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Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
Dr. Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Baba Hari Singh Usman was born in a Grewal family in 1880 at Badowal, District Ludhiana. As was the tradition that most Jat Sikhs joined the Army he too joined the British Indian Army but served it for a short spell up to the age of 27. He along with thousands of Indians went to the U.S.A. in 1907 to earn his livelihood. Being a sturdy peasant, he could have earned a lot there, through sheer hard labor, but instead, found the atmosphere choking, because the slave Indian coolies were an object of contempt and ridicule in a free society. This aroused feelings of patriotism and national pride in him and he plunged his heart and soul into the Gadar Party Movement launched by Lala Hardyal, Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, and other revolutionaries.

Taking advantage of the weakness of the British power due to their involvement in a global war with Germany, the Gadar Party planned an armed uprising in India. In 1914, Baba Hari Singh was entrusted with the delicate but dangerous task of accompanying a shipload of arms and ammunition, procured with German assistance, to centers of rebellion in India. But the British Naval Intelligence got scent of the adventure, and after hot pursuit forced Babaji and his compatriots to consign the ill-fated cargo to the sea and take refuge in Jawa (Indonesia) after the assassination of his comrades on the ship. Babaji somehow escaped their fate. He retired deep into the Jungle and mountainous territory of Jawa and with the active assistance of an Indian Settler, he assumed the name and acquired the passport of a Pathan servant, Usman Khan, who had died just before.

The gates of his return to India having been sealed, under Govt. directions to shoot at sight, he was obliged to settle down in Indonesia, till the opportune time. There, he married a local beauty of the Sandanish race and Muslim faith, and again with the cooperation of the German Consul to Indonesia, got jobs in Tea, Rubber, and Coffee plantations. The years that followed made substantial additions to his fortune and family.

But the patriotic fervor still kept burning in deep recesses of his soul. The Second World War provided Indians another opportunity to break the shackles of slavery. He readily offered his services to the Japanese, who were then giving a tough time to the British. In liaison with their secret service, he started working among the Indian forces in South East Asia to arouse their patriotic feelings against British Imperialism. "He played a very significant role in the foundation of the Indian Independence League and the Indian National Army and became Secretary in the Overseas Recruiting Department in the League Headquarters, which role brought him in close contact with Netaji Subash Chandra Bose." Here, on the South Eastern Front, his elder son Mr. Hira Singh Handry, who was born and brought up in Indonesia, laid down his life, fighting for the freedom of his 'Fatherland.'

A friend and admirer of the Japanese for their valor and valuable assistance, Baba Usman openly criticized them for their imperialistic designs towards India and alleged rape of Indian womanhood at the hands of their soldiers in the occupied territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. For this outspokenness, he had to pay dearly with insults and injuries.

In 1945, as a result of the atomic bomb attacks, Japan was compelled to lie low and surrender. The British being victors, most of the Indian patriots, fighting against them, were forced to flee for their lives and limbs. Baba Hari Singh Usman, therefore, went back to Indonesia, but his restless spirit gave him no peace. The Indonesian struggle for Independence was in full swing and his sympathies were naturally, with the native population. This earned him the wrath of the ruling Dutch. On the charge of helping the rebels, he was captured, mercilessly beaten, and put behind the bars along with other Indonesian patriots. On another occasion, a group of religious fanatics nearly cut his life short. But he was yet to live another quarter-century to see and taste the fruit of freedom!

With the help of some Indian merchant friends in Jakarta, he secured his release from the prison, and in October 1948, set foot on the soil of free India, after an absence of 41 years, to spend the rest of his days in his ancestral village, Badowal, near Ludhiana. One of his daughters and her husband, who are Indonesian citizens, helped their aged parent build a small beautiful house, outside the village, in the lap of nature, near the High School, where he took a keen interest in the welfare of the students. There, in seclusion, he expired on Independence Day, 1969, after a brief illness. He was one of the oldest-living veteran freedom-fighter to go almost unknown, unlamented, and unsung, like so many of his comrades-in-arms. His long life was a saga of struggles and sacrifices.

The following Grewals took an active part in the Freedom Struggle of the country: 1. Panth Ratan Bhai Randhir Singh Ji of Narangwal village. 2. Giani Nahar Singh Grewal, B.A. Village Gujarwal. 3. Baba Harnam Singh Ji Gujjarwal. 4. Bhai Sajan Singh Ji Narangwal. 5. Shaheed Kartar Singh Grewal, Sarabha. 6. Sardar Sajan Singh Grewal, village Narangwal.

swarn bains

Apr 8, 2012
most significant people in gadar movement were kashi ram from village madauli. he was the treasurer of gadar party. he owned a mill in oragon. he paid most of the expenses of gadar party. as i heard that he was hanged in his village near morinda.
the next person most important in the party was gulabo. she was going to cnada after being married to a canadian sikh. they met the ship at manila and the people of gadar party asked them to join the movement. the husband did not agree and left for canada but gulabo joined the group and came back to india. she was from a village bakshi wala. she stayed with kartar singh till the final days. she spied for the leaders and cooked food for them. finally she was arrested and sentenced for life. she died in jail at lahore in 1931. these two people did the most for the gadar party but no one knows or talks aboaut them. they are the real heros
no body talks about them because there is no body to advertise their names. the best of all was sohan singh bhakna. he got sick while the ship was held at the harbour and went to hospital and did not die. he is still calleds the founder of the party but what a way to escape from being hanged