Lala Har Dayal


St John's College, Oxford OX1 3JP
United Kingdom
51° 43' 26.2992" N, 1° 16' 30.414" W
Edgware HA8 2ES
United Kingdom
51° 36' 5.3136" N, 0° 16' 27.6528" W
Date of birth: 
14 Oct 1884
Precise DOB unknown: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
04 Mar 1939
Location of death: 
Philadelphia, USA
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1905
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1905-8, 1927-30


Lala Har Dayal was the son of M. Gaure Dayal, Reader in Government Service.

After a MA in English and History at Punjab University, Har Dayal earned a state scholarship to study in Britain. He joined St John's College, Oxford, in October 1905 to study Sanskrit. He was the Boden Sanskrit Scholar in 1907 and the Casberd Exhibitioner (awarded £30 by the trustees at St John's College). He was a member of the St John's College debating society as well. During his Oxford student days, Har Dayal would visit India House in Highgate. He began corresponding with Shyamaji Krishnavarma and in 1907 resigned from his state scholarship on ideological grounds. His wife was also studying at Oxford with Krishnavarma's financial assistance.

He returned to India in 1908 then left again in 1909 for Paris. He travelled and lived in various countries and eventually moved to the USA in 1910 to take up a job as lecturer in Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit. In 1913 he set up the weekly paper, Ghadr, in California and was one of the founding members of the Hindustan Ghadr Party.

In 1927, Har Dayal returned to London to prepare for a doctorate in Sanskrit at the University of London. He lived in Edgware. He received his PhD in 1930 and returned to the USA. He died in Philadelphia in 1938.


Shyamaji Krishnavarma

Ghadr Party (California)

Published works: 

Forty-Four Months in Germany and Turkey. February 1915 to October 1918 (London: P. S. King & Ltd, 1920)

The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature (London: Kegan Paul, 1932)

Hints for Self-Culture (London: Watts & Co., 1934)

Twelve Religions and Modern Life (Edgware: Modern Culture Institute, 1938)

Contributions to periodicals: 


Indian Sociologist

Modern Review

Secondary works: 

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

Dharmavira, Lala Har Dayal and Revolutionary Movements of his Times (New Delhi: Indian Book Company, 1970)

Dharmavira (ed.), Letters of Lala Har Dayal (Ambala Cantt.: Indian Book Agency, 1970).

Gould, Harold A., Sikhs, Swamis, Students and Spies: The India Lobby in the United States, 1900-1946 (New Delhi: Sage, 2006)

Kapila, Shruti, Har Dayal: Terror and Territory (Delhi: Routledge, 2009)

Paul, E. Jaiwant & Paul, Shubh, Har Dayal: The Great Revolutionary (New Delhi: Lotus Collection, 2003)

Archive source: 

L/PJ/6/732, L/PJ/6/732, L/PJ/6/737, L/PJ/6/822, notes relating to scholarship and resignation from scholarship, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras