A brief video about Komagata Maru by South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) and University of the Fraser Valley (UFV),
The Komagata Maru tragedy in 1914 was a critical moment in Canada's history, highlighting the nation's exclusionary immigration policies and racial discrimination. The Komagata Maru, a ship carrying 376 passengers primarily from British India's Punjab province, arrived in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet. Only 24 passengers, mainly returning immigrants, were allowed to disembark, while the remaining 352 were confined to the ship, enduring harsh conditions.
The Komagata Maru departed from Hong Kong in April 1914 and embarked on a voyage bound for Vancouver, Canada. However, stringent regulations necessitated a circuitous route, including stops in Shanghai and Yokohama to accommodate passengers and gather supplies. The ship's arrival in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet in May 1914 was met with controversy, as Canadian authorities invoked the Continuous Journey Regulation, barring entry for passengers from British India. After months of legal battles, the vessel was compelled to return to India in July 1914, making a brief stop in Yokohama before reaching its final destination near Kolkata. Tragically, the ship's return to India led to a deadly confrontation in Budge Budge, where British troops opened fire on the passengers, resulting in casualties and underscoring the harsh impact of unjust immigration policies during that period.
The legacy of the Komagata Maru tragedy is significant, symbolizing the discrimination and exclusionary policies of the time. It also inspired the South Asian community in Canada to advocate for their rights and challenge discrimination. The tragedy serves as a reminder of the struggles faced by immigrant communities and the ongoing quest for fair and inclusive immigration policies in Canada.