by Mark Juergensmeyer

Nationalist pride-which sharpened into the militant potency of Ghadar and its futile revolution.
Notes and references:
1. The Ghadar movement was a loosely-knit organization of expatriate Punjabis in North America, with headquarters in San Francisco, which printed revolutionary literature against British rule in India, and attempted to send arms and guerilla soldiers into India for an abortive revolutionary uprising planned for 1915. The movement underwent a revival in the 1920's, with cadres of Punjabis active in various Asian and European countries, in addition to San Francisco. There are relatively few scholarly accounts of the Ghadar party written in the United States, but a number of works are available in India, including these recent studies: A.C. Bose: Indian Revolutionaries Abroad, Bharati Bhawan, Patna, 1971; G.S. Deol: The Role of the Ghadar party in the National Movement, Sterling Publishers, Delhi, 1969; L.P. Mathur: Indian Revolutionary Movement in the United States of America, S. Chand & Co., Delhi, 1970; G.S. Sainsara, et al; Ghadar Party da Itihas (in Panjabi), Des Bhagat Yaad Ghar Committee, Jullundur, 1961; Khushwant Singh and Satindra Singh: Ghadar, 1915: India's first Armed Revolution , R & K Publishing House, Delhi, 1966; and excellent Ph.D. dissertation by Harish K. Puri, The Ghadar Party: A Study in Militant Nationalism, Dept. of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1975. An overview of the literature is given in Mark Juergensmeyer, "The International Heritage of the Ghadar Party: A Survey of the Sources," in the American journal, Sikh Sansar, Vol. 2, No.1, March 1973, a revised version of which appears in N.G. Barrier and Harbans Singh (eds.), Pujab Past and Present: Essays in Honour of Dr. Ganda Singh, Panjabi University Press, Patiala, 1976.
2. See Emily Brown: Har Dayal: Hindu Revolutionary and Rationalist, The University of Arizona Press, Tuscon, 1975.
3. See Sohan Singh Josh: Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna: Life of the Founder of the Ghadar Party, P.P.H., New Delhi, 1970.
4. A fictional account of Kartar Singh's life has received popular and critical acclaim in the Punjabi, Ik Mian, Do Talwaran ("One Scabbard, Two Swards,") by Nanak Singh, Navyug Publisher, Delhi, 1963. See also Mark Juergernsmeyer, "India's Berkeley Radial," in the Sunday edition of Times of India, March 6, 1977.
5. The cry, ferenghi maro ("destroy the foreigner") frequently appeared in Ghadar literature.
6. See Sri Ram Sharma; Punjab in Ferment in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century, Punjabi University, Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Patiala, 1966; and N. G. Barrier; "Punjab Politics and the Disturbances of 1907." Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, Durham, 1966.
7. The Alienation of Land Act allowed the traditional agricultural castes, such as Jats, to retain rights to the land, while disallowing such rights to urban Khatri, Arora and other merchant castes. Lower castes and Untachables were also excluded, since it was feared that they would be used as a front for upper castes to purchase land. The adverse effect Act was to stabilize caste mobility, and to strengthen the division of society along caste lines. See N. G. Barrier: The Punjab Alienation of Land Bill 1900, Duke University South Asia Series, Durham 1965.

8. The economic and social effect of these disasters, and the continuing problem of moneylenders, described in Sir Malcolm Darling: The Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt, Oxford University Press, London, 1925. A useful summary of the conditions in the Punjab around the turn of the century may be found in chapter 10, "Rural Indebtedness and Peasant Agitation" of Khushwant Singh's History of the Sikhs, Vol II, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1966.

9. The official statistics of the Canadian government show that over 5,000 immigrants from India entered Canada between 1905 and 1908 (2,124 and 2,623, respectively) (cited in R. K. Das, Hindustani Workers on the Pacific Coast, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1923). Official records in the United States indicate a similar number of immigrants was probably quite a bit greater, allowing for illegal entries. Once scholar has simply doubled the official figures for her own working estimate (Joan M. Jensen, "Federal Policy in the Shaping of Indian Occupation in the United States, 1900-1917", paper delivered at the Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, Tempe, Arizona, 1974.

