Ghadar and Har Dayal

Har Dayal: Har Dayal was a brilliant if erratic thinker whose political philosophy, according to Don Dignan, “was a distinctive amalgam of western anarchism and Hindu revivalism, [which] did not prevent him from welding together into the first purely secular Indian revolutionary organization a cross-section of very disparate groups and individuals who comprised the hitherto unorganized and sporadic revolutionary movement.”5

He first publicly articulated the principles of what biographer Emily Brown shorthands “Hardayalism” circa 1907, and published them in the Paris Bande Mataram in 1909. The program called for three stages toward a completed revolution: first, moral and intellectual preparation, by which “the spirit of the slave must disappear;” secondly war, by which “the debris of the old regime must be removed” and the “way… declared for the establishment of a free and sovereign state managed by the people;” and finally independence, in which Òthe work of reconstruction and consolidation commences.”6 After a few peripatetic years of soul searching, which included studying both Marxism and Buddhism in Martinique and Hawaii — where he supposedly had the requisite encounter with Sun Yat Sen– Dayal arrived in San Francisco in 1911, where he had been invited to help mold the disaffected laborers and radical students into a powerful unified movement aiming for “social acceptance and economic equality,”7 presumably within the U.S. context. Having agreed to undertake the task, Dayal simultaneously accepted a lectureship in Indian philosophy at Stanford until his discomfort with the restraints thereby placed on his controversial political activities led to his resignation in 1912. The university then disavowed all connection with him, not least because of his public statements in support of young people practicing free love in defiance of the oppressive institution of marriage.

Between 1911 and1914 Dayal also gave regular lectures on labor and revolution at the San Francisco and Oakland IWW halls, reportedly serving the Wobblies for a time as the San Francisco branch secretary. He founded the Radical Club (a.k.a. the International-Radical-Communist-Anarchist Club) as a meeting place for an eclectic array of social, political and intellectual non-conformists, as well as the more specialized Bakunin Club. A supporter of the Magon brothers, Dayal also encouraged his Ghadar readers to learn from the examples of the Russian and Mexican revolutions. Although I do not know if he ever encountered the Magons personally, many local IWW members had recently participated in their invasion of Baja California, in some ways a political control case for the same military expedition prohibition which would come to haunt the Ghadarites. Finally, Dayal established what he called the Bakunin Institute on land donated near Oakland as a “monastery” for his proposed Fraternity of the Red Flag. Calling on members to pursue personal development through voluntary renunciation and self-discipline, its formal principles stated its dedication to the ultimate abolition of capital, private property, government, religion, race-feeling, patriotism, and marriage, since it led to the subjugation of women. Regarding the latter, Lahiri and Dayal both advocated that any revolutionist who was already married, rather than keeping his wife at home, should encourage her to pursue education and training as an equal worker for the cause. But given the dearth of females among the California student radicals, this declaration remained rhetorical.

Chenchiah recalled an occasion on which Lahiri publicly berated Dayal for wasting his time dabbling in anarchism, free love and social philosophy when he should have been focused solely on liberating India. But Dayal maintained all along– as would Gandhi– that this immediate political goal was only one component of a much more comprehensive social, cultural, economic and philosophical transformation. Insofar as Ghadarites identified with this phase of Dayal’s ideas, and insofar as these ideas were influential in shaping the movement, it was a vision of an anarchist society. Still, even among the diasporic radical intellectuals, revolutionary ideology was not monolithic. Har Dayal’s name was associated with anarchism and M.N. Roy’s virtually synonymous with Indian communism, while Barakatullah’s linked Ghadar to progressive Pan-Islamism. Taraknath Das, with his comprehensive geopolitical analysis, connected it to Pan-Asianism. But the addition of the Sikh factor introduced even more multiplicity to the character of the movement.



Retrieved google cache of as on on 8 Aug 2011 08:18:22 GMT.

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