“Why should we, the people of India, not elect a new Constituent Assembly to formulate a new Constitution to enable Hindustan to march on the high road of civilisation in this 21st century?”
This question was raised, repeatedly by many speakers at the Ghadar Centenary celebrations in Delhi on 15th September, 2013.
The historic event was held at the Gujarati Samaj auditorium in Delhi. It was jointly organised and sponsored by over three dozen organisations, at the initiative of Lok Raj Sangathan. Together, these organisations had ensured that India’s capital, its industrial areas, its universities, and its residential and commercial areas were plastered with lakhs of colourful, beautiful posters announcing the meeting. Leaflets and invitation cards had been widely distributed in the weeks prior to the function.
The inaugural session began with a colourful group performance by school children. Several dozens of them marched on to the stage, carrying a flag of Hindustan Ghadar Party in red, saffron and green, and numerous red flags. They marched and waved their flags to the tune of Ghadar Party Lal Salaam! Inquilab Zindabad!
Welcoming the participants, S. Raghavan, President of Lok Raj Sangathan, observed that Hindustan Ghadar Party worked to unite all the peoples of our country on a non-sectarian basis, to achieve the common aim of national and social liberation. He pointed out that the vision and program of HGP was of a state that would defend the rights of all. The rulers of our country are trying to convince everyone that this was fulfilled in 1947. But that is not true. The goal of our martyrs has not been fulfilled. The times are calling on us to continue the struggle, to unite people cutting across all barriers as the Ghadaris did in their time, to establish lok raj that will guarantee prosperity and protection for all.
The next session began with a thought-provoking speech by Comrade Prakash Rao, Spokesperson of Communist Ghadar Party. He pointed out that imperialists were waging unjust wars to re-divide the world and prevent the advance of human society. The rulers of India are unleashing force against all those who are resisting the dangerous course being followed. He referred to the situation 100 years ago, when Indians abroad formed Hindustan Ghadar Party to organise a revolution to end the unbearable conditions of enslavement. There were two paths in front of our people at that time – the path of accommodation within the system of enslavement and plunder, and the path of revolution to open the door to all-round progress. Congress Party and Ghadar Party were respectively championing the two paths, of compromise and of revolution. Today, too, we have to choose between the path of compromising with imperialism, or making a clean break with it and laying new foundations for a modern civilised India. This opening speech set the tone for an unforgettable series of short speeches through which the message of Ghadar reverberated among the participants.
While the meeting was scheduled to begin at 2 pm, hundreds of youthful participants were seen in the lobby starting from 1 pm itself. There were long lines of women and men who were going through the process of registration. Participants came from all the states of the Indian Union, as well as from many foreign countries. Those who had registered were reading through an Exhibition of colourful panels that told the story of Hindustan Ghadar Party, formed by a group of Indians in North America in 1913, to liberate the motherland from colonial enslavement. The enormous interest evinced by the participants in learning the true story of Ghadar Party and its relevance for solving the present problems of Indian society reflected their high degree of social responsibility and political consciousness.
The auditorium was packed to full capacity and more, with the majority being young women and men in their twenties. Many were sitting on the aisles for lack of a vacant chair. In spite of the crowd, the atmosphere was orderly and reflected a high degree of discipline and organisation. There were young volunteers everywhere to assist anyone in need of help.
The entire proceedings, which began punctually at 2 pm and concluded exactly at 6 pm, were conducted by two comperes – a young woman and young man who introduced each speaker. They interspersed the speeches with thought provoking poetic Ghadar verses and snippets from modern revolutionary songs.
Representatives of the Ghadar Heritage Organisation (Canada), Ghadar Centenary Committee (Canada), Ghadar International (Britain), Naya Daur Party, Socialist Unity Center of India (Communist), Lok Satta Party, Sikh Youth Forum, National Patriotic People’s Front, Confederation of Government Employees, Rajasthan, Delhi Gharelu Kamgaar Sangathan, All India Workers’ Council, All India Loco Running Staff Association, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Sikh Forum, Rajasthan Sarpanch Union, Voice of Voiceless, Brick Kiln Workers Union, All India Forward Bloc, Kamgaar Ekta Committee, Jan Paksh, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Indian Council of Trade Unions, Popular Front of India, Subash Yuva Morcha, Samagra Bharat Natya Manch and Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha were amongst those who addressed the meeting. Shri SN Sharma, progressive writer, and Shri Hansraj Siwach, peasant leader from Haryana also addressed the meeting. Delegations of Thozhilalar Otttrumai Iyakkam, Tamilnadu, Campaign for Peace and Democracy (Manipur) and Voltas Employees Federation participated enthusiastically in the program.