10. Some of the immigrants who worked in the British Columbia lumber mills had had previous acquaintance with the lumber industry in India, in their home area of Hoshiarpur, a Punjab district with abundant forest lands.

11. Estimates are as high as 75% of the immigrant males having served in the army. Conditions of economic and social unrest in the Punjab which encourages immigration also encouraged participation in the army; so it is not surprising that a high number persons would seek both options of opportunity, in sequence.

12. These indications of the immigrants' initial prosperity came from old interviews, cited in Harish Puri, "The Ghadar Party: A Study in Militant Nationalism," Ph.D. dissertation in Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1975, p. 39.

13. These, and other incidents, are summarized in R. K. Dass: op. cit., and A. C. Bose; Indian Revolutionaries Abroad, Bharati Bhawan, Patna, 1971.

14. Harish Puri has raised an interesting argument regarding the motivation for Canadian exclusion against the Punjabis. According to Puri (op. cit., pp. 50-51), the Punjabis were excluded among other reasons, because their residency in Canada would be used for anti-British purposes. Puri marshals two pieces of evidence indicating this fear among the British: a statement Colonel Swayne, seriously discussed by the British India office, which claimed that "dissatisfaction at unfair treatment of Indians in Vancouver is certain to be exploited for the purpose of harshly than Japanese and Chinese. Puri may be correct; but the fact of racial an economic prejudice against the immigrant community made the exclusionary restrictions possible.

15. A series of newspapers began to be published of newspapers began to be published in British Columbia about this time, 1907-1909, with names such as Free Hindustan, Aryan, and Swadesh Sewak; microfilmed copies of some of the issues are on file at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. The dominant themes of the newspaper are nationalist and anti-British, but some articles reflect the local concerns of the immigrant community, especially regarding immigration laws and economic problems.

16. Tarak Nath Das came to the United states in 1906 as a student a the University of California, Berkeley, but soon went to Canada to agitate for nationalist causes among the immigrant community in British Columbia before returning to the United States via Washington and Oregon, where he continued to be involved in nationalist organization. Tarak Nath Das survived the difficulties that the Ghadar party later encountered, and later in his life became a distinguished professor of Indian Philosophy at Columbia University, New York.

17. There is still a Gurudwa in Stockton, although most of the Punjabi immigrants have shifted further north in the San Joaquin valley of California, where they have recently erected a handsome new Gurudwara near the city of Marysville.

18. One of the immigrant farmers, Jawala Singh, had become so wealthy through the production of potatoes that he was called "the potato king." The San Joaquin valley of California is remarkably similar in climate and demography to the irrigated areas of the Punjab; so the immigrant Pujabis had a familiarity with farmin techniques which gave them an advantage ove the American settlers of the newly irrigated areas of the San Joaquin valley. The Pujabis' use of skillful techniques, their ability to work hard and save their earnings, are described in Bruce LaBrack, "Occupational Specialization of California Sikhs: The Interplay of Culture and Economics," a paper presented at the Fifth Punjab Studies Conference, Berkeley, California, March 21-23, 1975.

19. The prohibition against owning land not only dampened the economic development of many of their savings. Some of the money used to support the Ghadar party come from the immigrant farmers who might otherwise have used it to purchase land, or invent in equipment.

20. It is these events that begin most accounts of the Ghadar "Party", which restrict their time span to the years of 1913 through 1917. In one regards Ghadar as a movement, in a more general way, the history would begin in 1907, when the first nationalist meetings occurred, and continue at least into the 1930's.

