Gobind Behary Lal (1889-1982)

Gobind Behary Lal was a university professor, a Ghadr Party activist and, by the 1930s, a prominent American journalist and science writer. He was the son of Bishen Lal Mathur, a one-time tehsildar in the Rajput princely state of Bikaner who subsequently took up residence in Delhi. Gobind Behari Lal earned an MA at the University of Punjab and taught there from 1909 to 1912 and then came to California to study at Berkeley; he was one of the four students awarded a Guru Gobind Singh scholarship funded by Jawala Singh. He joined the Ghadr party in San Francisco soon after his arrival; and he  worked on the staff of the Ghadr as Har Dyal’s principal lieutenant and was prominent at Ghadr meetings. In March 1915, he went to England on a trip which informants claimed involved an Ghadr abortive plot to murder Lord Kitchener. In San Francisco in 1918, he was convicted of violating American neutrality laws and sentenced to ten months imprisonment. He subsequently made a name for himself as the science editor for the San Francisco Examiner where he started in 1925 and where he was still employed when he shared a Pulitzer prize for journalism in 1937. He was, according to his brief Pulitzer biography, the first journalist to use the term “science writer” and he was the founder of the (American) National Association of Science Writers.

Sources: Struggle for Free Hindustan: Ghadr Directory, Punjab Section, 1915 (published Mehrauli, New Delhi); Harish K. Puri, Ghadr Movement: Ideology, Organization, Strategy (Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University, 2nd edition, 1993); Elizabeth A. Brennan and Elizabeth C. Clarage eds., Who’s Who of Pulitzer Prize Winners (Phoenix: The Oryx Press, 1998).