Concluding that the goal and aspiration for which Hindustan Ghadar Party was formed is still to be fulfilled, the meeting resolved to “continue the struggle to achieve a radical rupture with the colonial legacy; and to lay new foundations for a civilised India that respects and defends the rights of all members of society and all constituents of the union, guaranteeing prosperity and protection for all.”
The meeting also passed a resolution condemning imperialist interference in Syria and the proposed US aggression in the name of punishing the Government of Syria for alleged violation of international norms. It called on the Government of India to take an unequivocal stand in defence of the national sovereignty of Syria and against foreign intervention and interference in her internal affairs.
Concluding remarks were delivered by Comrade Santosh, an activist of Lok Raj Sangathan and of Mazdoor Ekta Committee. He referred to the arrogant statement of Lord Macaulay that all the knowledge produced in Hindustan could be fitted into one shelf in his library. The education system in our country was designed to cultivate a stratum of Indians who think like the British, worship everything western and look down on our own history. The heroes of 1857 declared, “Hum hain iske malik! Hindustan humara!” Ghadar Party was formed to make the workers and peasants the master of Hindustan. We are fighting for this goal today. We, the working class and toiling majority of people, must lay down a new Constitution and build a new power that will defend our rights and guarantee prosperity and protection for all, he concluded.
Revolutionary songs and a scintillating bhangra performance brought the grand event to a militant climax.
The event was a fitting tribute to the heroes of Ghadar Party. It was at the same time a proof that Ghadar is alive, and a call to all Indians of conscience to rise to the call of our martyrs. This is the call for a new Constitution for the Navnirman of India - enabling us, the creative peoples of this vast country, to shape our own destiny in this 21st century.
Communist Ghadar Party of India
Indian hearts have to be led by Indian brains, by an Indian theory of liberation. Hindustan Ghadar Party drew upon the wisdom of our ancestors to demand that the State must fulfil its duty of ensuring prosperity and protection for all. It asserted that people have the right to rebel and overthrow the adharma of a State that organises the plunder of Hindustan. It is in essence the same philosophy and theory that guided the revolutionaries of 1857, which Ghadar Party upheld and further developed in the 20th century.
The necessity to overthrow adharma once again released the revolutionary energies of our people following the Naxalbari uprising and its call for a social revolution. It inspired Indian communists abroad to establish, in 1968, an Ad-Hoc Committee for formation of Hindustani Ghadar Party (Organisation of Indian Marxist-Leninists Abroad). When CPI (ML) was split into numerous factions, the reconstituted Ghadar Party took initiative to reconstitute the vanguard party of the Indian working class on Indian soil. Communist Ghadar Party was thus born in December 1980.The adharma of ruling to plunder Hindustan is sanctified by the 1950 Constitution. Those who framed the Constitution were trained in the west and thought there was nothing to learn from our own past. All the collaborators with imperialism worship this Constitution, which is designed to keep us enslaved forever. We, the toiling majority of people, the workers and peasants, inheritors of Indian thought and the Ghadar tradition, need to establish a new Constitution that will make us the master of Hindustan.
Ghadar Heritage Organisation, Canada:
When we see so many organisations joining hands to uphold the aims for which the Ghadaris fought, it gives me great confidence that we will definitely succeed in ushering in a new Hindustan. Ghadaris envisioned an India that respects the rights of all, guaranteeing prosperity and protection for all. Today the majority of our people are suffering while a tiny minority is becoming enormously rich. This has to be changed. For this it is essential for workers and peasants to unite, overthrow the existing system and create a new system in its place. We have to build a system that takes care of the economic needs of all. Youth should not have to find ways to run abroad. That day is not far off when we will see a new socialist India!
