1st letter

The existing Gadar Memorial Hall (center) will be restored. (Google maps photo)

At the centenary celebration of the Gadar Movement, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, during his inaugural address at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Kochi on Jan. 8, 2013, said:

"This year, we are celebrating the centenary of the Gadar Movement, which was a luminous spark of support in distant California for the struggle for independence being waged at home in our country. Apart from commemorating it by the issue of a special postage stamp, we will also upgrade the Gadar Memorial in San Francisco into a functional museum and library with a sculpture to honor the Gadari Babas, the heroes of the great movement."

Earlier, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, responsible for the organization of the annual Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, in his speech at the inaugural event for PBD 2013, said, "This is the centenary of the Gadar Movement when migrants from India settled in Canada and USA rose in their opposition to British rule in India, unmindful of the consequences in their love for motherland. Today is also a day to pay homage to them." Later in the afternoon, Gadar historian and scholar Prof. Harish Puri, formerly of Guru Nanak Dev University, spoke for 45 minutes in a plenary session devoted exclusively to Gadar Movement.

After a long wait, the Government of India has hired architect-consultant Iyer & Associates for restoration of the historic Gadar Memorial. On March 6, 2019, Ambassador Sanjay Panda, Consul General of India, San Francisco, signed an agreement with the architect. The historic agreement was signed in the Gadar Hall in the presence of several community representatives from San Francisco, Fresno, Stockton and Los Angeles.

The Hindustan Association of the Pacific Coast, known as the Gadar Party, was founded in 1913 to free India from British slavery. The headquarters of the association was established initially at 436 Hill Street, San Francisco ,and named as "Yugantar Ashram." Subsequently, it was moved to a three-storey building at the current location, 5 Wood Street. An electric press was installed for the weekly Gadar journal and other revolutionary publications to propagate and promote the aims, objectives and activities of the organization.

Lala Har Dyal, first secretary general of the Association and editor of Urdu Gadar Journal, Kartar Singh Sarabha, editor of the Punjabi edition, and other volunteers responsible for the printing and mailing of the weekly Gadar Journal and other publications, lived and worked in the building. Over a period of time, the building became known as "Gadar Ashram.”

After India became independent, the Gadar building was handed over to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco in 1949. The building was in a dilapidated condition. The Government of India approved $83,000 for a two-storey building while more funds were raised from the Indian community in California. The new building was named Gadar Memorial Hall. Sardar Swaran Singh, the then Minister of External Affairs, performed the ground-breaking ceremony in September 1974. India's Ambassador T.N. Kaul performed the inauguration ceremony in March 1975.

The Gadar Memorial Hall is the living symbol of the glorious sacrifices of the Gadarites who, in the words of former President K.R. Narayanan, “faced untold misery and hardships in pursuit of their objective and even made the supreme sacrifice of laying down their lives.”

In 2003, in order to create awareness among the new generation of Indian Americans, Inder Singh of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Niraj Baxi of National Federation of Indian American Associations and Global Punjabi Diaspora organized a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Gadar Movement by holding a day-long seminar followed by a banquet in the evening at the Santa Clara Hilton. Former President of India K.R Narayanan traveled from India to the U.S. to be the chief guest. 

In June 2011, Inder Singh of GOPIO handed over a letter to India's Consul General in San Francisco, asking the Government of India to commemorate the centenary of the Gadar Movement at a grand scale, issue a postage stamp commemorating the Gadar Movement, etc. A similar request was made to the ambassador of India and several other high ranking officials and ministers. GOPIO also sent a request to the prime minister of India, followed by personal contact with his office, and worked closely with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

GOPIO, several organizations and individuals and descendants of Gadari Babas have been relentlessly pursuing with various agencies of the government and were overjoyed to hear the announcement by the prime minister of India at PBD 2013 that the Gadar Memorial Hall in San Francisco will be upgraded into a "functional museum and library with a sculpture to honor the Gadari Babas, the heroes of the great movement."

Inder Singh

Executive Trustee,

GOPIO Foundation

Via E-mail

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