The Gadar Centenary Committee organised a grand three-day program in Toronto, Canada, to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the Hindustani Gadar Party in 1913 in North America. Between June 29, and July 1, 2013, the hearts and minds of the entire South Asian Community in the Toronto were on their revolutionary history and heritage. This included the heritage of the great ghadar of 1857, the heroic deeds of the Gadar Party as well as the glorious deed of the revolutionaries who have given their all to finish the unfinished tasks of the Gadari babas in their conditions.
Thousands of patriotic and progressive Hindostanis — women and men, youth and students, workers and progressive intellectuals, actively participated in, and contributed in various ways to the success of the program. The Gadar Centenary Committee organised this program to enlighten the present generation of Indians in Canada about the glorious heritage of Indian revolutionaries in North America, to free the motherland from colonial rule, and to fight racist discrimination in their countries of adoption, and the unfinished tasks of the gadari babas. This is the question of liberating India from the colonial legacy, including capitalism and all its institutions and establishing an India wherein the people — the workers and peasants, women and youth, will be the maliks of Hindostan.
The program started on June 29th 2013 with the historic Gadar march. This march began at 11:30 A.M. from the Morning Star Secondary School. More than 500 people participated in this march. The people on the street waved enthusiastically in support of the march. Marchers carried Gadar flags and slogans written on placards in honour of the work and memory of the Gadarites.
A large model of the historic Second Avenue Gurdwara was specially prepared and put on a flatbed truck and was driven along the march route. This historic Gurdwara use to be the center of the activities of the Gadarites and is indelibly etched in the minds and hearts of all patriotic Indians in Canada. Although the administrators sold this Gurdwara in 1970, our people still cherish its memory. The marchers shouted slogans in honour of the work and memory of the Gadarites. When the march reached close to the rally site, it passed straight through Airport Road into the Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara where the Gurdwara administrators had prepared a special Langar of pakoras, jalebis and many other sweets, fruits and hot and cold drinks. This was the way the community in Canada expressed its complete support for the work of the Gadar centenary committee of carrying forward the tradition of the Gadari Babas. The march culminated at the Greater Punjab Plaza. Here the march transformed into a mass rally.
The mass rally began with a welcoming address by Iqbal Sumbal. He welcomed everyone there and spoke about the work of the organizers and about the difficulties the organizing committee faced at the hands of the various local authorities. He thanked the people for helping in various ways for the work of organizing this program. He said that the dreams of the Gadarites remained unfulfilled despite the political independence India received in 1947. He urged everyone to come together to work to fulfill the dreams of our patriots. He emphasized that this will be the true tribute to the Gadarites. Then some groups of singers presented their songs in honour of the Gadarites. Including ‘Badorh Mandali’ and ‘Dhadi Jatha of Bhamadi’.
Then Waryam Singh Sandhu addressed the gathering. Mr. Sandhu said that the Gadari babas threw themselves into the task of liberating India. Many of them came to North America in search of livelihood. They faced discrimination in employment, in law etc. and were treated as second-class citizens. They were not allowed to bring along their families, were paid lower wages, and humiliated in other ways. They were convinced that this humiliating treatment they faced was because their motherland was colonised by the British. This reinforced their conviction that until British rule was overthrown and India became independent, Indians would always be humiliated wherever they lived or worked. They decided to organize themselves to throw the British Rule out of India with the force of arms.
Further on Waryam Singh Sandhu pointed out that the Gadarites were fighting for the complete liberation of India by force of arms while the Congress party was just fighting for some concessions. Some other firsts also go to their credits; they wanted to set up secular panchayati raj in place of the British raj. They were so devoted to their cause that they were ready to sacrifice their all for that cause. They went back to India in the thousands to fight the British, hundreds were hanged to death and given other sentences after their mission failed, but their sacrifices, their bravery and valour became a source of inspiration for generations to come. Their movement was so persuasive and strong that Indians all over the world got attracted towards that and jumped into the struggle, he concluded. People attentively listened to his speech despite the hot sun.
Several other speakers also spoke about the brave deeds of the Gadarites and pay their tributes to their memory. Comrade Harbajan Cheema from Vancouver also addressed the rally and spoke highly about the deeds of the Gadarites. He said they fought for the rights of all the people. He mentioned the fight of the Gadarites to bring their families to join them and said that the Harper government has brought about laws similar to the ones existing during the time of the Gadarites and urged that we should unite and fight this government like our forefathers did.
The rally concluded with more songs. An exhibition of portraits of Gadarites was put up in the lobby of the Plaza which was seen by many people. People also bought revolutionary literature about the Gadarites.
On June 30th the whole day was devoted to historical plays and plays about the Gadarites in the Rose theatre in Brampton. Four plays were staged, the people very enthusiastically enjoyed all the plays, people considered the plays to be the highlight of the three day centenary program.
July 1st was devoted to political seminars. Three main papers were presented. Waryam Singh Sandhu spoke about the political philosophy of the Gadarites. Ragbir Singh Sirjna spoke about the journalism of Gadarites. Dr. Sadhu Singh elaborated on the poetry of Gadarites. The papers were well received by the people and were followed by lively discussions. The papers emphasized how the Gadarites were above all petty narrowness like castism, regionalism, and other backward ideas. Religion for them was a personal matter and they united to fight for their cause of liberating India and this philosophy was reflected in their poetry and journalism.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar hails the work of the Gadar Centenary Committee in organising this historic program in Toronto. In the history of our revolutionary movement, the role of the revolutionaries in North America and other parts of the world occupies a very special place. Today too, in the work to complete the unfinished task of the Gadari babas in today's conditions of India and the world, the role of patriotic and progressive Indians abroad retains greatest significance.