Ghadar Centenary Committee, Canada
It is said that Sohan Singh Bhakna told Nehru that he suffered more in 15 years of imprisonment in independent India than he did under British colonial rule. There is a red thread of revolutionary conviction and courage running through our history, from Mangal Pandey in 1857 to the Ghadaris in early 20th century to the youth we see in this hall today. The great grandchildren of the Ghadaris marched on the streets of Toronto this year. The Ghadaris were Indian revolutionaries and internationalists. Shaheed Udham Singh, who killed General Dyer for having led the massacre at Jallianwala Bag, declared that his name was Ram Rahim Singh. We in Canada are planning to celebrate other important centenary milestones that are coming up in the near future, including that of Komagata Maru and the martyrdom of Shaheed Mewa Singh.
Ghadar International (Britain)
It gives me great joy to see so many youth getting together to uphold the Ghadar tradition. In Britain the same spirit has inspired such celebrations in many cities this year. We are inspired by those who sacrificed everything to liberate our motherland 100 years ago. The tragedy is that even today the exploitation and oppression has not ended. I am happy to see that Communist Ghadar Party, Lok Raj Sangathan and so many other progressive organisations are uniting to keep the Ghadar tradition alive. The goal is to empower the people so that every member of society can live with dignity. The ruling establishment tries to divide us, but we have to rise above all divisions as the Ghadaris did in their time.
Naya Daur PartyThere is only one path in front of us, the path of Ghadar. We formed Naya Daur Party in 2008 inspired by the Ghadar heritage. The times are calling for a new Constitution in favour of the working class and people. Naya Daur Party is ready to join hands with Lok Raj Sangathan, with Communist Ghadar Party and all others who are committed to march on the path of Ghadar. Let us launch a joint initiative in Delhi elections. The situation demands unity of all revolutionaries. Just like it happened in Russia in 1917 and in China in 1949, let us take a decisive step in 2013 towards the victory of revolution in India.
Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)The Ghadar movement did not win victory, but in its defeat it left behind something precious, which cannot ever be defeated. That is the call for social revolution and the political aim of creating a federal republic of United States of India. It was the first time that such a slogan was put forward and it scared the Congress Party leaders. Hindustan Ghadar Party was very advanced for its time. Nobody talked so clearly as they did on the question of religion. Ghadar Lehar’s ideological climax was Bhai Santokh Singh, who spoke about socialist revolution, which was also what Bhagat Singh reiterated. This is the essence of the present-day slogan, Ghadar jaari hai!
Lok Satta PartyPolitical independence was achieved in 1947 but the struggle is continuing, for economic security and for other basic rights. Criminalisation and corruption are rising rapidly, especially since 2008. We must resolve to fight for social change. We cannot rely on Congress or BJP. We have to unite and fight together for establishing a new India. Our appeal is that all of you should vote, not on party basis but on the merit of candidates.
Sikh Youth Forum
Ghadar is a thought and action – in 1913 it arose from abroad. Sohan Singh Bhakna was opposed to zulm (oppression). Dharm-nirpekshta is a harmful concept. Without dharm one cannot oppose oppression. One should feel from inside. Hindustan was enslaved for 200 years, and oppression is continuing till today.
Bhakna and Sarabha were dharmic people, committed to speak out against oppression and injustice. Today there are so many Bhaknas in jail. What kind of secularism is this? So many years have passed since 1984, but still no justice. It is not even discussed by the parties in Parliament.Dharm-nirpekshta or secularism is a catchword, used against anyone who is committed to one’s principles or dharm. When we rebel we are called terrorist or fundamentalist. Sarabha, Bhagat, Rajguru, Sukhdev were all called terrorists by the British rulers. I am proud of being a Sikh. The Constitution has been made by those who collaborated in the oppression. It does not guarantee or defend our rights.
National Patriotic People’s FrontHail the Ghadaris who wisely proclaimed that religion is a personal matter. In truth, no religion advocates harming others. The revolt in 1857 was the First War of Independence of Hindustan. The reality today is that our Prime Minister is a head clerk and works with other clerks of the big capitalists. It is important to understand the thought of Ghadar Party, its theory and program. The same thought is motivating and driving the present day revolutionaries of India, who have come together to organise this event. Revolutionaries will be born from the working people. It has been said that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, but the guns need to be on the shoulders of the people.
