Outbreak of the War

The outbreak of the World War I aided the national movements. Tilak and Annie Besant used this opportunity to launch home rule movements to get self government. Ghadar revolutionaries in North America used this to attempt overthrowing the British rule by violence.

Immigration in Canada

Western coast of North America was destination for steady immigration from Punjab. The peasants there would pawn all their belonging and leave for this destination to escape economic hardships at home.

They were not welcomed overseas and were faced with brunt of racial exploitation and humiliation at the hands of white labor unions that resented the competition. 

Politicians looking for popular vote supported them. The secretary of state for India too wasn’t keen on immigration as close familiarity of Indians with whites was not good for British prestige.

The discriminatory policies of the host countries soon created a flurry of political activity in nationalists. The sustained agitations in Canada and USA created national consciousness and solidarity amongst Indian immigrants. Their inability to convince the Indian government or the British government to intervene and stop the discriminatory practices against them led to blossoming of revolutionary movements.

Ghadar revolution:

  1. Lala hardayal a political exile came to USA and delivered lectures on anarchist movements to American intellectual, workers and radicals. The bomb attack on Lord Harding revived the revolutionary in him and he visualized the violent overthrow of British rule.
  2. He became the leader of Indian immigrants on west coast. He told them not to fight the USA but use the freedom here to fight the brtish. He reminded them that they were under the British rule and so would never be treated as equals by the Americans. The support of the army would have to be enlisted in this movement and so lala hardayal preached his members to do the same.
  3. A weekly periodical called Ghadar was started for the propaganda campaign.
  4. The members of the organization went to the Punjabi migrant community to spread awareness. Through the Ghadar periodical the evils of the English rule on India were listed and sent to the people. Ghadar poems had the highest impact and soon their message reached Indian immigrant communities in Far East too.
  5. Though lala hardayal believed that 10 years or a few years would be needed to start a revolution in India but he too was surprised at the response.
  6. The following events influenced Ghadar revolution: Arrest of hardayal, komagata maru incident and World War I.

Komagata Maru incident

The Canadian law prevented immigration of any ship except one that had made continuous journey from India. But the Supreme Court of Canada had allowed some Indians who didn’t fulfill these criteria too.  Komagata maru was a ship that was commissioned to transport Indian immigrants from Far East to Canada. 

It landed in many places but finally when it reached Canada the authorities didn’t allow immigrants to land. They were forced to return and on return journey the world war broke out and the passengers couldn’t get off except at Calcutta. 

Wherever the ship made port it set off a wave of resentment against colonial rulers. The Punjab press also supported. Finally the ship reached Calcutta and the irate passengers clashed with the police and many were dead or arrested.

World War and Ghadar

The world war too was an opportunity to the ghadarites to capitalize on the British rulers. The ghadarite leaders urged immigrants in the western coast of USA to go back to India and start an armed revolt with support of the army some leaders were sent to Far East countries to convince the Indians there to return. When they returned to India the government was already prepared for them. It arrested the dangerous men and allowed others to proceed.

The ghadarites found the Punjab state very different. No one supported them and the khalsa even branded them as fallen Sikhs. Their naïve attempts to turn the army’s loyalty too failed without effective leadership.

Finally they turned to revolutionary leaders to guide them but the government had successfully penetrated the Ghadar. And before the revolt most of them were arrested. The government’s response was brutal and an entire generation of political leadership was finished off.

Success of the Ghadar revolt:

  1. Deepened nationalist conscious
  2. Evolved and tested new strategies for struggle

Chapter Review

Score more than 80% marks and move ahead else stay back and read again!

Q1:Ghadar movement was launched to
1.demand dominion status
2.demand separate electorates for sikhs
3.demand a constituent assembly
4.overthrow the british rule by violence


Q2:Response received by the Ghadarites in Punjab was
2.lukewarm support
4.full support


Q3:Success of the Ghadar revolt
1.Deepened nationalist conscious
2.Evolved and tested new strategies for struggle
3.Created a tradition of resistance, secularism, democracy and egalitarianism


Q4: Which of these incidents were launched to take advantage of the World war
2.Home rule
3.both a and b


Q5:Komagata maru incident was
1.freedom struggle
2.immigration related problem
3.peaceful struggle
4.influenced by Ghadar