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Barkatullah Bhopali: Great revolutionary who formed Govt of India in exile

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi



Field of battle: India

This was the call given by the Ghadar Party, the band of revolutionaries, for the cause of India’s freedom.

Barkatullah Bhopali, who was born in a poor family in Bhopal, was among those revolutionaries who dedicated their entire lives for the country.

The fiery leader of Ghadar Party had made the cause of India’s independence as his motto from the beginning. The scholar whose figure, wearing a red Turkish cap, has inspired generations, had made it a mission to liberate motherland from the British rule.

A companion of Lala Hardayal, another leading revolutionary, Barkatullah Bhopali felt that India needed to drive imperialistic forces out, and hence the revolutionaries must seek help from other nations.

Apart from organizing revolutionaries in US, Japan, Afghanistan, he met leaders of Russian revolution, visited dozens of countries where roused passions among Indians to join hands for the cause of Indian independence.

When the revolutionaries succeeded in forming the Government of India in Exile, Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was made the President while Barkatullah Bhopali was the Prime Minister. The aim of revolutionaries was to launch an attack against British and free the country from British rule.

The prevailing international politics, the post-WW I scenario and world powers' change of attitude, affected the plans. However, the revolutionary leaders were not the ones to sit down. From America to Japan, Barkatullah visited countries that supported Indian citizens' right to self-govern, trying to seek help to form grand alliance agains the British imperialists.

Throughout his life, he was followed by British intelligence. It was the role of Gadar Party and its leaders that lit the fire of freedom in hearts of Indians living across the world, and from USA to Malaya, the revolutionaries joined hands, and later joined the Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army.

Barkatullah was born on July 7, 1854. He had a cardiac arrest during his visit to USA and passed away in 1927. He is buried in San Francisco. Barkatullah didn’t live to see India attain freedom, but it was the efforts of these revolutionaries that gave impetus to Indian freedom struggle within and outside the country. 

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.