Ghadar Party Centennial Celebration
Hammond Mill provided housing for their employees in these three-story "bunk houses" on the left and in the row of houses in the right forefront of this image. In the distance ships are being loaded with lumber for shipment to distant ports. CCHS image #6816.906
Astoria will host a celebration October 4 and 5, 2013 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the founding meeting of the Ghadar Party, which was held in the local Finnish Socialist Hall in Astoria, Oregon in May 1913.
That Astoria was the birthplace of such a significant political movement was largely unknown until an article written by Johanna Ogden appeared in Oregon Historical Quarterly in the summer of 2012. An excerpt from the article provides a sense of perspective:
The revolutionary nationalist Ghadar Party was "an uncompromising and radical new direction in Indian nationalist politics," writes Ogden. "Created by the Asian Indians of the U.S. West Coast, Ghadar's aim was nothing less than the armed overthrow of British rule in India. The group included intellectuals such as (Har) Dyal as well as students, but its ranks were the laboring Punjabi men who worked the (Columbia River) region's mills and farms. Men from the length of the Columbia River and beyond filled the hall that May in Astoria. Within a year of the meeting, hundreds of Punjabis, overwhelmingly laborers from the West Coast led by Sohan Singh Bhakna from Portland, returned to India with the hope of sparking an insurrection against British rule. Most were promptly captured, detained, tried or executed." 1
Ogden goes on to note that Ghadar's political platform brought together an unprecedented mix of social castes and religious backgrounds. The movement is recognized in Indian historiography as the "opening salvo" of the Indian nationalist endeavor. 2
The article in Oregon Historical Quarterly sparked interest among historians and scholars, and was followed by a public speaking engagement in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2012 attended by more than 300 people. When a request was made of Astoria's City Council to support some type of commemoration of the Ghadar Party's founding meeting - perhaps in the way of a lecture or simple presentation - the Council embraced the opportunity to bring another piece of the city's immigrant history to light. An official proclamation was issued and plans swiftly went into motion for a 2-day event to be held in the fall of 2013.
1 Johanna Ogden, "Ghadar, Historical Silences, and Notions of Belonging: Early 1900s Punjabis of the Columbia River," Oregon Historical Quarterly Vol. 113, No. 2 (Summer 2012), p. 164.
2 Ibid., p. 164, 166.
Program of Event
Event details will be updated further as they become available.
This event is generously sponsored by:
The following activities are open to the public and are FREE.
Friday, October 4, 2013
|5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Hampton Inn Hotel, with music/entertainment by Bollywood Dreams Entertainment
||Screening of the film Turbans
Hampton Inn Hotel
|8:15 p.m||Screening of the film A Dream In Doubt
Hampton Inn Hotel
Saturday, October 5, 2013
|10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Liberty Theater (doors open at 9:30 a.m.)
|12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
||Break for Lunch
Self-guided tours, maps provided
|2:00 - 2:30 p.m.
||Garden of Surging Waves/Heritage Square Introduction
Corner of 11th and Duane Streets
|3:00 - 3:30 p.m.||Ghadar Centenary Historical Plaque Ceremony
Maritime Memorial Park, 204 W. Marine Drive
|5:00 - 6:00 p.m.||Social Hour and Video Booth
Heritage Museum, 1618 Exchange Street
|7:30 p.m.||Screening of the film Continuous Journey
Hampton Inn Hotel
|9:15 p.m.||Q&A with the filmmaker, Ali Kazimi|
For more information contact the Clatsop County Historical Society at:
503.325.2203 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.