Mazdoor Ekta Lehar is proud to announce that Ghadar International, Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) and other progressive organisations have been organising numerous meetings and other functions throughout Britain to celebrate the centenary of the founding of Hindustan Ghadar Party. Through these meetings, the outstanding progressive tradition among Indians abroad, in the past and in the present, is being brought home to the present generation of Indians in Britain. Ghadar International and IWA (GB) have been organising the centenary celebrations in Britain with the single-minded aim of forging the unity of the community in defence of its rights in Britain, and for the liberation of India from all forms of exploitation and oppression. As part of this series, an important meeting was held on 17th August, 2013, in Southall, London. Below we carry a report of this meeting.
Students of all ages, from primary school to university level, participated enthusiastically in the meeting. They gave presentations on the heroes of Hindustan Ghadar Party. Shri Kanwal Dhaliwal, a professional artist, known for painting portraits of freedom fighters, presented copies of his paintings as awards to each student on behalf of Ghadar International.
Comrades Salvinder and Dalwinder made the main presentations on behalf of Ghadar International. They explained the genesis of the revolutionary movement among Indians abroad. They highlighted the twin aims of Ghadar Party — to defend the rights and dignity of Indians in North America, Britain and other lands, from racist attacks and discrimination, and to fight for the liberation of the motherland from the yoke of colonial rule.
The Ghadar movement spread rapidly like wildfire and engulfed Indians in all the continents. Over 8000 patriots gave up their jobs, all their belongings and returned to the motherland to join the revolution being spearheaded by Ghadar Party. Many of them faced the gallows of the British colonialists. Many suffered torture and imprisonment in the dungeons of the colonialists. In the conditions of the First World War, the Ghadaris courageously organised revolts within the ranks of the British Indian Army, both within India and in different battlefronts.
The speakers explained that the crushing of the attempted revolt in 1915 did not succeed in putting out the fire of liberation burning in the hearts of Indian patriots. The struggle continued, taking new forms. In India, the Ghadaris joined hands with other revolutionaries and formed a number of organisations, including Kirti Party and Hindustan Republican Association. They realised the need to organise workers, peasants and other oppressed sections to overthrow British rule and establish their own rule, under the leadership of the working class.
The speakers explained how the India of today shows that the aims of Ghadar Party were betrayed. Instead of a clean break with imperialism, those who came to power in 1947 ensured that India remained a part of the imperialist chain. The leadership of the Congress Party represented the section of the bourgeoisie who were for compromise with imperialism against the interests of the toiling majority and the general interests of society. Defending capitalism and the colonial legacy through fire and sword, those who have ruled India since 1947 have ensured that all the problems that Indian people faced under colonial rule continue to plague us — poverty and want, illiteracy and ill-health, imperialist plunder of our land, natural resources and labour, the savage exploitation of workers and peasants, the oppression of women, religious minorities, the tribal peoples and the peoples of different nationalities.
The speakers emphasised that despite the great betrayal in 1947, revolutionaries and patriots have never given up their struggle. Ghadar International would continue the proud Ghadar tradition of working to unite all patriotic political forces around the aim of establishing a system in which the working people become the decision-makers and the wealth created by their toil is utilised for uplifting the material and cultural standards of all members of society. They concluded with the bold declaration that the Ghadar launched by the revolutionaries continues today — Ghadar Jari Hai!
A message of greetings from Comrade Lal Singh, General Secretary of Communist Ghadar Party, was received with loud applause. We are publishing this message alongside this report.
The meeting was addressed by several representatives of working people’s organisations.
Oliver New from Trades Union Council spoke of the struggles being waged against closure of hospitals, dismantling of the National Health Service and privatisation of health care.
Balwinder Rana from Unite against Fascism spoke against the increasing racist attacks on people of Muslim and Sikh faith in Britain. He stressed on the need to build the unity of people cutting across religion and race. He called upon the community to join the march against the fascist English Defence League planned for September in East London.
Speakers from various branches of IWA (GB) also spoke. Sital Singh Gill from Leicester covered many immigration issues. He condemned the new rules that demand heavy deposits from new immigrants and their families, as a pre-condition for coming to Britain. He pointed out that just as Ghadar Party had fought against racial discrimination a century ago, we must wage the struggle today against racism in Britain.
Sohan Singh Cheema outlined a brief history of IWA (GB) and its proud tradition of standing up for the rights of Indian workers in Britain and opposing racism and racist attacks. He praised the proud tradition of Indian workers in Britain supporting the struggles of the exploited masses of India to attain real freedom.
Ajit Jassar from Grays- Essex recited patriotic poems and highlighted the resistance of tribal peoples and the peasantry against the onslaught of the Indian State.
Doctor Zora Banu highlighted the role doctors must play to ensure that government hospitals do not get closed and health care does not become privatised like in USA. She finished by reciting poems on the heroic sacrifices of Rani of Jhansi. It must be noted that an extremely high proportion of doctors and health workers in Britain are from the South Asian community.
The successful political meeting in Southall reflects the work carried out by the members of Ghadar International and IWA (GB), especially their efforts to educate the younger generation about the work of Ghadar Party. It also reflects the profound concern of the youth and working people in Britain about what is going on in India. It shows their ardent desire to find solutions to the problems that plague the broad masses of people of Hindustan. It shows that the striving to reconstitute India on new foundations, so that our people are actually free from all forms of exploitation and oppression, continues to inspire patriotic Indians at home and abroad, as it did 100 years ago.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar considers the initiative of Ghadar International and IWA (GB) in popularising the Ghadar tradition among Indians living or studying in Britain, as an extremely important contribution to the cause of the Indian revolution.