Ghadr in Shanghai Tuesday, Feb 25 2014 


Ghadr pamphlet, TNA, UK.

There are brilliant books out there on Ghadr, the Indian freedom movement in early twentieth century that originated in San Francisco, California and touched all nooks and crannies of British colonies where Indians served in several capacities, Shanghai too played a key role in the Ghadr development. It was a convenient port, a layover for Ghadris coming from USA/elsewhere to India who brought with them literature that was distributed in the local Sikh gurdwara. Sikhs formed a large proportion of the Ghadr movement.

Komagata Maru incident further cemented the nationalistic fervor and triggered the plotting and planning to throw off the British yoke of repression. It failed, the plot was unearthed with the help of spies and revolutionaries were sent to jail, hanged or shot.

Coming back to Shanghai and other British enclaves in China, Ghadr did not vanish after collapsing in its initial foray. The spirit of Ghadr was revived and sustained through publications and editorials.  The anti-British message and sentiment was crystal clear. But, yet again it was defeated with pro-British Sikh employees and agents.

Shanghai chapter  is mentioned several times as a part of the entire Ghadr enterprise but has not been studied in isolation.  Who was involved in Shanghai helping forge the movement, in its second wind again who were the key players. Who was printing the spirit rousing Ghadr message? Who were the agents intent on siding with the British?  These questions have been vaguely answered or kept aside to present the more prominent aspects.

In Shanghai Sikh history, Ghadr played a crucial role, it had its birth and renaissance but the key players and supporters have hardly found their place in the sun.

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.

‘Chains to Lose’ by Dada Aamir Haider Khan Monday, Mar 4 2013 


Vivek Bald, a scholar and filmmaker reconstructs the lives of early Bengali immigrants in his new book, ‘Bengali Harlem’. Their immigration to America occurred in waves – first around 1880s onward as peddlers selling exotic Oriental ware. The second wave was around the WWI time frame as maritime laborers escaping brutal and inhuman conditions on the British ships. These men formed their own networks, had interracial marriages with African-American, Puerto Rican and Creole women. Bald narrates the lost stories of these sojourners who were primarily from Bangladesh (part of Indian subcontinent prior to 1947).

One such immigrant was Dada Amir Haider Khan, a seaman, a pilot and also a revolutionary. His political awakening was greatly influenced by his meetings with ‘Ghadr Sikh’ and Agnes Smedley. Khan would recite verses from ‘Ghadr Ki Goonj’, a publication of the Ghadr society. Later, Khan was caught in Hong Kong  for being a revolutionary and in his prison cell he wrote the memoir ‘Chains To Lose (1939-1942).’


Chains to Lose by Dada Khan



Dada Khan’s memoir is a rare account of Ghadr and the political uprising as seen from a non-western perspective.


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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