1900 • 2000 Indians in Canada were mostly Punjabi. • The Candian politicians wanted to stop the "Brown Invasion". • They passed a law that an Indian person needed $200 to enter Canada. • In 1908, the Federal goverment passed a law known as "Continuous Passage Act", declaring that any immigrants coming from India had to travel directly from India to Canada without stopping anywhere. • Indians were also denied the vote in a 1907 law, prohibited to run for public office, serve on juries, and were not permitted to become accountants, lawyers or pharmacists. • In 1914, a well off a sikh, Gurdit Singh living in Hong Kong decided to challenge the law by sending a ship load of Indians to Canada as immigrants, the ship was called "The Komagata Maru". Gurdit Singh was arrested 2 days before the departure. • Gurdit singh was aressted for illegally selling tickets for an illegal voyage. He was released after and was granted to sail to Canada on April 4th.
The Komagata Maru • The ship upped-anchor that very day with 150 Sikh passengers. They made stops in Shanghai, Moji and Yokohama where they picked up more would-be immigrants. There were 376 East Indians in total. • When Komagata Maru made it to Shanghai, a German cable company sent a message to the German press announcing the departure of the steamer Komagata Maru from Shanghai for Vancouver on April 14 with "400 Indians on board". The news was picked up by British press. • The Vancouver newspaper, The Province, published news report under the heading of "Boat Loads of Hindus on Way to Vancouver" and "Hindu Invasion of Canada". • Meetings were held in the Gurdwaras to talk about what actions to take. Money and provisions were gathered to help the passengers upon their arrival in Vancouver. The entire Indian community in Canada united to fight the opposition. • On May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru reached Vancouver. The ship anchored near Burrard Inlet. Both the Indians and the Canadian authorities had been waiting for it. The Canadians wanted to send the ship back to where it caqme from. The Indians on the other side had lawyers, money and other provisions ready to help the passengers. • For two months the passengers of the Komagata Maru, the Indians in British Columbia, and the authorities of British Columbia were involved in a heated legal battle. In the end, only 24 passengers were given permission to legally stay in Canada (previous residents of B.C.).