KESAR SINGH (1875?), one of the leading organizers and first vice-president of the Hindustani Association of the Pacific Coast (of the United States), more commonly known as the Ghadr Parly. Born in 1875, he was the son of Bhup Singh and came from the village of Thatgarh, in Amritsar district. He served for two years in a cavalry regimen l in India before going to Shanghai in 1902 where he worked as a watchman. In 1909, lie cmigatcd to the United States and settled in Astoria (Oregon), where he was employed in a lumbermill. Early in 1912, an organization known as the Hindustani Association was formed in Portland (Oregon) to look after llic interests of Indians in the United States.

Kcsar Singh was elected president of the branch established in Astoria and deputed to invite Har Dayal, a noted revolutionary, to come from Berkeley, California, to meet the various branches of the Association. Har Dayal accepted the invitation and was the principal speaker at meetings held in several parts of Oregon state. During this time the Hindustani Association of the Pacific Coast was founded. In addition to being elected vice-president, Kesar Singh was named a member of the fund raising committee of the central organization. He also served as president of the Astoria branch.

He later went to San Francisco and assisted in the setting up of a press at the Yugantar Ashram where the Association`s newspaper, Ghadr, was published. Kesar Singh was one of the participants in the meeting of the Ghadr Party held at the Yugantar Ashram in August of 1914 when it was decided to exhort all Indians lo return to India to make an armed rebellion against the British. He left for his native land at the end of that month, having been designated, according to later testimony at the first Lahore conspiracy trial, as “one of those whose instructions were to be followed.” On the voyage he addressed the passengers on several occasions to sustain their ardour. Reaching Hong Kong, Kcsar Singh lectured to gatherings at the Gurdwara and look part in meetings with other groups of Ghadritcs who had arrived by different ships.

He was elected a member of the central committee which was to plan action in India. En route from Hong Kong, Kesar Singh attempted to win over the troops at Penang, and when his ship was held over because of the activities of its passengers, he was one of the delegation which called upon the Governor of the State to have the ship released. When he arrived in India, he was declared to be a “dangerous” person under the Ingress Ordinance of 1914 and was interned in jail. Tried in the first Lahore conspiracy case (1915), he was convicted and sentenced to death, with forfeiture of property. Although he refused to petition for mercy, his sentence was commuted to transportation for life by the Viceroy, Lord Hardingc. Kcsar Singh is said to have been taken ill after Independence and was admitted to a hospital in Amritsar from where, according to some reports, he “disappeared and never returned.”

References :

1. Jas, Jaswant Singh, Desh Bhagat Babe Jalandhar, 1975
2. Deol, G.S., Ghadar Parti ate Bharat da Qau)iii Andnlun. Amritsar, 1970
3. Sainsara, G.S., Ghadr Parti da llihas. Jalandhar, n.d. `1. Nahar Singh, Giani, Auidi dian Lahiran. Lndhiana,
4. Mallnir, I.P., Indian /{evolutional Movement in the