30 July, 2021

The Silence Of The Waves

The startlingly tragic fate of the Komagata Maru, buried so long, is being recognised by the premier of a formerly racist nation

The Hapless
Indians aboard the Komagata Maru in Vancouver, 1914
Photograph by Alamy
The Silence Of The Waves

A Wrong Remembered

  • In Budge Budge, there is a Komagata Maru memorial about the Indians killed on their return
  • One of two memorials in Vancouver is at Coal Harbour, where the ship had docked
  • A 2008 apology by Canada PM Stephen Harper in England triggered apologies in Br. Col. legislature


Bhagwan Singh Gyanee was a wandering sort. Around a 100 years back, the village boy from Amr­itsar was exploring Southeast Asia and Latin America, finally landing up in the US. A Ghadar Party member, he wanted to spread ideas of revolution and armed struggle to overthrow the British Raj. On the Komagata Maru, he found a captive audience.

The Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamship chartered in Hong Kong in January 1914 by Gurdit Singh Sandhu, a Ghadarite, set sail for Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada, by way of Shanghai and Yokohama. Meant to ferry passengers who wanted to emigrate to Canada, Gurdit planned to circumvent one of...

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