Remembering Kartar Singh Sarabha
Kartar Singh Sarabha was one of the first to sacrifice his life for India’s freedom. He was 15 years old in 1912 when he came for higher education at U.C. Berkeley.
|Kartar Singh Sarabha was one of the first to sacrifice his life for India’s freedom. He was 15 years old in 1912 when he came for higher education at U.C. Berkeley. On reaching San Francisco, the teenager was asked humiliating questions by the Immigration department. He saw other Indians being subjected to similar treatment while potential immigrants with Caucasian features were let in with the barest of formalities.He asked someone sitting next to him as to why this was happening. “It is because Indians are slaves,” he was told. The degrading experience stayed etched in young Kartar’s memory.|
Kartar Singh met other like-minded Indians at the university campus and came to learn more about the injustices being meted out to the Indian expatriate community. Several students used to work as farm labor during the summer or winter breaks and faced unequal treatment. Kartar had also worked as a fruit picker alongside several other Sikh laborers and knew of the racial slurs that were thrown at them. He had realized that they were paid less than other farm workers because of the color of their skin.