November 2019 \ News \
The Power of Pen

Higher education in American universities was a powerful ...

By Inder Singh
  • Inder Singh, GOPIO?Chairman

Higher education in American universities was a powerful magnet for young Indians even in those days. The United States welcomed qualified Indian students seeking admissions in the American universities. Some students were able to get sponsorship from their princely states while others came with financial support from their families or got university scholarships. Many of these students went back to India after finishing their education while some found jobs in the universities or elsewhere. However, several students failed to get jobs matching their educational attainments. The Indian students attributed the prejudice and discrimination to their being nationals of a subjugated country. Many articulated nationalist feelings and started advocating freedom for India from the British serfdom. They formed organizations to collectively assert their right for independence for India.

Independence for India

Taraknath Das, a student, started publishing a magazine Free Hindustan in 1907 in Seattle, advocating armed rebellion against the British rule in India. Har Dyal had been a faculty member at Stanford University for about two years and was identified with the nationalist activities in the United States. He inspired many students studying at the University of California at Berkeley and channelized the pro-Indian, anti-British sentiment of the students for independence of India. At a meeting of some patriotic and enlightened Indians on April 23, 1913, in Astoria, Oregon, Har Dyal and others passionately spoke for throwing the British out of India and securing liberation by all means at their disposal. The Hindustan Association of the Pacific Coast was formed at this meeting with a major objective to liberate India from the British colonial rule. Many people became its members enthusiastically and supported it financially. Thus, this was the first attempt to mobilize the Indian nationals in the United States to join on a participatory basis to achieve a common goal – free India from the British serfdom.

Tags: Inder Singh