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Komagata Maru
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Accounts of historical injustices have often been mediated by the written word – what gets written down (and what does not), who has written, where the account is kept, and how it is interpreted in the years following, all add layers of complexity to the very act of writing to remember. In this section, you will be provided with a selective list of writings about the Komagata Maru incident. This writing includes scholarly, historical and fictionalized accounts of the Komagata Maru incident, as well as stories connected to the incident such as those of South Asians in Canada more broadly.

Academic Writing
In the realm of academia, articles and books have been somewhat limited in their numbers – but their very presence has worked to add legitimacy to the interrogation of Canada’s history of exclusionary immigration policies/practices, as well as a not-so-distant past of racism.

Books

  • 2012: Ali Kazimi, Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru – An Illustrated History (Douglas & McIntyre) http://undesirables.ca
  • 1989: Hugh J.M. Johnson, The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada’s Colour Bar (UBC Press)
  • 1975: Sohan Singh Josh, Tragedy of Komagata Maru (People’s Pub. House)

Articles and Chapters

  • 2002: Rajini Srikanth, “The Komagata Maru: Memory and Mobilization among the South Asian Diaspora in North America” in Re/Collecting Early Asian America: Essays in Cultural History, edited by Josephine D. Lee, Imogene L. Lim & Yuko Matsukawa (Temple University Press)
  • 1999: Sherril Grace & Gabriele Helms “Documenting Racism: Sharon Pollock’s The Komagata Maru Incident in Painting the Maple: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Construction of Canada, edited by Veronica Strong-Boag (UBC Press)
  • 1990: W. Peter Ward, “The Komagata Maru Incident” in White Canada Forever: Popular Attitudes and Public Policy Towards Orientals in British Columbia (McGill-Queens)
  • 1986: S. Chandrasekhar, “A history of Canadian legislation with respect to immigration from India” in From India to Canada: A brief history of immigration; problems of discrimination; admission and assimilation, edited by S. Chandrasekhar (A Population Review Books)
  • 1986: JJ Mangalam, “The Komagata Maru Affair, 1917” in From India to Canada: A brief history of immigration; problems of discrimination; admissions and assimilation, edited by S. Chandrasekhar (A Population Review Books)
  • 1936: Eric W. Morse, “Some Aspects of the Komagata Maru Affair, 1914” in Report of the Annual Meeting of the Canada Historical Association/Rapports annuels de la Societe historique du Canada, vol 15 no 1, p. 100-108. http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/30016ar

Websites

Fiction Writing
Novels, like artistic interpretations of the Komagata Maru, memorialize the incident in a distinct way – in some ways, fictionalizing a historical injustice parallels the memorialization practices that communities may utilize. When remembering, the “truths” mingle with our own interpretations, the things we want to believe, the things we have been told to believe. The novels take up the historical facts and allow them to mingle with the parts of the stories we may not ever have access to, no matter how much research occurs. This is a ripe opportunity for your reflection about what gets said, by who, and how – with some permission to read past the margins of the historical accounts, allowing the stories of what was (we believe) and what could be (we wonder) to bleed into one another. Interesting, the novelists listed here find their voice to tell the story of the Komagata Maru in Punjabi and Hindi, not English.

  • 1993: Kesar Singh, Komagata Maru (Pabalikeshana). [Punjabi]
  • 1970: Ram Sharan (Ramesvara) Vidyarthi, Komagata Maru ki Samundra Yatra (Krantikari Prakasana). [Hindi]
  • Tariq Malik, Chanting Denied Shores: The Komagata Maru Narratives (Bayeux Arts)

Documentary Film
The medium of film is, of course, one that necessarily moves people – making visual historical facts and accounts that often stay flat on the page. Ali Kazimi’s Continuous Journey certainly put the Komagata Maru incident back into the popular imagination of many, and it is important to remember the importance of Sushma Datt’s 1989 film which makes intergenerational connections to those South Asians who were living in Vancouver in 1914.

  • 2004: Ali Kazimi, Continuous Journey
  • 1989: Sushma Datt, The Komagata Maru: Voyage of Shattered Dreams