Confederation of Rajasthan Government EmployeesThe Ghadar is alive and will continue as long as exploitation of one person by another continues to exist. From the time of Jehangir’s firman to permit the East India Company to establish its first trading post in Hindustan, we have witnessed many revolutionary patriots who refused to be slaves. We have the examples of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, of the Rani of Jhansi, Tantia Tope and others in 1857. Then we have the birth of Ghadar Party in 1913. Today the kale angrez (brown sahebs) are dividing our people. Our armed forces remain communally organised. The dictum of “divide and rule” continues to guide those who are supposed to be the guardians of democracy. The issue is to oppose zulm. As Bahadur Shah Zafar proclaimed in 1857, people of all religions have to unite against their common oppressors. We have to rise above all kinds of artificial divisions that continue to be imposed on us, be it Congress versus BJP, or AITUC versus CITU or something else.
Delhi Gharelu Kamgaar SangathanThere is an important role for women in the struggle for justice and a new social system. Women who are toiling do not have any security today. We have to unite and fight for the rights and dignity of working women. Our organisation works towards this goal in the so-called unorganised sectors. Society runs on our toil but there is no protection for us. We women demand that the progress of India must benefit us. We demand this as a matter of right. Rights will not be granted. They have to be seized. Unless we fight on the streets we cannot get what we want. The youth have the strength to change the society. Only those persons must be leaders who fight for our rights. We need to come together on one platform. We have to change the course of society. Are we just vote banks? No, we are citizens. We have rights that belong to us. We must continue the struggle until our rights are secured.
All India Workers’ CouncilOn the occasion of Ghadar centenary we convey our greetings to all, and special thanks to Communist Ghadar Party. We need to address the questions facing us today, while learning from the Ghadaris. The national and international situation is full of uncertainty. There is an acute clash of ideologies and values. If we are able to spread the message of Ghadar Party to all corners of our country it will certainly advance our movement. Let us take the message of this meeting to every locality where we work! Let us spread the line and create the conditions for revolutionary change.
All-India Loco Running Staff AssociationIt is true that real freedom has not been won. For instance, the peasants who spend months to nurture their crop have no say in setting its price whereas the capitalists who stock a commodity for a few days have a decisive say in setting its price. This is clear evidence that the system and the State are in the service of the capitalists. We have to keep Ghadar alive.
Mazdoor Ekta CommitteeThe 1950 Constitution does not guarantee our rights as workers, as women or as human beings. It was written and adopted by a minority of persons whose brains were European even though their bodies were Indian. The treatment meted out to the workers of Maruti at the Manesar plant shows that the “white man’s burden” continues in independent India. Unions that fight for the rights of workers are being crushed so as to attract more foreign capitalist investors to plunder Hindustan. How can we accept this as freedom? It is the continuation of enslavement, which we the working people have to take steps to end once and for all.
We have our religious beliefs and our principles, but today we should focus on the thoughts with which Ghadar Party inspired all our people. Their enlightened thinking is in stark contrast with the dominant ideology today. Those who preach non-violence have committed a crime by hiding or distorting the truth about the Ghadaris, which is now being revealed by new books being published in the Ghadar Centenary year. Officially prescribed history books do not give due credit to all those who fought resolutely for India’s freedom. The detailed history of Ghadar Party deserves to be taught in all the schools.
Rajasthan Sarpanch UnionThe result of the transfer of power in 1947 is in front of us. Many thought that freedom had been won but it is now clear that this is not the case. The Indian Republic is secular and democratic in words, but in reality it is an oligarchy, the rule of a chosen few. The so-called secularism of this State permits those in power to unleash communal violence. The Central Government headed by Congress Party covertly promoted terrorism in Punjab, while BJP manipulates Hindu sentiments to bring itself to power. In reality, the existing State and system are not democratic, not secular and not at all socialist!
