The revolutionary Ghadar movement was established in the early 1900s to drive forward India’s independence from British rule. Throughout the struggle, South Asians in India and in the diaspora—including here in Vancouver—created strong networks to spread the word of freedom.
Think for a moment what our city would have looked like around 1914. Imagine travelling across the Sumas border into the United States to meet with others seeking a free India, or imagine seeing a copy of the Hindustanee for the first time. Imagine sitting with others in the basement of the West 2nd Avenue gurdwara, or attending a meeting in Dominion Hall. And imagine the conversations—conversations about the poor labour conditions in the mills; feelings of injustice and discrimination; the cold and wet winters; the troubles under British rule at home; whispers of the Komagata Maru coming; and, the need for revolution.
Along the west coast, meetings were held, pamphlets and publications circulated, and solidarity was built between communities and cultures. Ghadar poetry was one of many forms of expression that articulated people’s despair, poor social conditions, the desire for revolution, and the need to bring people together. Different ways to spread the message were an integral part of the Ghadar movement, a part of the movement that brought Indian communities together for the common goal of dismantling the British Raj’s colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent.
As a way to bring attention to South Asian history, the Ghadar movement and its poetry, and to make information about its history accessible to young people through the elders in our communities, VIBC is presenting an event called “Songs of Revolution” on March 19, 2015. Songs of Revolution will be a revolutionary event for VIBC, as it will combine a panel discussion about the Ghadar movement in the Lower Mainland with performance and a poetry recital.
Everyone is welcome to come to this remarkable event. Mark your calendars and see you on March 19th at SFU Surrey! (Note: seating is limited. To ensure your place, please click here:
Kade Mangyian Milann Azadiyan Na
Freedom is not obtained by begging
Hunde Tarliyan Naal Na Raj Loko
By appeals political power is not won
Karo Na Minnat Ainwe Bano Na Kaiyar
Do not petition like cowards
Fardo Talwar Ehnan Nahin Rahnna
Take the sword and they will run.
Ghadar Poem (anonymous)
Blog by Milan Singh and Mindy Ghag