Lala hardayal singh
lala hardayal singh
Hardayal will always be remembered for his patriotism, courage and sacrifice for the freedom of India. He played a very prominent role as a revolutionary in Europe and U.S.A.
Lala Hardayal was born in Delhi on October 14, 1884. His father Gauri Dayal Mathur was employed in the District Court. He had four sons Hardayal was the youngest. Hardayal imbibed the spirit of learning from his father. From his mother, a devout Hindu, Hardayal acquired an abiding interest in ancient scriptures and books on religion. Hardayal started schooling at an early age. His extraordinary intelligence and phenomenal memory were visible right from his school days. He was blessed with a photographic memory, as he could repeat a whole book faultlessly. Hardayal was yet a student when he was married.
lala hardayal singh contd….
Hardayal graduated from the St. Stephen’s College at Delhi. He did his M.A. in English literature in 1903 and M.A. in History in 1904 from Lahore. His fame had already reached the students’ community at Lahore. Wherever he went about in the town, students would point at him <(There goes Hardayal.” Once a Maharashtrian came to the Punjab and performed some feats of memory at Lahore. After witnessing these feats Hardayal said: “Well, what of that ! I think, I too, could do similar things.” And actually he did five things at one and the same time. He played at chess, he counted the ringing of the bell. Some students of Arabic and Latin recited certain verses. Hardayal repeated those correctly. A problem of arithmetic was set before him. He did that successfully. Whenever such feats of memory were performed by Hardayal, he felt giddy at the end.
lala hardayal singh contd….
Lala Hardayal got the state scholarship in 1905 when he went to England. He joined at the Balliol College, Oxford. In London, Pandit Shyamji Krishna Varmat had founded the India House for Hindu Students. Vanayak Damodar Savarkar was then staying there. Lala Hardayal used to go to India House. In 1907, Mr. Gokhale met Bhai Parmanand and requested him to ask Hardayal to become a life-member of the Servants of India Society. Hardayal told, “One of the rules of your society is that every member should be loyal to the British Government. My conscience does not permit this.” “Could you then, suggest any other means of India’s independence ?” retorted Mr. Gokhale. “I hold that by pushing on the path of the evolution we can achieve our goal with the help of the British.” “Yes”, Lala Hardayal cut him short, “but then you can’t enthuse any people for feedom.”
lala hardayal singh contd….
In 1907 the political scene in India was changing rapidly. The Swadeshi and the boycott movements in Bengal had stirred up the whole of the country. In the Punjab things took an unusual turn. The movement of non-payment of revenue began in the District of Lyallpur. The Punjab Government felt uneasy. It began to see red in everything. Sardar Ajit Singh, uncle of Bhagat Singh, was arrested and Lala Lajpat Rai was deported to Mandalay. These arrests sparked of agitation in the minds of Indian students in London and other places. Lala Hardayal also was stirred. He met Bhai Parmanand and said, “I have a mind to leave the University of Oxford, go back to India and stir up a movement for the freedom of the Motherland.” Bhai Parmanand was of the opinion that Hardayal should finish his education, then he could do whatever he liked, Lala Hardayal went back only to turn with an agitated mind. In another meeting he told Bhai Parmanand that he had been to the office of the Secretary of State for India and had refused to accept the state scholarship. The then Under Secretary, Sir James Lyall, wanted to know the cause of Hardayal’s attitude. “I couldn’t tell you that,” replied Hardayal. “But there should be something,” remarked the Under Secretary. “Nothing particular,” answered Hardayal. “Mind you,” put in Sir James, “you are going wrong.” “Let that be so. You needn’t worry about it,” and so saying Hardayal came away.
lala hardayal singh contd….
He considered it a sin to accept the state scholarship of pounds two hundred or accept the Oxford degree even. He argued thus “All this education and these degrees are meant to denationalise us, Hindus. Suppose for a second that we Hindus conquer Afghanistan and begin to bring Pathans down to Benares, teach them Sanskrit and bestow upon them degrees of Shastri and Kavyatirtha. Will this not be denationalis¬ing them ?” The principal advised in vain Hardayal to wait till the conferment of the University degree and for that period the principal and the rest of the staff were prepared to arrange for his stay privately.
lala hardayal singh contd….
