Kim, Hyung-Chan, Dictionary of Asian American History, New York: Greenwood Press,1986


HINDU CONSPIRACY, 1914-1917 (also known as the Hindu-German Conspiracy), a revolutionary plot hatched by a group of Indian revolutionaries to overthrow British rule in India.  The base for this movement was created on the West Coast of the United States.  Indian students in the United States, Sikh peasants, and political refugees from India formed an organization known as the Hindu Association of the Pacific Coast, * which not only offered scholarships to Indian students to come to the United States for their study, but also published a weekly paper called the Ghadar, in order to propagandize the organization’s effort for India’s independence.  Soon the association gave rise to the founding of the Ghadar Revolutionary Party, * and the leadership of the party went to a twenty-eight-year-old Oxford-educated Indian, Har Dayal, * who came to America in February 1911.  His revolutionary activities in relation to the Ghadar Party made him a persona non grata in the eyes of U.S. immigration officials, who placed him under arrest in March 1914.  Before government officials could deport him to India where he could be tried for his revolutionary activities, he fled to Switzerland.  Another member of the Ghadar Party, Ram Chandra, then assumed party leadership.

            The outbreak of World War I in 1914 had a positive effect on the revolutionary activities of the association and the plot to overthrow British colonial rule in India.  After much hesitation, Har Dayal went to Berlin in January 1915 where he joined people working on the Indian Independence Committee, which was founded under the direction of Alfred Zimmerman, who served as director of Foreign Affairs for Germany.  Zimmerman sought to gain control of all groups working toward Indian Independence.

            Meanwhile in California, Ram Chandra, now the leader of the Ghadar Party, decided to take action independently of Berlin.  He smoothed over differences between Muslims and Hindus, and recruited Jawala Singh to lead an expedition to smuggle arms and revolutionaries into India.  Under Signh’s leadership, a group of sixty Indian left San Francisco on the S.S. Korea, bound for Calcutta.  The ship went first to Canton, China, where it picked up more Indians, bringing the crew up to 150.  Upon arrival in Calcutta, Singh and others were arrested, and the expedition ended in failure.

            Cerlin Sent another Indian, Heramba Lal Gupta* to assume the leadership of the plot in the United States, where he was instructed to recruit Indians and obtain arms to ship to India.  First, Gupta negotiated with representatives from the National Chinese government for arms, but he did not succeed.  Then, he went to Japan to seek Japanese cooperation in obtaining arms for India, but Japan tried to turn him in to the British government.  Gupta was then replaced by Chandra K. Chakravarty, who organized the Pan Asiatic League as a means of recruiting Indians from Japan and the West Indies.  Chakravarty’s activities were closely monitored by William Wiseman, chief of British intelligence in the Untied States, who informed the New York City Police of a bomb plot.  Chakravarty’s office was raided by police, and he was arrested on March 6, 1917, for violation of U.S. neutrality laws.  The plot, hatched with so much hope for India’s independence withered after his arrest.  Indian revolutionaries were put under arrest in many parts of the United States, as government officials came to know the names provided by Chakravarty.




Ted Sibia