Timetable relating to Komagata Maru

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Komagata Maru

Komagata Maru
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In Media

Date Event
1880 The first settlement of Punjabis in Golden B.C., Canada. It is believed that the Columbia River was the passage these early settlers used to come to Golden. Main source of employment for them was Columbia River Lumber Mill.
1890 A Gurdwara temple was built and provided food, accommodations and a place to meet with friends.
1897 Sikhs who had celebrating Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in the UK went through Canada on their way back to India. These Sikhs were told that Canada's farm land is just like in Punjab and encouraged them to come to Canada.
1906 Approximately 2124 Punjabis came to Golden which was a hub for the Indian Communities.
1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver
Sept.4, 1907 In Bellingham, Washington USA Over 700 Punjabis were working in the area. They were employed by the local lumber mills, On Sept. 4th the Anti-Asian riots started in the USA and most of the Punjabis were beaten and forced out of their houses, they had no choice but to leave the town and scattered away from trouble areas, some moved to California and Oregon and some crossed the border and came to Canada. A few days later the Anti-Asian riots took place in Vancouver.
1907-1908 Approximately another 2623 Punjabis came to Golden
1908 The Federal Government severely restricted immigration from India; as a result, the Canadian Sikh community was composed primarily of men for many years.
1910 The Canadian Government passed two orders-in- council; the first declared that all Asians were now obliged to have $200 on their person when they landed. The second order -in -Council was a regulation designed to stop the East Indians. The regulation specified that East Indian immigrants had to travel directly to Canada from India: however, there were no shipping lines operating between the two countries in those days. The Hindus were free to come but only on a 'through' ship, but there were no 'through' ships. A journey of more than 5,000 miles (as the crow flies) and many more miles to navigate the vast Pacific Ocean few ships were available that could make the journey without stopping to take on coal and other supplies.
Spring 1914 The Komagata Maru was an outright challenge to these excursionist laws. A group of Sikhs led by Baba Gurdit Singh, a wealthy Sikh businessman from Singapore, chartered the Japanese steamer, the Komagata Maru,to carry Ithe ndian emigrants to Canada. They renamed the steamer the Guru Nanak Jahaz after the first Sikh Guru.
April 4, 1914 The journey started from Hong Kong with 165 Sikhs on their way to British Columbia.
April 8 Guru Nanak Jahaz docked at Shanghai where an additional 111 passengers boarded the ship.
April 14-May 3 Another stop at Moji, Japan added another 86 passengers and a final stop at Yokohama added another 11 passengers. The total number of passengers reached 376, including 24 Muslims, 12 Hindus and 340 Sikhs.
May 3, 1914 The 'Guru Nanak Jahaz' leaves Yokohama for Canada.
May 23, 1914 The Komagata Maru arrives in Vancouver and anchors near Burrard Inlet. The day before their arrival the Premier of British Columbia Sir Richard Mc Bride stated, “To admit Orientals in large numbers would mean, in the end, the extinction of the white people. And we always have in mind the necessity of keeping this a white man's country”.
May 24, 1914 Edward Bird, a Barrister hired by a committee of 15 local Indians, to represent the passengers of the Komagata Maru, asked Immigration Inspector Malcolm Reid for permission to go to the ship and talk to his client Gurdit Singh - the request was denied.
May 30, 1914 A meeting was held to discuss the Komagata Maru, which over 500 NRI's and about 20 'whites', including reporters and immigration staff attended. $5000 is raised and another $66,000 pledged in the support of passengers. Gurdit Singh and passengers commence a hunger strike to protest their treatment and send telegraph messages to the King of England and the Governor General of Canada, saying "no provisions.... passengers starving.... kept prisoners"
June 11 Shore committee sends several tons of food to the passengers, Reid adjourns the Board of Inquiry with the excuse that the staff needs to attend to regular office work.
June 21 The Khalsa Diwan Society and United India League call another meeting in support of Komagata Maru. Over 400 Indians and 125 whites attend the meeting.
June 23 A meeting held by opponents of the Komagata Maru. Harry Stevens M.P. was the main speaker.

A delegation of Sikhs is refused entry. Some were hustled away by the police.

June 24 Reid wires Ottawa to ask permission to put the passengers of Komagata Maru forcibly on the S.S. Empress of India sailing at 11am the next day. The Prime Minister Rober L.Borden rejects the plan.
June 25 Passengers of the ship wire the Governor General: "Many requests to Immigration Department for water but useless, better order to shoot us than this miserable treatment.”
July 6 The court of Appeal upholds the Anti-Asian Order -in-Council. A test case of one of the passengers Munshi Singh was dismissed.
July 17 Clearance and deportation papers are delivered to the passengers.
July 18 Reid decides to use force to expel the Komagata Maru at 1:15 AM.
July 19th The Sea Lion, with 160 Police and Immigration officers, attempt to board the Komagata Maru. The passengers resist and the Sea Lion retreats.
2:00 AM MP Steven wires the Prime Minister Borden - “The Hindus on ship apparently desperately revolutionary and determined to defy law. Absolutely necessary that strong stand be taken and would urge that Rainbow or some Naval Department vessal be detailed to take charge of situation."

Prime Minister Borden made the Rainbow available.

July 21 7AM 204 militia prepare to board the Komagata Maru.

8:15.... The Rainbow a naval ship, anchors a few hundred yards southwest of the Komagata Maru.

10AM The guns of the Rainbow are uncovered. Thousands of people gather on shore to watch the events.
5PM An agreement is reached between officials and passengers. Government agrees to send provisions to the ship.

In return, the Komagata Maru agrees to return to India.

July 23 5:10AM The anchor of the Komagata Maru is raised. The Komagata Maru leaves Vancouver Harbour. The Rainbow and Sea Lion follow the Komagata Maru out to the sea.
September 29,1914 11AM The Komagata Maru reaches the town of Budge Budge 27 Kilometers from Calcutta and the passengers are forced to disembark the ship......Officials call additional police and military to enforce the order... passengers wanted to go to Calcutta....... a riot breaks out. Of the 321 passengers on the ship at Budge Budge, 62 leave for Punjab 20 passengers died..one drowned ... ..9 were hospitalized ... 202 jailed and 28 remained unaccounted for. A number of passengers, including Gurdit Singh escape.
1919 Immigration regulations were relaxed to allow some family reunifications.
1927 Most of the Sikhs moved away from Golden, when the mill had to be closed due to a massive forest fire.
1947 Canadian Citizenship Act
1967 Canadian Immigration Act
1997 Reversion of Hong Kong's Sovereignty