Voice of VoicelessIt is a fact that there were many Sikhs in Ghadar Party. But it is a fact that the party rose above religious faith and fought for the freedom of Hindustan. In present-day India, which is supposed to be free, basic rights continue to be denied. Oppression continues. Huge sections of our people are extremely poor. People are victims of communal violence and of vote bank politics. As the Ghadaris said, India’s struggle will continue as long as a small minority continues to exploit the majority.
Kamgaar Ekta ChalwalThe class that is ruling India owes its birth and development to the British colonialists. They nurtured the big landlords and then the big capitalists. The line of Congress Party has always reflected the striving of this traitorous class to preserve and continue with the loot and plunder of our country. The consequences are there for all to see. What kind of new system do we need? We need a fundamental change, for which the Ghadaris dared to fight, with great foresight and courage. We have to act today with the same foresight and courage.
Jan PakshFormation of Hindustan Ghadar Party marked the beginning of organised revolution to liberate our country. Congress Party had been formed in 1885 to chart a reformist path to achieve political independence. It was a party of landlords and capitalists. There were two trends within the anti-colonial movement – one of the bourgeoisie, represented by Congress Party, and the other of the workers and peasants, represented by Ghadar Party. Those who emerged from the Ghadar trend includes Bhagat Singh. For a period both Communist Party of India and Kirti Kisan Party worked alongside one another, until the latter merged with CPI. Bhagat Singh said that as long as exploiters are ruling, India’s struggle will continue. English capital is still there even today. What kind of freedom is this? Inquilab zindabad must remain our slogan.
S. N. Sharma, progressive writer
Sohan Singh Bhakna worked in a saw-mill. Once when he was out of work the owner of a saw-mill said, “I will employ you when you are a citizen of a free country”. He and others like him realised that without liberating Hindustan they could not live with dignity. The Ghadar weekly paper was published in four languages, for free distribution among all Indians abroad. A country that forgets its martyrs will not progress. Our hopes are on the youth. Let us keep the Ghadar alive!
All-India Forward Bloc
From the day the British imperialists set foot in our country, there was rebellion in one place or another. Our people never accepted the colonial rule. The rebellion of 1857 was lost because leadership was in the hands of kings, queens and princes. The heroic effort of Ghadar Party did not succeed in overthrowing colonial rule, but important lessons were learnt. It became clear that unless we organise workers and peasants we cannot win victory. Bhakna, Josh, Bilga and other leading Ghadaris who survived participated in the all-India peasant organisation. India would have been liberated in the forties, during the second world war, if the line of Subhash Bose had been followed. But alas, the so-called freedom granted in 1947 was of such a kind that domination of foreign capital has continued. The 1950 Constitution was not formulated by the people but by a select few.
Purogami Mahila Sangathan
Women have a critical role in the struggle for freedom. In 1947 political independence was won but there was no change in the social system. The goal of the Ghadaris has not been fulfilled. Revolutionary women have continued the struggle for the goal of attaining political power in the people’s hands. We chased out the British rulers – all united behind one aim. Today the Kala angrez are ruling. Our basic laws, our Constitution – need to be completely changed. We need a new Constitution – that recognises sovereignty in the people’s hands, so that workers, peasants, women and youth can set the agenda for society.
Indian Council of Trade Unions
We salute the spirit of Ghadar and of the struggles since then against imperialism. The changes that have taken place over the past 100 years have not liberated us from the clutches of imperialism. All oppositional forces should unite against imperialism and its junior partner in India. We should unite and advance on the path of Ghadar – to create a new world.
Popular Front of India
This is not the kind of Hindustan our ancestors sacrificed their lives to create. Criminals are sitting on the throne. It is called democracy but we do not experience freedom. The English Dictionary says democracy means rule for the people, by the people and of the people. What we have today is not for the people but for the four enemies of our people, including imperialism, capitalism, communalism and casteism. It is not by the people but the rulers buy the people. Instead of rule of the people, it is off with the people, switch off the voices of protest. One day the Ghadar will triumph and the Sun will rise for us all!
Subhash Yuva Morcha
The Ghadaris said that Revolution is our faith, our name and our work. They fought against British colonial rule. Today we are fighting against the domination of British imperialist ideas and institutions. We have to know how to keep Ghadar alive. Democracy of some kind was established in 1947, maybe an advance of just one centimetre, but still an advance. The issue is how to get power in the people’s hands and how to wield that power, so as to steer society towards the desired goal. Once we decide, we must be determined and never budge. That is how we can keep the Ghadar tradition alive.
