In 1914, the SS Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver Harbour and was detained for two months. Most of its 376 passengers were then forcibly returned to India. "Unmooring the Komagata Maru" challenges conventional Canadian historical accounts by considering the international colonial dimensions of the incident.
This new and expanded edition offers the most thoroughly researched account of the notorious Komagata Maru incident. The event centres on the ship's nearly four hundred Punjabi passengers, who sought entry into Canada at Vancouver in the summer of 1914, only to be chased away by a Canadian warship.
In this richly detailed study, Kamala Nayar documents the social and cultural transformation of the Punjabi community in British Columbia. From their initial settlement in the rural Skeena region to the communities that later developed in larger urban centres. 'The Punjabis in British Columbia' illustrates the complex and diverse experiences of an immigrant community that merits greater attention. Exploring themes of gender, employment, rural and urban migrant life, and the relationships between the Punjabis and surrounding First Nations and other immigrant groups, Nayar creates a portrait of a community in transition.
Early twentieth-century Calcutta was not just a point of passage within the British Empire, but a key center of colonial power; a crucial laboratory of imperial repressive practices cultivated and applied elsewhere. Histories of the Komagata Maru or the Ghadar Movement offer rewarding perspectives on Punjabi Sikh migrants, but fail to adequately investigate why the ship was brought to Bengal; why overwhelming locally organized imperial vigilance was imposed on ships that arrived soon afterward; and the extent to which the operation of the repressive colonial state apparatus influenced the intersections of anticolonial strands in Calcutta and its surroundings during 1914-15.
This long essay makes an eloquent and persuasive argument for Nehru's idea of nationhood in India. At a time when the relevance of Nehru's vision is under scrutiny, this book assumes a special significance.
ASIA 488 001 : Religion, Society and State in Modern India