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90th anniversary of Komagata Maru

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source: email fwd

90th anniversary of Komagata Maru

Dear Sangat:

Help me keep the memory of the Komagata Maru alive by telling their story.

90 years ago this year (July 23, 1914) the passengers of the SS Komagata Maru, after being starved and humiliated by Canadian authorities (who would resort to anything to keep Canada a white man’s country) sailed back to India where they were slaughtered like sheep by British Authorities. To this very day Canada has still not taken responsibility through official apology for this appalling incident. Nor has Canada ever apologized for disenfranchising East Indian British subjects in 1909. For 50 years East Indians were forbidden to vote, own land, or take jobs of social merit. This is an insult to anyone whose grandfather or great grandfather fought for the British Empire. The Canadian government did this even though they did not have the right to disenfranchise British subjects under the BNA act of 1967.

The reason I have taken quite some time to write this is because of a powerful film I recently had the pleasure and honor of watching in Toronto. The film is called The Continuous Voyage and it is by Canadian director Ali Kazimi. I have also just ordered a book at Barnes and Nobles that was also published this year titled Lion of the Sea by Indian author Jassi Thind. The fact that two works on the Komagata Maru came out in the same year tells me that this story is important to Canadians and East Indians. I hope these laudable efforts inspire others to act as I have acted.

As the sons and daughters of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, we must ask ourselves what we can do to remember the sacrifices of those who came before us, of those who opened the gates for us, of those who challenged and changed the system so that we could vote, own land, and send our children to school. Let us return their gift to us by asking Canada to please officially apologize for disenfranchising British subjects in 1909 and finally absolve these brave men from any wrong doing. For now, let us begin by remembering their sacrifices by asking that our children read about their plight.

There are many ways you can help keep their memory alive. If you are a writer or a singer or if you have any gifts of communication, something created for these passengers on the 90th anniversary would be a great contribution to their memory.

Times passes. Memories are lost. Struggles and sacrifices are forgotten if they are not kept alive in our children. Many of our youth have already forgotten about them. Almost like it was a sort of Canadian program of Mass Amnesia (CPMA). So I am glad this film reminded me of my duty to make sure my history is remembered and remembered properly. I’m glad because it has served to strengthen my resolve and my commitment to excellence in everyday life. Those who came before us, their struggle, their efforts, is nothing less than inspirational.

Please FWD to anyone who would like to know more about the Komagata Maru.

Will Canada ever officially apologize for 1909? That’s up to you and me. No one else.

Tap into the links below for more in depth coverage of the story and details on the screening of the film:

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Wajir Singh Khalsa

“If today the RCMP is not even allowed to investigate the sponsorship scandal because of corruption at the highest level, do you even doubt such ghastly corruption existed in 1914? Only one who believes in the infallibility of white men in blue suits, like say an authority-loving historian, would believe the fallacious reports of corrupt immigration officers signed by corrupt and extremely well-paid informants over the opinions of poor passengers who sacrificed all for their one chance in the Dominion of Canada…” Letter to the Editor, India times , 2003

Vancouver Public Library: www.lib.ucdavis.edu/punjab/koma.html

A website for teachers: http://www10.brinkster.com/nanakjahazz

Passenger List: www.punjabonline.com/immigration/districtlist.html

Amazing Lyrics and music for Komagata Maru Song: http://www.angelfire.com/ok/OnkarPreet/AboutMe.html

Fantastic Children's book on Komagata Maru: http://www10.brinkster.com/nanakjahazz/komagata.pdf

Ali Kazimi's Documentary on Komagata Maru:



?I am sufficient of physiologist to believe that the two races cannot combine and that no great middle race can arise from the mixture of the Mongolian and the Arian ... [the Chinese immigrant] has no common interest with us...gives us his labor and is paid for it, and is valuable, the same as a threshing machine or any other agricultural implement which we may borrow from the United States or hire and return to its owner?

--Sir John A McDonald, 1883, uttered in the House of Commons

“That Canada should desire to restrict immigration from the Orient is regarded as natural, that Canada should remain a white man’s country is believed to be not only desirable for economic and social reasons, but highly necessary on political and national grounds?

--Report by W.L. Mackenzie King on his Mission to England to Confer with the British Authorities on the Subject of: Immigration to Canada from the Orient and Immigration from India in Particular.

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