Brown Canada is a community-led project documenting, creating, and sharing diverse South Asian histories in Canada. Our collective entry point is through the Komagata Maru story of 1914, when 376 Indians were denied entry to Canada due to restrictive immigration controls designed to maintain a "white Canada."


About the Komagata Maru

 

In early 1900s Canada, public opinion of the white-majority was explicitly anti-Asian. Racism of all stripes was not only popular, but also supported by law. In this hostile environment, the Komagata Maru made its way from the port of 
Hong Kong to Burrard Inlet, off the coast of Vancouver in 1914.

 

Barred from disembarking, the passengers of the Komagata Maru stayed aboard the ship for two months as supporters on shore mounted challenges and provided basic material supports such as food and water. During the two month period, the passengers were supported by a group of South Asians living in the Vancouver area – this "Shore Committee" shared news, raised money, wrote about the Komagata Maru, and helped facilitate the legal battle to fight for the passengers to stay.