Retired School Principal Honoured For Keeping The Story Of A Muslim Freedom Fighter Alive


The Vancouver-based Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) honoured Sarwan Singh Aujla, a retired school principal from Punjab and an author for keeping the story of Rehamt Ali Wajidke alive.

Wajidke was a member of the Ghadar Party that was formed in North America in 1913 by the Indian immigrants to fight back against British occupation of their home country and racism abroad. He was hanged in 1915 for his participation in the conspiracy to overthrow the British Empire after returning to India.

His family had migrated to Pakistan after it was separated from India in 1947 on religious lines.

Aujla had served at the government public school in Wajidke, the native village of Rehmat Ali.

He was instrumental in getting the school renamed after the Ghadar hero and had also traced his descendants in Pakistan and brought them to India where they were duly honoured by the Punjab government in 1970s.

Aujla has also authored a book on Wajidke and has been highlighting his story through his columns in the local newspapers as well.

On the occasion of 70 years of the partition when hostilities between the two countries have grown, Aujla was honoured to recognize his contribution to strengthening cross-cultural bondings and human relationships, beyond religious and nationals boundaries at a public event held in Surrey on Thursday evening.

The IAPI that was recently formed to raise voice against the violence against minorities, especially Muslims under a right wing BJP government in India, decided to honour Aujla to show respect to the Muslim freedom fighters whose role is either being misrepresented or ignored by the historians owing allegiance to the Hindu Right. This is despite the fact that the Hindu right wing groups had no role in the freedom movement. Yet, Muslims are frequently being dubbed as traitors by the supporters of the current government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Aujla who shared his story on the occasion called upon the people of India to carry forward the struggle of Ghadar Party for a secular and egalitarian society and denounce attacks on religious minorities.

Others who spoke at the event included prominent social justice activist Charanpal Gill, whose maternal grandfather Dulla Singh was also a Ghadar Party member, Media Waves Radio Host Dr. Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians Leader Shahzad Nazir Khan, MLA Rachna Singh and IAPI co-founder Gurpreet Singh. The speakers were unanimous in their criticism of growing bigotry both in India and North America. They emphasized that the fight against Hindu extremism and white supremacy must continue.

Others present were IAPI co-founder Parshottam Dosanjh, Naujawan Bharat Sabha activist Kulwinder Singh, former Student Federation of India leader Hardev Singh and People’s Front Leader Bhupinder Malih.


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