrations. The renditions by Janam will address the issues above and highlight the struggle by the people still yearning for freedom, social and economic emancipation.

To join, support or participate in these events please contact IWA (GB) Harsev Bains 0044 7956 811553 email or visit our website: