About the Conference

Chartered by Gurdit Singh and carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, the Komagata Maru was held in Vancouver harbor for two months in the summer of 1914. Only 24 of the passengers were admitted to Canada. The remaining 352 passengers were forced to return to India. Upon their arrival in India, 19 passengers were killed by local police, and Gurdit Singh along with many of the others were arrested.

‘Commemorating the Komagata Maru / Celebrating the Century’ brings together undergraduate and graduate students, tenure-track and tenured scholars, professors emeriti, writers, directors, and members of the Sikh community. It provides a forum for new research and new perspectives on the Komagata Maru, and on Sikh engagement with and within Canadian cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity. The conference actively involves members of the Sikh community, including community leaders and organizers, public figures, and creative writers. Because of this, it promises to have a real and tangible impact beyond the confines of the Academy while at the same time maintaining its scholarly emphasis. It will facilitate an exchange of research and ideas between Academy and the Sikh community, and will invite further collaboration between these groups in the future.

The three day programme consists of 23 presenters from three continents (North America, Asia, and Africa), including 4 students, 15 faculty (two of whom are also graduate students), and 5 community speakers. Notable among these participants are Professor Emeritus Hugh J.M. Johnston, author of the authoritative and newly revised The Voyage of the Komagata Maru; Professor Ali Kazimi , writer, producer, and director of the award-winning film Continuous Journey; Shauna Singh Baldwin, award-winning author; and Pardeep Singh Nagra, Executive Director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada. The programme includes two special evening presentations - a screening of Continuous Journey followed by a discussion with Ali Kazimi, and a talk by Shauna Singh Baldwin on Choosing to belong: our rights, our responsibilities - and an exhibit from the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada.

This event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome, though space is limited.

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