Missing Sign

Donors, including Indian American business owners, have come forward in Astoria, Ore., saying they will pitch in to replace the city's Ghadar Party sign that had gone missing in late October. (Ghadar Party USA Centennial Celebration - Astoria, Oregon/Facebook photo)

Donors in Astoria, Ore., have said they will pitch in to help replace the bronze metal Ghadar Party sign that has been missing for months.

According to the Daily Astorian, local politicians and Indian American business owners have donated money to replace the sign memorializing an early 20th century Indian independence group that met in Astoria.

The sign went missing in late October and has yet to be located (see India-West article here).

State Sen. Betsy Johnson, former Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen, Warrenton-based Super Mart’s Indian American owner Lovekesh Kumar and his brother Bahadur Singh have donated $1,670 to cover the cost of its replacement, the report said.

“I am deeply disappointed that someone would go through the efforts of removing a sign that symbolizes the sacrifices that these Indian immigrants made to embark on the noble cause of freedom and liberty,” Van Dusen said in the report. “The history of these laborers that contributed greatly to the American economy and for the rights of their people back home deserve to be recognized.”

It is scheduled to be replaced by February, according to an Astoria Parks and Recreation Department press release.

“Having the means to help recognize the workers that inspired my country’s independence is a great honor.” Singh said, according to the report. “Immigrants sacrifice much to be able to live freely and me and my family are grateful to live in a community that recognizes that.”

The Ghadar (or Gadar) Party was an early 20th century Indian independence group that initially met in Astoria in May 1913 at the former site of the Finnish Socialist Hall.

The anti-colonialist party which worked toward India’s independence from Britain was led by Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims throughout the West Coast.

As declared by the California legislature in 1913 upon its founding, “The Ghadar Party was the first organized and sustained campaign of resistance to the British Empire’s occupation of the Indian subcontinent.”

From its base in California, the Ghadar Party sent 616 members to spark an independence movement in India, of whom 527 were Sikhs.

The sign was resurrected in 2013 in the centennial of the movement, memorializing the group, and was attached to a metal pole at Maritime Memorial Park.

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