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By Hugh J. M. Johnston

In may possibly 1914, four hundred Sikhs left for British Columbia through chartered send, resolved to say their correct to equivalent therapy with white electorate of the British Empire and strength access into Canada. They have been anchored off Vancouver for over months, enduring severe actual privation and harrassment by means of immigration officers, yet defying federal deportation orders even if the Canadian executive tried to implement them with a gunboat. The leaders of the crowd, who have been regarded as heavily linked to the nationalist, terrorist circulate in India, have been ultimately persuaded to come to India. They have been by way of then filled with progressive fervour opposed to the Raj. On their disembarkation at Calcutta, troops opened fireplace whereas trying to keep an eye on the passengers, and a couple of them have been killed. the development, which had already raised loads of curiosity and problem one of the governments of India and Canada, was once now invested for Indian nationalists with a sad value which might be in comparison to that of Jallianwallah Bagh, whereas Gurdit Singh, the chief, used to be acclaimed as a heroic innovative determine by way of eminent Congressmen.

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The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada's Colour Bar

In may well 1914, four hundred Sikhs left for British Columbia through chartered send, resolved to assert their correct to equivalent remedy with white voters of the British Empire and strength access into Canada. They have been anchored off Vancouver for over months, enduring severe actual privation and harrassment via immigration officers, yet defying federal deportation orders even if the Canadian executive tried to implement them with a gunboat.

Additional info for The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada's Colour Bar

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So did the ship's young medical officer, Dr Rughunath Singh, on leave from the 8th Rajputs in Hong Kong and travelling with his wife and one child. One other passenger, Sundar Singh of Timonwal, Amritsar, had his wife, a son, and a baby daughter with him and he was also given a cabin. The remaining cabin space went to those who had taken a lead in organizing the voyage: Daljit Singh, Bir Singh, Harnam Singh of Khabra, Amir Mohammed Khan of Ludhiana. 23. Bhagwan Singh Jakh, who had left Victoria in handcuffs, a prisoner on the Empress of Japan, had jumped ship in Yokohama and he was still there, five months later, planning his return to North America.

An Englishman had only to identify himself as a British citizen and he was whisked through with a quick inspection of his scalp for ringworm. The examination was always a bit more careful for those who did not come from Britain or Northern Europe. But it was still so cursory that, at the port of Quebec, two doctors, working at a normal rate, could pass 300 immigrants in an hour. 7 J. Edward Bird, hired and instructed by Rahim and a committee of fifteen local Indians, announced that he was representing all 3 76 passengers.

S. S. 7 But when he asked around, he was told that they were very old and unfit for a Pacific crossing. A couple of days later he found another ship in good condition and priced low, but a friend warned him it would burn too much coal. All the while he was receiving impatient messages from Daljit Singh who was trying to raise money and having problems because everyone wanted to see the ship first. In the end, he settled his affairs in Singapore, and returned to Hong Kong, bringing his only child, seven-year-old Balwant Singh, with him.

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