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Halifax Sikhs celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Komagata Maru

September 23, 2014 | By

Halifax: This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Komagata Maru ship which brought 376 passengers, primarily Sikhs, to Vancouver sea port in May 1914. They were not allowed to leave the ship by the British Columbia’s Government and ship was forced to go back on July 23, 1914 after two months.

In this regard Maritime Sikh Society, Halifax hosted the Komagata Maru Exhibition, ‘Lions of the Sea’ on September 21, 2014, brought to Halifax by Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada, Mississauga. Pictures, artifacts and rare documents relating to the Komagara Maru episode and history of Sikhs as British subjects were neatly put on display on both sides of the commodious hall of the Olympic Community Centre, Halifax

Incident Du Komagara Maru Incident 1914 - 2014

Incident Du Komagara Maru Incident 1914 – 2014

The function started with religious ceremony and blessings of Guru Granth Sahib. There was quite an enlightening speech by Pardeep Singh Nagra, Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada , explaining all aspects of Sikh settlement in Canada. He also brought a rare fact to light, not known to many of us, that in 1889, Prince Victor Duleep Singh, son of prince Duleep Singh, grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was in Halifax as as Honorary Aide-de-Camp to General Sir John Ross.

The exhibition attracted a large crowd which included Mayor of Halifax , Mike Savage ; Lena Metlege Diab- Minister of Immigration, Justice and Attorney General, ;Tony Ince- Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage; Kelly Regan – Minister of Labour and Advanced Education dressed in Salwar and Kameez and Geoff Regan and Megan Lassie, two members of Canadian Parliament.

While introducing and inviting the political dignitaries to speak Rimple Singh Dhunna, secretary of the Maritime Sikh Society, stressed the fact that immigrants from India are now quite welcome in Nova Scotia. He compared the situation of the human treatment the Sikh refugees got from the local natives of Shelburne county where a ship from Germany brought 174 Sikh refugees from India early in the morning in July 1987 with the passengers of Komagata maru ship in 1914 at Vancouver.

Mayor Savage and the ministers briefly addressed the audience.

Jagpal Singh Tiwana, on behalf of the Maritime Sikh Society, thanked all those who contributed to the success of the exhibition.

Two documentaries covering Komagata Maru episode were played. It was followed by Guru Ka Langar, free food to all as per the Sikh tradition.

The exhibition came to end at 6 pm.

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