Canada-based NGO seeks syllabus on Gadar movement heroes in Punjab

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi named 21 islands of Andaman and Nicobar after Param Vir Chakra awardees, the Canada-based Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation on Tuesday asked the Punjab government to start a syllabus in educational institutions as a tribute to the Gadar movement heroes for their sacrifice to free India.

“We urged Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann last year to open a university in the name of Gadar patriots, but it has not been opened so far,” organization head Sahib Thind told the media here.

“We are going to meet the Chief Minister again to remind him about the promise to set up the university. Also we are going to demand to name villages, schools and streets in the ancestral places of those associated with the Gadar movement after their names,” Thind told IANS.

The Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation is also demanding that the contribution of the Gadar movement be introduced in the syllabi in schools and colleges.

The Gadar movement started in 1913 with the formation of the Hindustan Association of the Pacific Coast with its headquarters in San Francisco, US. It later became a nationalist movement to liberate India with the force of arms from British colonialism.

The foundation, a secular non-political human rights organization, has also been demanding an official apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in the British Parliament.

The Komagata Maru tragedy is a dark chapter in Canadian history. The foundation has been lobbying for an apology in the Canadian Parliament for more than two decades. On the insistence of the foundation, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologised in the House of Commons for the incident on May 18, 2016.

On May 23, 1914, a steamship arrived in Vancouver carrying 376 passengers who had hopes for a new life in Canada. After a long journey from India, the majority of the passengers — who were of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu origin — were denied entry into Canada due to the laws in existence at the time.

“The Komagata Maru incident is a stain on Canada’s past. But the history of our country is one in which we constantly challenge ourselves, and each other, to extend our personal definitions of who is a Canadian. We have learned, and will continue to learn, from the mistakes of our past. We must make sure to never repeat them,” Trudeau had said in front of the descendants of those directly affected by the incident.

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