Lala Hardayal returned to Lahore to propagate his views. Hardayal wanted to establish Swarjya in India by discontinuing relations with Britain. His ideas of a complete political movement were: interpretation of our history and of the lives and deeds of our heroes ; stimulating a healthy national pride by impressing the idea of national continuity and unity ; (ii) criticism of the present regime and exposure of its manifold evils: and (iii) preparation for the inevitable struggle whether diplomatic, military or any other kind. Nationalism was the cornerstone of Hardayal’s ideas. “Patriotism”, he said, “must decay under a system which discourages the study of our national past. British educational policy separates the cultured classes from the common people, diminish their reverance and love for heroes of ancient and medieval India and curbs their political aspirations.” He returned to India in 1908 to work among his countrymen and arouse their spirits.
lala hardayal singh contd….
In Lahore he rented a room, and dressed himself like a Sadhu in white. Two chapatis from a bread maker and some dal in the morning and the same in the evening, that was his food. Once again he was a centre of attraction for the students/ community. Hundreds of them visited him. Hardayal preached pure and unalloyed Hindu Nationalism, which he considered to be the foundation of political independence for Hindustan. A series of articles on national education were published by Hardayal in an English daily of Lahore. Hardayal was once asked : How could you denounce the present system of education in Hindustan when you yourself are a product of the same ?” He replied, “I am what 1 am in spite the education imparted by the foreign Christians in the St. Stephen’s College. If I were a pro-duct of this system of education how is it that you don’t find so inany Hardayals ?” Mr. Turner, then Secretary of the Youngmen’s Christian Association, asked him in a letter if he could spare a few minutes for him. To this he replied only this much “Your mission of life is to convert Hindus to Christianity whereas I want to save them from Christianity-1 don’t think, therefore, there could be any use of such a Meeting/ The pie of Lala Hardayal irked the authorities in the Punjab. He was informed that his arrest was imminent. A question arose in his mind “Will it be of any good if I remain here in India and get myself ancsted or should I go to an independent country like France, and make that the centre of my activites ?” He decided in favour of the latter and went to Paris.
lala hardayal singh contd….
Before leaving India he met Lala Lajpat Rai and suggested ‘passive resistance’ as a weapon of struggle against the British. In 1910 he again come to India but returned again to Europe. In 1909, Madam Cama started a monthly journal’Bande Matram’ from Geneva. Flardayal very ably assisted her in editing this journal, which became the most eloquent organ of Indian revolutionaries abroad. In one of his editorials, Hardayal stated his techniques for fighting against imperialism. He wrote : “We hold that an enslaved nation must pass through three stages before it can again establish itself as a member of the comity of nations: (a) Moral and intellectual preparation… –The heart of the craven people must be purified ; the instincts of selfishness and all avarice must be destroyed ; the indifference to higher interest must be cut at the root; (b) the second stage is that of war ; the debris of the old regime must be removed and sword is the only agent that can perform this work. No subject nation can get freedom without war ; and (c) after the war, the work of reconstruction and consolidation commences.”
Many patriots of India who were opposed to the methods of the Indian National Congress had gathered in Paris. But after staying there for a very short time he left Paris for Algiers. But the natives there appeared to him uncivilized. At one time he found that even his life was in danger at their hands and he returned to Paris. Then he selected Martinique, a French Colony in the West Indies. Bhai Parmanand also came to Paris and stayed with Hardayal. Lala Hardayal was coaching one or two youngmen from whom he got a little money. Bhaiji and Hardayal spent their time in discussing problems of Hindustan or the philosophy of life. During his stay Bhaiji too, adopted Lala Hardayal’s way of simple living.
lala hardayal singh contd….
