Event commemorates Komagata Maru at 100
Political and community leaders will gather with Komagata Maru stakeholders to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Komagata Maru, beginning at 9 a.m. on May 23, at Simon Fraser University’s Vancouver campus.
SFU President Andrew Petter, British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk, Minister of State (Multiculturalism) Tim Uppal, and Elder Margaret George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation will be among those participating in the official program.
The event will also feature Sticks and Skins drummers, history professor and author of The Voyage of the Komagata Maru Hugh Johnston, and a panel discussion with Kanwal Singh Neel, Milan Singh, Kalwant Singh Nadeem Parmar, Satwinder Kaur Bains and Ali Kazami.
The Komagata Maru incident is one of the most infamous episodes in Vancouver’s early history. On May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru, a Japanese charter ship, brought 376 migrants from Punjab, India – almost all British citizens – to Vancouver. 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.
SFU is one of eight Metro Vancouver institutions who have collaborated to mark the 100th anniversary of the incident with a series entitled Komagata Maru 1914-2014: Generations, Geographies and Echoes.
In 2012, the SFU Library, with support from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, launched www.komagatamarujourney.ca, an interactive website and digital archive that chronicles the Komagata Maru incident, as well as events preceding and following its journey. Features on the website include lesson plans designed for high schools and teachers, a passenger list and biographies of those involved in the incident, as well as an interactive timeline detailing the vessel’s journey.
Friday’s event will take place at SFU Harbour Centre (515 West Hastings St.), a site that overlooks where the Komagata Maru arrived in the Burrard Inlet. Following the event (at approximately 11:25 a.m.), a procession will join the Khalsa Diwan Society and walk from Harbour Centre to the Komagata Maru Memorial at Harbour Green Park. Media availability with presenters begins at 9:50 a.m.
Komagata Maru 1914-2014: Generations, Geographies and Echoes is a partnership between Progressive Intercultural Services Society (PICS), the Khalsa Diwan Society (Ross Street Temple), the Museum of Vancouver, Simon Fraser University Library, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey Museum, Surrey Public Libraries, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.
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