Launching Komagata Maru website
SFU will unveil an interactive website documenting the 1914 Komagata Maru incident on Friday March 23 at the Vancouver campus and host a daylong symposium on the subject March 24 at the Surrey campus.
The site Komagata Maru: Continuing the Journey uses the incident, one of the most infamous episodes in Vancouver’s early history, to explore the struggles and contributions of the Indo-Canadian community.
The Japanese charter ship Komagata Maru brought 376 migrants from Punjab, India—almost all British citizens—to Vancouver in 1914. Officials refused to let them disembark and after two months the ship was forcibly sent back to India where British India police in Calcutta shot dead 19 of the passengers.
In 2008, both the Canadian and B.C. governments issued apologies for the incident.
Project director and librarian Brian Owen says the site aims to provide an objective, balanced account, including links to the stories of scholars, historians, community members, immigrants and their descendants.
SFU communication PhD student Milan Singh and alumnus Naveen Girn, a cultural researcher with the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, compiled and digitized the site’s content. Working with liaison librarian Moninder Bubber and other SFU project staffers, they sorted through countless papers, documents and photographs and conducted video interviews.
The federal government’s Community Historical Recognition Program funded
SFU President Andrew Petter will speak at the Vancouver campus official launch, which features a website demonstration and talks by several Komagata Maru scholars. They include Hugh Johnston, a retired SFU professor and author of The Voyage of the Komagata Maru.
The SFU Surrey symposium will feature panel presentations on the website, designed by SFU’s Teaching and Learning Centre, and the screening of filmmaker Ali Kazimi’s film Continuous Journey, followed by a Q&A with Kazimi via Skype. komagatamarujourney.ca