21. Quite a few life histories of Ghadar members exist, many of them collected for the composite history written by Gurcharan Singh Sainsara, op. cit., and which are now on file in the Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar in Jullundur City, Punjab. This is not, however, a representative sampling; but the life-histories do indicate that the immigrants were motivated by the problems at home as well as the opportunities abroad.

22. There is no Act formally entitled "Asiatic Exclusion Act." The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1924 is often called the Oriental (or Asiatic) Exclusion Act; but G.B. Lal is probably referring to the Alien Land Law of 1913, which restricted Asian immigrants' rights to own land.

23. Brown, Emily; Har Dayal: Hindu Revolutionary and Rationalist, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1975, p. 141. Ghadar and other publications of the Ghadar movement which are extant or have been translated by the U.S. government and introduced as evidence during the trial of U.S.A. vs. Franz Bopp (now in the U.S. archives in San Bruno, California), are almost exclusively concerned with nationalist and anti-British issues. The link between the concerns of the immigrant community and the nationalism of the Ghadar movement is to be found in the life-histories of the participants (e.g. Sohan Singh Bhakna, op. cit., Sainsara, op. cit., the unpublished autobiographical account of the Ghadar movement by D. Chenchiah, on file in the Desh Bhagat, Yaadgaar, Prithvi Singh Azad's Kranti Path Ka Pathik, and Nand Singh Sihra's article in Modern Review, August 1913, " Indians in Canada: A Pitiable Account of Their Hardships by One Who Comes from the Place and
Knows Them")

24. The ship, Kamagata Maru, was chartered by a group of Punjab immigrants in an attempt to circumvent a devious Canadian regulation which denied entry to any immigrant who did not arrive on a vessel sailing directly form the immigrant's homeland; at the time, no such ship sailed from India. The Komagata Maru was not allowed to land anyways; and this incident was directly responsible for new converts to the Ghadar cause, and greatly encouraged the movement. Two books have recently been published: Sohan Singh Josh: The Tragedy of Komagata Maru, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1975; and Ted Ferguson: A White Man's Country: And Exercise in Canadian Prejudice, Doubleday Canada Ltd., Toronto, 1975.

25. The attempted Ghadar uprising in 1915 benefited by World War I in two ways: it hoped that the British army would be so distracted by the War that they would not be able to control the anticipated uprising; and, more directly, the Ghadarites received support from the British enemies, the German's in the form of money, advice, and some arms.

26. "United States vs. Bhagat Singh Thind, Feb. 19. 1923" in: Supreme Court Reporter Vol. 43, No.10.

27. Officially titled "The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1924," the so-called "Asiatic Exclusion Act" applied to Chinese and Japanese, as well as South Asians, and not fully repealed until the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

28. There was also an active attempt to link the Ghadar cause with America's tradition of independence; pictures of Washington and Lincoln appeared in the Ghadar papers, and in the 1920's new Ghadar newspaper was entitled "The United States of India."

29. The relationship between the immigrant community and the White Americans might explain the disintegration of the Ghadar movement, as well as the rise of it. According to Professor Bruce LaBrack of the University of the Pacific, California, who has studied the immigrant community, hostility towards the immigrant community helps it to band together in a nationalist identity, as we have described; but as that hostility wanes, and the community is more accepted into society, then more parochial identities emerge, and the relationships within the immigrant community are more fissiparous. And in fact, the tensions between Jats and non-Jats, and between doaba Punjabis and those from Ludhiana, Ferozepur and Amritsar.

30. Puri, Harish: op. cit.

31. See Sohan Singh Bhakna's autobiography: Jeewan Sangram, Yuvak Kendar Parkashan, Jullundur, 1967.

32. At least one, Mangoo Ram, was from a Scheduled Caste (Chamar); he later became a leader of the Ad Dharm movement on his return to Inida. Many of the laborers in the fields in California were of higher castes, and would not have engaged in such occupations in India.