While in Europe Hardayal was deeply impressed with the intellectual advancement of France and Germany. He wrote, in Modern Review of Calcutta in July 1912 : Young men of India, look not for wisdom in the musty parehaments of your metaphyscial treatises Read Rousseavie, Plato, Spencer, Marx, Tolstoy and Ruskin”. Hardayal, who was an ardent Hindu, and believer of Vedas now stood for the study of modern sciences and sociology. Gautam Buddha was the ideal of Hardayal. Most of his time passed in studying in a library or in meditation in a cave on the hill beside. Bhaiji once asked him, “What’s the use of all this ? Will it do any good to you or to Hindustan or to the humanity at large ? Gautam Buddha did all he could on these lines but of what use is that to us ? Looked at the whole thing from one point of view it paved the way for the slavery of our country. U, however, you want to start any new movement better do that in America ; you have undergone enough of penance by now. Instead of Gautam Buddha let us have before ourselves Swami Vivekananda as our ideal. This ideal is needed both by India and the rest of the world.”
These words of Bhaiji’s had their effect. He went to the American University of Harvard and see what he could do there. At Harvard Lala Hardayal met Bhai Teja Singh. He told Lala Hardayal that in the State of California several thousand Sikhs and other Punjabi labourers worked on agricultural farms and patriotism surged in all of them. He prayed him to lead them upon which Lala Hardayal left for San Fransisco. He requested Bhaiji to come to San Fransisco which he did.
Lala Hardayal decided that some students from the Punjab and the rest of India be called to America for studying various industries at the cost of the Indian Society in America. Accordingly three students, one pf whom was Gobind Behari Lai, were formally invited, Bhai Pa.rmanand was independently studying Pharmacy in the California University at Berkley and San Fransisco. Lala Hardayal was invited by the University of Berkley to deliver three lectures in Sanskrit. Later he wrote for a big newspaper at Berkley one or two articles. The journal extolled Lala Hardayal very much in several issues.
Lala Hardayal delivered several lectures on the Bhagwad Gita in the Theosophical Hall at Berkley. The socialists caught hold of Lala Hardayal and began to do propaganda through him. Near San Fransisco, there is another University at Stanford. Lala Hardayal managed to get place in Sanskrit literature and Hindu philosophy. He did this work for full one year.
In 1911, a bomb was thrown at the Viceroy in Delhi. This led Lala Hardayal to think that the political movement in Tndia was still alive. When Lala Hardayal left Stanford some Punjabees suggested him to hold a conference at St. John. Lala Hardayal remarked “To further the cause of Ghaddar movement we have to run a newspaper and a printing press and for that we need funds.” The Ghaddar Society was established at San Fransisco with Lala Hardayal at its head. A printing press was set up and the Ghaddar was published. Ghaddar was published from San Fransisco every week. It was published in Hindi and English and first appeared on 1 November, 1913. Soon the journal became popular particularly in India. It openly advocated a revolt, and assured Indian revolutionaries of German help against Britain. By 1914, this journal began to be published in Gujarati, Pashtu, Gorkhali, Urdu and Gurumukhi, besides English and Hindi. Because of immense popularity and the importance attached to it by the British authorities the entire revolutionary movement associated with it came to be known as Ghaddar movement. Hardayal went a step further and organised the members of the so called Ghaddar Party into inner and outer circles. The members had to abide by the three basic regulations of the Party. One regulation said if any member leaked out any secret or misappropria¬ted the party funds he was liable to be punished with death. Copies of Ghaddar were sent to Tndia and other places where Indians lived. Just then the World War I broke out in Europe. Many Indians pledged their lives to the spread of revolution in India. They wanted to return to the Motherland to hold back Indian armies from going to the war-front, The Government got this information and arrested all of them as soon as their boats touched the shores of India. Those who escaped did try to stir up a revolution but they too were rounded up. In 1915 began the Lahore Conspiracy Case The Government stated that Hardayal and Bhai Parraanand knew a year before the war started that Germany and England were going to war and for that both of them had conspired. The British ambassador in America had reported that in the St. John Conference it was decided that Hardayal should lead the Ghaddar movement in America.
Lala Hardayal was arrested in America but was soon released on bail. He jumped the bail and reached Berlin where the Indian Revolu-tionaries’ Committee was constituted to do propaganda in favour of revolutions in Afghanistan and in India with the help of German money. For spreading revolutionary literature the Oriental Bureau was set in motion. The Bureau prepared several pamphlets and sent them to certain Indian States. Several Indians were sent to Central Asia, Iran and Japan. Some of them died on the way. In August 1916, a con-spiracy was unearthed in Kabul. It is said that the object of this movement was to unify Turks, Arabs, Afghans and the tribal chiefs of the North-Western Frontier of Hindustan so that they could invade Hindustan. It was thought that whereas certain fanatic mul’ahs would lead the Frontier tribes, the Sikhs in Hindustan would join hands with them and thus they would be able to upset the British rule. A “silken letter” helped the British in finding out the conspiracy.
