Har Dyal (1884-1939)

Har Dyal (also Har Dayal, Har Dial) was a the founder of the Ghadr Party in California. He was born in Delhi where his father, Lala Guari Dyal, was a reader in the district court. Har Dyal was an exceptional student who won a state scholarship in 1905 to go to Oxford. He had already completed a BA at Saint Stephen’s College, Delhi, and an MA at the University of Punjab, Lahore. In Britain he came into contact with Shyamji Krishnavarma, V.D. Savarkar, and other Indian nationalists. In 1907, he caused a stir in the India Office by resigning his scholarship and leaving Oxford. In 1909, he was recruited by Madame Bikhaiji Cama, the Parsi activist from Bombay, to edit the revolutionary journal Bande Mataram, published in Geneva. He came to the U.S. in February 1911, intending to study at Harvard, but he proceeded to Berkeley in April and he spent most of the next three years in California. During this time he was increasingly active in the nationalist cause, culminating in the creation of the Ghadr party. He fled the U.S. in May 1914 after American immigration officials tried to deport him and failed because he already acquired resident status. To be safe, he left anyway. During the First World War, he was a member of the Indian Nationalist Committee in Berlin, but he was in Sweden by the time the war ended. In March 1919, he published an open letter in the New Statesman, severing his connection with the nationalist movement. He died in the U.S.

Sources: Emily C. Brown, Har Dyal: Hindu Revolutionary and Rationalist (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1975).