33. G.B. Lal, a colleague of Har Dayal, said that, "most of the members of the Party did not understand Har Dayal's finer teachings, only the nationalism" (interview with G.B. Lal, April, 1973).

34. The relationship of former Ghadarites to the Punjab Communist Party is described in Tilak Raj Chadha's "Punjab's Red and White Communits: Scramble for Funds from America," Thought, June 14, 1952. The international connections are described by Gail Omvedt in "Armed Struggle in India: The Ghadar Party," Frontier, November 9, 1974 and November 16, 1974.

35. It is not fair to describe the factional disputes within the Ghadar organization as Hindu versus Sikh; nonetheless, the death of Ram Chandra removed the last Hindu intellectual of significance from the movement's leadership.

36. The Singh Sabha and the Gurudwara Reform Movement are evidences of this identity consciousness.

37. There were, no doubt, many kind and gracious White Americans who did accept the new Punjabi immigrants with generosity. Unfortunately, there were a significant number of others to create a climate of uneasiness about the presence of the new immigrants. The popular press wrote about "The turbaned tide" from India; and at the very extreme was hate-literature, such as the tract, The White Man, which contained articles such as the "The Hindu: The Filth of Asia." Even in recent years, the immigrants Punjabis in California are sometimes called ragheads."

38. It was in South Africa, in 1893-1915, that Gandhi: Satyagraha in South Africa, translated by V. G. Desai, Navajivan Trust, Ahmedabad, first published in 1928.

39. The motivation for the murder of Ram Chandra has never been settled, but the event occurred in the context of the U.S. government trial against Ghadar for its complicity with the Germans (U.S. vs. Franz Bopp, et al.), which exacerbated the existing factional tensions within the movement. See the interview with Mrs. Chandra on file in the Ghadar collection of the South Asia Library Service, University of California, Berkeley, and also Bhagwan Singh's Brief Sketch of Life Lived, issued by the Department of Public Relations, Government of Punjab, 1948.

40. Dilip Singh Saund won the elections, and became the first person of Asian ancestry to sit in the U.S. House of Representatives. See D.S. Saund: congressman from India, E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1960.

41. The most promising of new research on the immigrant community is that of Professor Bruce LaBrack of Callison College, University of Pacific, Stockton. LaBrack has compiled an extensive bibliography on the immigrant community. "The East Indian Experience in America," which is serialized in the journal Sikh Sansar (Redwood City, California, 1976-77 issues). LaBrack's own anthropological study of the community awaits publication. Prior to LaBrack, the most comprehensive research on the community was undertaken by Professor Harold Jacoby, also of the University of Pacific.

42. One such pamphlet was Hindustan ate Ireland, a translation of speech by the President of the Irish Republic.

43. Interview with Mrs. Ram Chandra, Ghadar Collection, South Asia Library Service, University of California, Berkeley, 1973.

44. One would suspect this to be the case, since the patterns of Indian immigration were roughly similar to thse of other Asian communities; see Sucheng Chan, "Overseas Sikhs in the Context of Asian Migration," in Mark Jergensmeyer and N.G. Barrier (eds.): Sikh Studies: Working Papers of the 1976 Summer Conference, Berkeley Religious Studies Series, 1978.

45. A summary of the legislation to exclude Chinese is given in Thomas W. Chinn (ed.): A History of Chinese in California: A Syllabus, Chinese Historical Society of America, San Francisco, 1969, pp. 23-30.

46. H. Mark Lai, "China Politics and the U.S. Chinese Communities," in Emma Gee (ed.): Counterpoint: Perspectives on Asian America, Los Angeles, 1976, p. 154.

47. See Kingsley K. Lyu, "Korean Nationalist Activities in Hawaii and America, 1901-1945" in Gee: op. cit.

Source: The Ghadar Syndrome: Nationalism in an Immigrant Community
By Mark Juergernsmeyer. Published in Punjab Journal of Politics V.1, No. 1, October 1977). Department of Political Science Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar