May 23: Komagatamaru Arrived in Vancouver

Gurdit Singh and others on Komagata Maru, Vancouver July 1914

Ninety four years back, on May 23, 1914, Komagatamaru arrived in Vancouver from India carrying 376 passengers. They had come from one British colony to another, and they were made to suffer atrocities by the colonizers at both ends.

Komagatamaru Plaque Vancouver, 14 May 1990Komagatamaru Plaque Vancouver, 14 May 1990

Today is to remember the sacrifices made by Baba Gurdit Singh and other passengers; the support given to the passengers by the Sikh community of British Columbia, and by Vancouver’s Khalsa Diwan Society.

Komagatamaru Play. Leaflet. London,1983. Amarjit Chandan CollectionLeaflet of a play on Komagatamaru, London1983. (Amarjit Chandan Collection)

It also is a harsh reminder of the violent and racist methods and policies of British Canadian government in Vancouver and British Indian government in Calcutta that caused lifelong hardship, disease and death to innocent people.

From our history, it is one of the more painful lessons in courage and perseverance.

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