Komagata Maru play this weekend

Event will be held at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium

The Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) premieres a play on Saturday, Nov. 1 based around the Komagata Maru incident.

“That Land Beyond the Waves,” commissioned by UFV and written by Rajnish Dhawan, examines the Komagata Maru incident from the perspective of both an Indian immigrant whose sister is on the ship and the European-Canadians he works for in the town of Abbotsford.

One hundred years ago, a ship named the Komagata Maru dropped anchor in Vancouver with 376 passengers on board. The majority of these passengers were Sikh men and British subjects intending to immigrate to Canada.

The journey was a challenge to a Canadian law that prevented immigration aboard ships that had not travelled by “continuous journey” from their country of origin.

Most passengers were prevented from leaving the ship. It sat moored for two months, and finally the passengers were forced back to India.

There, they were shot at by British Indian troops and most men were either killed, injured, imprisoned or forced into exile.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the incident at a public event in Surrey in 2008. The B.C. government also formally apologized in the legislature.

That Land Beyond the Waves plays Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way.

Tickets are available by following the link from www.ufv.ca/cics. For further details or call 604-851-6325.

To complement the play and ongoing until December 2014, the Sikh Heritage Museum – located in the Gur Sikh Temple on South Fraser Way – will host an an exhibition titled “Challenge and Denial: Komagata Maru 100 Years Later.”