The South Asian Times

24 August 2019 11:44 AM

Ambassador Harsh Vardhan reveals plans for Gadar Memorial restoration


San Francisco: Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla revealed plans for the restoration of the historic Gadar Memorial at a special reception here June 21 afternoon.

Arvind Iyer, the chief architect on the project will submit a final proposal to the San Francisco Planning commission after consultations with the city’s Fire Department, building inspector, and the police department.

The Planning Commission is expected to take 3-4 months to approve the project, during which time residents in the small neighborhood in San Francisco’s Richmond District must be informed. The project will then be posted on the San Francisco City Council’s consent calendar for final approval, barring any push-back from neighbors, said Iyer.

The Gadar Memorial was initially built in 1914 and refurbished in 1974. It is the birthplace of the Gadar Party, a movement led primarily by Indian Americans to support India’s independence from the British. The movement was led and funded primarily by Sikh American farmers from the Central Valley and students at UC Berkeley.

The hall had an electric printing press onsite, which printed out 10,000 copies of a six-page newspaper every week, which was then distributed throughout the U.S. and sent by ship to India, according to Inder Singh, chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin. The newspaper was first written in Urdu by Lal Har Dayal, then translated into Punjabi, and stamped and addressed manually.

The memorial burned down in the 1950s, and was last restored in 1974.

The Indian government has committed to paying for the restoration of the building, a $9 million project expected to be completed in 2021. The new structure will host an auditorium, a museum, a library, and a meeting room, among other features.

Speaking to a packed auditorium at the Gadar Memorial June 21, Shringla said: “The idea is to bring the building back to its original beauty, and to make this a focal point for our community as a remembrance to the Gadar Party, who struggled for our freedom.”

Update: 14 July, 2019