99th anniversary of martyrdom of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha commemorated in London

Mazdoor Ekta Lehar has received the report of a militant meeting organised by IWA and Ghadar International in Britain on 16 November 2014, on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha.

Mazdoor Ekta Lehar has received the report of a militant meeting organised by IWA and Ghadar International in Britain on 16 November 2014, on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha. The meeting held in Ilford, London was addressed by Comrade Dalvinder of Indian Workers Association (GB), Comrade Salvinder of Ghadar International (UK) and Comrade Iqbal of Ghadar Heritage Organisation of Canada.

Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha went to the US and enrolled in Berkley University of California for higher education, after completion of his matriculation in Malwa High School in Ludhiana. Kartar Singh Sarabha immediately plunged into revolutionary activities, and worked to organise the Indian workers in the US in defence of their rights, against racist violence of the state. He was one of the founders of the Hindustan Ghadar Party. He left his studies and began working in the Yugantar Ashram, where he helped in writing, calligraphy of Urdu issue of Ghadar newspaper, translations into Punjabi, printing it on cyclostyle machine which had to be worked by hand, and despatching it to his countrymen.

After the start of WW 1 on 25 July, 1914, the August 14, 1914 issue of Ghadar printed on its title page an article under the heading “Jang da Dhandora”, meaning “declaration of war” against the British colonialists. Kartar Singh returned to India on 14 September 1914. With many of the senior leaders of the Party being arrested as soon as they landed in India, the responsibility of organising the revolt in India fell on the young shoulders of Kartar Singh. He contacted all those who escaped the arrest by the police and organised a clandestine meeting on the banks of Sutlej river near Lodhuwal, where groups of 7 or 8 Ghadaris were formed to prepare for insurrection. Kartar Singh established contacts with other revolutionary parties in India. They established a secret press as well as bomb making factories. They made contacts and set up revolutionary units in the army cantonments from Rawalpindi to Banaras.

When the planned uprising in February 1915 was betrayed by traitors, the decision was taken that Kartar Singh and some other comrades would make their way to Afghanistan and begin reorganising again. While trying to organise scattered revolutionary forces on the way to Afghanistan, Kartar Singh was betrayed and arrested. He was tried in Lahore Central Jail in what is known as the First Lahore Conspiracy Case along with scores of others. The judge sentencing Kartar Singh to be hanged to death, wrote that … He is the youngest but he is dangerous of all of them. There is no aspect of the conspiracy in which he has not played some part. He has been traveling all over India. No lenience can be shown to him…” Kartar Singh thanked the Judge and asked for speedy execution so that “I can take birth again and start organising the overthrow of British Raj again”. He was hanged at the young age of 19.

The speakers pointed out that today some elements are trying to divide our martyrs on basis of religion, whereas Ghadar party always said that the religion is a personal matter. The martyrs did not gave their lives for any particular religion but for the freedom of India. Those who promote this line are actually doing the work of Indian ruling class to divide people.

All the speakers pointed out that aspirations of the Ghadaris such as Kartar Singh Sarabha were betrayed by those who assumed power in 1947. They pointed out that the Great Ghadar of 1857 was the inspiration for the Hindustan Ghadar Party, and today it is the Communist Ghadar Party of India which is keeping aloft the banner of the Ghadari babas in India. They stressed that the work of the Communist Ghadar Party of India to restore the unity of communists in one single party is crucial for the victory of the Indian revolution, for fulfilling the aspirations of our martyrs.

The speakers pointed out that the British imperialists and their media are promoting this year as 100 years of remembrance of the first world war and “heroes who died in that war”. The first world was a war between British imperialism and its allies and the bloc allied to German imperialism. Amongst the millions dead were lakhs of Indians. These soldiers were recruited by British imperialism with the aid of Gandhi to be used as cannon fodder for the imperialists. At the same time the Ghadar Party gave the call to Indian patriots to utilise the opportunities provided by the imperialist war to revolt against the colonial rulers and attain genuine freedom. These reflected two opposing lines —the line of irreconcilable opposition to colonial rule, and the line of collaborating with the colonialists and seeking favours from them. The big Indian capitalists benefited from the First World War, by becoming suppliers of clothing, shoes, and other equipment for the British Army, while the blood of lakhs of Indians were shed in the service of British imperialism during this war. In 1947, it is the class of capitalists headed by the Tatas and Birlas which came to power.

The speakers declared that the Ghadar continues today. The Communist Ghadar Party of India is carrying forward the revolutionary tradition of the Ghadari babas by fighting for the goal of establishing a socialist society offering a life of security and prosperity for all, a society in which working people are the rulers.

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