Archive for Ghadar Party

Red Salute to Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on July 25, 2009 by Umer

Last of the Ghadar revolutionaries 

The revolutionary movement, and all Indian progressives and patriots, lost the last living link with one of the most glorious pages of India’s anti-imperialist history when Comrade Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, popularly known as Baba Bilga, passed away on 22 May in Birmingham at the age of 102.

Baba Bilga was the last surviving member of the Ghadar Party, a revolutionary party of Indians overseas, founded in California, USA, in 1913, pledged to the liberation of India from British colonial rule by means of armed struggle.

He was born on either 1 or 2 April 1907, the same year as the great revolutionary martyr, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, in the village of Bilga in Punjab’s Jalandhar district. His village was known as a baghi (rebel) one by the British rulers and several of its young men were to join the Ghadar Party.

Not untypically, his early life was hard. His father, Hira Singh Sanghera, died when he was one year old. As he recalled in later years: “My maternal aunt took me to her village, Ajitwal in Moga district. She soon died of plague. Her husband and my maternal grandmother brought me up.”

Seeking work, Baba Bilga went to Kolkata and from there to Burma, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chile and finally to Argentina in 1931 at the age of 24. It was there that he met Ajit Singh, the uncle of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, who won him to the cause of revolution. He worked as a clerk in a railway store and became the General Secretary of the Ghadar Party in Argentina.

Revolutionary history of the Ghadar Party

The Ghadar Party’s roots lay in the struggle against discrimination faced by Indian immigrants to Canada and the USA, but its focus was on freeing India from British colonial rule. The first issue of the party paper, published in November 1913, wrote:

“Today there begins in foreign lands, but in our country’s tongue, a war against the British Raj… What is our name? Revolution. What is our work? Revolution. Where will the revolution be? In India. The time will soon come when rifles and blood will take the place of pens and ink.”

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