US state plans to introduce India’s Ghadar Party’s works in school course

Ghadar Party
Ghadar Party
Ghadar Party

ASTORIA, Oregon: Students in America’s Oregan state will soon be studying about the Ghadar Party, top state officials announced, as hundreds of people gathered here to mark the 105th anniversary of the founding conference of the revolutionary group that contributed in India’s freedom movement.
The historic city of Astoria on the western coast of the US was a thriving city, as per official records, and home to 74 Hindu men, mostly Sikhs from Punjab, in 1910. These Indians, who worked as laborers in a local lumber company, came together to mark the first founding conference of the Ghadar Party. “Over a century ago, the Ghadar Party made strides in both India and the West that paved the way for Indian independence from colonial Britain when facing harsh discrimination Sikhs and Punjabi turned to the law and demanded justice,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown said during the event organized by the Ghadar Memorial Foundation.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen F Rosenblum said this historic event some 105 years ago would became part of the curriculum of the schools in the state. “The Ghadar Party found Astoria and Oregon more welcoming than other parts of the West coast,” she said. “Your history here is complex and subject to much of the same racism and classism that we face today where America has been willing to let outsiders in to do an essential work here but has too often been unwilling to recognize these outsiders rights to the full benefits and privileges of being an American citizen,” Rosenblum said.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to oppose this basic injustice. I want you to know that I’m thrilled that you have found a home here in this state,” she said. The day-long event on the banks of the Columbia River was addressed by several community leaders with Sikhs’ performing martial arts and Bhangra. The celebrations were attended by several hundred Indian-Americans from in and around Oregon, including from neighboring Washington, California and as far as British Columbia in Canada, was held in a park adjoining the building that hosted the first meeting of Indians in May-June 1913 that laid the foundation of the party.

In the decades that followed, the first meeting of the Ghadar Party in Astoria had no mention in history till a few years ago local historian Johanna Ogden found out about it during her research. She then wrote to the Astoria City Council. The then Mayor installed a “Ghadar Party” plaque in the park in recognition of the 100 years of the first meeting. “Though Ghadar was unsuccessful at the time, the meetings here helped to set in motion the events that finally led to their self-governance and freedom,” the plaque reads.
Last year, the plaque was stolen. Astoria City reinstalled it with the help of local community leaders. Successful Indian-American businessman Bahadur Singh organized the community members to form the Ghadar Memorial Foundation of Astoria. “This is the place where the seeds of the Ghadar Party were laid over a century ago. It is our endeavor to revive it for the future generations,” said Bahadur Singh, who runs a chain of several dozen grocery stores in Oregon. The Ghadar Memorial Foundation of Astoria plans to make it an annual event and create a permanent memorial for the founders of the party in Astoria. PTI

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