Ghadr-Annie Larsen affair-Hindu-German conpiracy Monday, Apr 15 2013 

Ghadr was an Indian freedom revolutionary movement formed in San Francisco, USA in 1913, drawing support from Indians, mainly living overseas. Ghadr means mutiny in Urdu. The Ghadr party’s Indian members were principally Sikhs. The call for mutiny was intensified with party representatives spreading the message of Ghadr through visits to various countries including China. The purpose being garnering support and collecting funds as well as distributing printed literature and pamphlets.

In Shanghai, Gujjar Singh is considered to be a main proponent of the Ghadr chapter. The Shanghai gurdwara located on North Schezuan road extension (old name) became a central point where Ghadr activities were carried out.  Isabella Jackson in her journal article, ‘The Raj on Nanjing Road’ mentions that 6 Ghadr activists who were sentenced in a trial were from Shanghai.  Incidentally, Kirpal Singh the spy operative who revealed the Ghadr plot details to the British authorities was supposedly a former Shanghai Municipal Policeman.

The port of Shanghai served as a convenient point for Ghadr activists to preach the message of Indian freedom.

Note:  Ghadr is also known as The Annie Larsen affair as well as the Hindu-German conspiracy (or Indo-German conspiracy).

Gujjar Singh, Shanghai Friday, Apr 12 2013 

Gujjar Singh, Shnghai

One of the main proponents of Shanghai Ghadr party. Ghadr was an Indian freedom movement in the 20th century.

Komagata Maru journey and the Shanghai Sikhs Saturday, Apr 6 2013 

Komagata Maru - The Sikh gentleman is Baba Gurdit Singh.

Komagata Maru – The Sikh gentleman is Baba Gurdit Singh.

During early years of the twentieth century, Indian economic migrants who were largely Sikhs made their way to Canada and Pacific west coast of USA. This was before the Asiatic Exclusion Act came to be enforced with the intention to control the East Indian immigration.  Ghadr had been established by Har Dayal and followers in San Francisco, urging mutiny and to overthrow the British rule in India. The Indians in Canada too, because of discrimination faced especially in British Columbia supported the call of mutiny. In Canada, the 1908 Continuous journey act stipulated that East Asian immigrants seeking entry should have proof of ‘continuous journey’  from their place of citizenship or birth. In 1913 a small group of Indians  apparently won on a legal technicality and gained entry.

Komagata Maru , a Japanese steamer was chartered by a  Sikh businessman, Baba Gurdit Singh, in 1914 to challenge the act.  376 passengers were on board and on reaching Vancouver , from Hong Kong via Shanghai and Yokohama were denied entry and even food and water and the steamer was disallowed to disembark as the journey was not undertaken from India. The exclusionary clause of  ‘Continuous journey’ was invoked.   After 2 months impasse  wherein only 20 odd passengers gained admittance,  the steamer was escorted out by the Canadian military and was forced to sail back to India. On arriving, 19 passengers were shot dead by the British. The incident brought into sharp focus for Indians the question of political identity.

111 passengers from Shanghai  are supposed to have boarded the Komagata Maru. In April 1914, a newspaper reported that 600 passengers on board Komagata Maru reached Shanghai and that the affluent charterer was visiting all China ports, collecting passengers keen to head to North America and possessing a minimum of 20 pounds in addition to passage money.  Were ALL the Sikhs heeding Baba Gurdit’s call to challenge Canada’s immigration act? Who were the Shanghai Sikhs? Were any of them policemen or the security watchmen? Was there German involvement?

At least one Shanghai Sikh, Mastan Singh, an S.M.P. boarded without any political activism intentions. On arrival to India, he escaped and remained in hiding, till his death. This is based on a written account sent to me by Mastan Singh’s descendant accompanied by few documents(photos were taken from a mobile phone but  seems a very genuine account). The descendant’s family inherited his savings and prospered thereafter.

Many such untold stories remain scattered.

Dr Chakravarty – Ghadr, Hindu-German conspiracy Monday, Feb 25 2013 

Dr Chakravarty - Ghadr, Hindu-German conspiracy

Dr. Chakravarty – Ghadr affairs liaison between German & Indians, based in USA, 1916-1918

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