Brick Kiln Workers UnionI salute the Communist Ghadar Party. Today also we find our people having to work in inhuman conditions, exploited, living in poverty. The dream of the Ghadar movement is not yet fulfilled. In our area, we are organizing the brick kiln workers, to fight for their rights and for better conditions of work and better wages, The conditions of our people will improve only when these exploiters are thrown out of power and we have the rule of the workers and peasants.
Hansraj Siwach, peasant leader of HaryanaToday’s rulers have forgotten the words and deeds of our martyrs. I say this openly. I am not afraid. Looters are ruling the country. Workers and peasants are suffering. The central government is sending the wealth we produce to Italy. We are caught in this system managed by the traitors. The political leaders are just dealers. Our Prime Minister is under remote control from America. We are still enslaved to foreign interests. Guns have been used against peasants and workers in our state. We must unite with Communist Ghadar Party.
Samagra Bharat Natya Manch
We will create a new history with our struggle – which these rulers can never forget. Revolution will definitely triumph one day. The exchange value of the Rupee has fallen by 66 times over the past 66 years! Independence has become a very heavy burden on our backs, with government debt rising every year. Parliament is like a fish market.
Yet Another Ghadar
Death will come one day or another,
But before we breathe our last, let us create a storm!
Let us transform the existing state of affairs so much,
That history will report yet another Ghadar!
Hazare has given up screaming, but we don’t have a lokpal
Hunger strikes at Jantar Mantar have failed to shake the corruption,
Let us shake the foundation of this fascist rule,
That history will report yet another Ghadar!
On matters of interest of our country, they are aloof
But their hands are in every scam from coalgate and spectrum,
‘O my friend, how can we end this state of affairs,
When such scenes abound the Parliament itself,
Let us get rid of this tumult to such an extent,
That history will report yet another Ghadar!
They are turning flowers into deadly poison,
Mankind is being turned into burning ambers,
We were smelting iron to make toys,
But they insist on molding weapons from it
Let us crush their resolve so much,
That history will report yet another Ghadar!
Let us transform the existing state of affairs so much,
That history will report yet another Ghadar!
That history will report yet another Ghadar!
Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha
The aim of Ghadar was to end British rule and establish lok raj. The power to decide should be in people’s hands. But in 1947 a minority took power in its hands. Marx has clarified that the class that gains control of the means of production will wield political power. Today, working class youth are told not to be political, because it is dangerous for the present day rulers if youth begin to organise for change. The heroes of 1857 said “Hum hain iske maalik”. Yes, we are fighting for the power to decide the course of our society. We, the workers, peasants, women and youth must decide what kind of India we want.
1. Ghadar Jari Hai...
We, the people who have gathered in Delhi on 15th September, 2013 to celebrate Ghadar Centenary,
Observe with concern that
The labour and resources of our people are still being exploited and plundered by native and foreign capitalists;
Our society is still to be liberated from imperialist plunder, national oppression, capitalist exploitation, feudal bondage and the degradation of human beings on the basis of caste and gender;
The rulers of our country defend her loot and plunder, unleashing brute force to silence those who resist this injustice.
We conclude that
The goal and aspiration for which Hindustan Ghadar Party was formed, the liberation of Indian society from all forms of enslavement, exploitation and oppression, is still to be fulfilled; and
We shall continue the struggle to achieve a radical rupture with the colonial legacy; and to lay new foundations for a civilised India that respects and defends the rights of all members of society and all constituents of the union, and guarantees prosperity and protection for all.
2. No to imperialist war against Syria!
We, the people who have gathered in Delhi on 15th September, 2013 to celebrate Ghadar Centenary, unequivocally condemns US imperialism for threatening to launch a war of aggression against Syria and her people. We call upon the people of our country and all political forces to unite and oppose imperialist war against Syria. We demand that the government of India take a firm stand opposing US war against Syria in all international fora. Let us unite with all the peoples of the world to prevent the imperialist war against Syria.