Reevaluating the Origin and Inspiration of
‘Sikh Gadar 1907-1918’*
Los Angeles, Feb 28, 2013
Jasbir Singh Mann MD, California
Many Historians of the Gadar movement try to generalize the influence of communist, Arya Smaj, Abhinava Bharat, Western socialists, anarchists and 1857AD Sepoy Mutinee thought process as a source of inspiration on the Ghadarites without any serious analysis of the actual content of historical evidence. I agree with Dr. Ganda Singh 1969 AD1 based on the evidence by historians like Dr. Surendra Nath Sen, Dr. Romesh C. Majumdar, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and S Acharya Kriplani.
According to Dr. Ganda Singh, “…it would be a travesty of truth to describe the revolt of 1857 as a national war of independence.” Without refuting this evidence, many historians still label that Sikh Gadar (1907-1918)1 was the sequel of the Gadar (mutiny) of 1857. Dr. Harish K. Puri states, “The major source of Gadhar movement’s Inspiration was V.D. Savarkar.” (Introduction Page XII: 2011). The Indian war of independence of 1857’s excerpts and chapters from that book was published in various issues of Gadhar movement, overshadowing what really happened on the Western Coast of America.
But Evidence shows that the movement was launched from Sikh Gurudwaras and Guru Granth Sahib’s teachings and Guru Nanak’s Salok 20 on page 1412 of ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ was the motto of Gadar Newspaper ਜਉਤਉਪੇਮਖੇਲਣਕ ਾਚਾਉ.(Jo Tau Prem Khaelan Kaa Chaao)2, published in USA.
Historians do not try to explore the religious, social, cultural and political beliefs and political activism of the new migrants to North America in the years 1904-14. More than 90 percent of these immigrants were male Sikhs and this movement did not involve repudiation of their religious faith; instead their faith strengthened their involvement into Sikh Gadar revolution. That is why they went back to India to fight for the cause. Their religious conscience was their guiding force and that’s why the movement was non-sectarian and non-racial. The above facts are supported by the historical evidence from 1906-1914.
This paper argues that the movement started from India, but it began mainly by the Sikh Gadarites with an inspiration from Gurbani in North America west coast in 1907. Back in India, Sikh Peasants and Sikh military person participated in extreme agitation against the new Colonization Act and the Doab Bari Act of 19072. In Vancouver, Canada, the Sikh lost voting rights in March 19073. September 4, 1907 Bellingham Riots USA4. Sikhs migrated to west coast of North America and worked as laborers but carried with them the dream of Independent