When during the later part of the World War, the Germans saw no chance of success they began to treat the Indians indifferently. Hardayal tried to leave Germany. On getting information from a rival group the Berlin Government arrested him. Lala Hardayal was naturally disgusted with the Germans and their method of work. Somehow he got away to the neutral country of Sweden where he wrote his small book, “Forty months in Germany”. In it he criticised the autocratic ways of Germany and praised the spirit of democracy prevalent in Britain. It is said that the India Office used this as an instrument of propaganda and getting it translated in Hindi distributed it free of charge in the United Provinces. Lala Hardayal was penniless when he reached Molnlycke in Sweden. He had the knack of mastering languages. In two months’ time he began to deliver lectures in Swedish on History and Geography in some schools. For the general public he used to prepare written speeches. A month later he began to answer the queries of the public at the end of his lectures in Swedish itself. (Besides this he could speak and write in French, German, Turkish, Sanskrit, Persian, and Pali. In his later life he said he had only the Russian to learn.)
In 1926 Lala Lajpat Rai went to London. There he received a message from Lala Hardayal. Lala Lajpat Rai requested the India Office to permit Lala Hardayal to come to England and he was allowed in 3927 to stay in England on the condition that whenever he liked to go out he should apply to the Secretary of State.
While in London Lala Hardayal began to prepare for the Doctorate. He wrote a thesis which after its acceptance by the University of London was published as “Bodhisattva” by a London publisher. While working for the Ph. D. degree Lala Hardayal came in close contact with Dr. Younghusband (who by the way never asked Lala Hardayal about his past life.) In London, Lala Hardayal studied botany, zoology, physics, astronomy besides painting and sculpture. In this connection he visited France many times. For sometime he was studying Art in Greece also. In London he came in touch with various philosophical and religious societies at whose requests he delivered lectures from time to time. Several universities in countries like France and Denmark invited him to lectures. As Lala Hardayal lived a very simple life he could somehow manage to live on the money he got from the universities and the societies. His Swedish friends also helped him by defraying his fees and getting him books, old and new. His study in Edgware, suburb of London, contained more than five thousand books (that’s my rough estimate). Once some newcomers asked him certain questions about the Indian National Congress and Gandhiji’s movement. Lala Hardayal remarked: “How can an iron-m ater who has wielded heavy hammers say anything about the goldsmith’s tiny hammer?”
His “Hints”, however, impresses the reader with his erudition and vast reading, In his last book Twelve Great Religions, he has favoured humanism. Inspite of all this there was a burning desire in him to return to the Motherland. Tej Bahadur Sapru was very much impressed by him at a meeting in London. Lala Hardayal met CF. Andrews also. Both these gentlemen recommended him to the India Office for his return. Bhai Parmanand, too, while in London, tried to do whatever he could for him.
On November 15, 193!?, he wrote to a friend from Philadelphia “From London, I came over fo America in September, There were fears of war there. Now I shall stay here for a few months. I have to deliver some lectures. I received the official letters from the Government here in November. I was not sure that I would be allowed to go back to India. I wonder how some newspapers in India got this news in September. After a few months I shall manage to return.”
In a letter to him an admirer had asked him about his future pro-gramme. To this he replied thus “A thought lurks in my mind that in India it would be difficult to manage for my livelihood. Unemployment is already rampant among the educated there and I won’t be able to find any work .. As yet the amnesty has not been granted to me. For the membership of the Federal Assembly perhaps money will be required. But these things can be decided later on. If there is any such zone from where no other candidate stands then you can put forth my name. But not on the ticket of any particular party.”
AH of a sudden a news appeared in a Delhi daily that a month after La^a Hardayal died in Philadelphia. As usual he slept early in the night but was found dead in his bed on the following morning. This news plunged his admirers in grief.
Lala Hardayal will be remembered for his immense love for his country for whose freedom he sacrified his whole life.