The first edition of the book titled "Call of the Ghadaris — Revolution", published by the Communist Ghadar Party of India in Hindi, Punjabi and English, was formally released in New Delhi on 26 July. It was enthusiastically received by a packed audience consisting of numerous political party representatives, lawyers, journalists, academic scholars and activists of many organisations of workers, women and youth.
|Releasing the book in Delhi|
|Comrade Prakash Rao|
|Comrade Sheomangal Siddhantkar|
|Professor Chaman Lal|
|Comrade Pran Sharma|
The book was released by Comrade Prakash Rao (Spokesperson, Communist Ghadar Party of India), Comrade Sheomangal Siddhantkar (General Secretary of CPIML-New Proletarian), Professor Chaman Lal (renowned social scientist and retired professor of JNU), Prashant Bhushan (Senior Supreme Court advocate), Sivanand Kanavi (journalist and adjunct faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore), N.D. Pancholi (social activist and leader of Citizens for Democracy) and Comrade R.K. Sharma (Socialist Unity Centre of India - Communist).
Introducing the book, Comrade Prakash Rao explained that this book exposes two big lies that have been spread about the Ghadaris. One is the lie that they were brave but naïve and did not know revolutionary theory. The second lie is that there was no difference in the aims of Congress Party and Ghadar Party; that they only differed in their methods of struggle.
Available facts have been analysed in this book to show that the program of Hindustan Ghadar Party and its vision of a federal Republic of United States of India were the most advanced political thought within the anti-colonial movement 100 years ago. The party's worldwide propaganda network reveals extraordinary organization building skills. The call to use the inter-imperialist First World War to advance the cause of overthrowing British rule shows a high degree of political acumen. The assessment made by the Ghadaris of the harmful role of both the openly communal organisations and the so-called “secular” Congress Party is another example of their wisdom. Comrade Prakash noted that this is in striking contrast with the tendency which continues to plague the communist movement, of conciliating with the existing institutions of the Indian Union and the official ideology of secularism.
Exposing the second lie, Comrade Prakash pointed out that the political aim of the Hindustan Ghadar Party was the opposite of the aim of the Congress Party. The Ghadar Party organised workers, peasants, soldiers and patriotic intellectuals around the aim of completely overthrowing colonial rule and establishing an entirely new State. They envisioned a State that defends the rights of all the various peoples who together make up India. In contrast, the Congress Party worked to accommodate the interests of Indian capitalists and landlords within the colonial state and system of plunder. It worked with the aim of replacing British colonial rule with the rule of Indian big capitalists allied with big landlords, retaining the same oppressive state apparatus built by the British to divide and rule over all Indians.
Comrade Prakash Rao also highlighted the fact that the Hindustan Ghadar Party, through its organised propaganda and agitational work, succeeded in preventing the soldiers of the British Indian Army from firing upon the people in other British colonies such as China.
A striking feature of the Ghadaris was that they never fought for personal glory. They organised on the basis of collective leadership and individual responsibility. There were no factions within that party at any time.
Comrade Prakash Rao pointed out that this book draws important lessons from our revolutionary history for advancing the present day struggle against the rule of the Indian bourgeoisie, headed by about 150 capitalist monopoly houses. It is a continuation of the struggle between the two opposing lines within the anti-colonial struggle 100 years ago. It is a struggle to achieve the goal for which the Ghadaris fought, by overthrowing the rule of those who compromised with imperialism and usurped the right to rule India. It is a struggle to make the workers, peasants, women and youth the masters of India, he concluded.
Comrade Sheomangal Siddhantkar commended the extensive research and efforts of the Communist Ghadar Party of India in bringing out this book. Revolutionaries from all communist parties must read this book, he declared. Referring to the revolutionary program and ideology of the Hindustan Ghadar Party, he highlighted its call to turn the imperialist war into a struggle to overthrow British rule. The circulation of the weekly party paper to the tune of 10,00,000 was an amazing achievement. It proves their excellent organizational and communication skills, from which we communists must learn. He called on all communist parties and groups to widely disseminate this book amongst their members.
Professor Chaman Lal thanked the CGPI for publishing this book, which deals with a very important chapter of our revolutionary history and legacy. He spoke about his own experience when he visited the headquarters of the Ghadar Party in San Francisco. He called upon all communists and all progressive people to spread the revolutionary message of this book very widely among all sections of Indian people who are fighting against the present oppressive system.
Prashant Bhushan congratulated the CGPI and its General Secretary, Comrade Lal Singh, for this book, which highlights our revolutionary history. He hailed the vision of the Ghadaris of a new structure for the Indian Union. The challenge today is how to make people the decision makers in society. Political power is being monopolized by a minority, which exploits the rest of the people. He drew attention to the fact that in the present system, people cast their vote once in 5 years but have no possibility of influencing government decisions. He stressed the necessity for changes in the electoral system to bring decision-making power into the hands of the people.
Sivanand Kanavi stressed the importance of our revolutionary traditions in giving direction to our movement at present. He said that the significance of this book is that it brings out clearly the uncompromising line of struggle of the Ghadaris, in contrast with the line of the compromising classes of capitalists and landlords represented by the Congress Party and the Muslim League. These compromising classes came to power in 1947 and built a system based on the same exploitation and plunder, as under British rule. The plan for India's economic development was written up by those who collaborated with the British imperialist rulers. Today, the agenda for our society is being set in the boardrooms of the corporate houses. This is the source of the innumerable problems our people face today. We need to establish a system in which people will be empowered to take decisions and determine the course of society, he concluded.
N.D.Pancholi congratulated the CGPI on publishing this book. He emphasized the importance of bringing out the truth about our revolutionary history before the youth of today. Through various examples he showed how history is distorted by the rulers. Countless people sacrificed their lives for the revolution. The British ruthlessly crushed the Ghadar of 1857, just as they crushed the Ghadar uprising of 1915. The word ‘Ghadar’ itself is portrayed by the rulers as something bad, to hide from people their real goal and call to all Indians. They fought for the goal of Indian people becoming our own masters and not merely replacing one set of exploiters by another. That struggle continues today, he said in conclusion.
Comrade Pran Sharma (Delhi State secretary, SUCI(C))thanked the CGPI for bringing out this important part of our revolutionary history through the publication of this book. Hindus and Muslims fought shoulder to shoulder in 1857, in the Ghadar uprising of 1915 and in numerous other such struggles for liberation. It is the British rulers who were responsible for dividing the people on communal lines. He pointed to the need for a social and political revolution, based on a scientific outlook and approach to the problems of society, like that of the Ghadaris in their time.
The event concluded in a militant atmosphere. There was a widely shared feeling of enthusiasm and determination to take to completion the struggle of the Ghadaris, to bring political power into the hands of the people and liberate our society from all forms of exploitation and oppression.