THE City of Delta will install a Komagata Maru Story Board Sign in the North Delta Social Heart Plaza so that residents may be better informed of the hardships and struggle that the passengers of the Komagata Maru endured.
The City of Delta Council passed a motion on Monday to recognize the passengers of the Komagata Maru.
Raj Singh Toor, Vice President and Spokesperson for the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society, had requested the Council in December 2019 to recognize the passengers of the Komagata Maru. The society comprises 15 families all over Canada who claim they are direct descendants of those passengers.
He then had a meeting with the City of Delta Heritage Advisory Commission last July. A motion to recognize the passengers of the Komagata Maru was passed unanimously.
Toor thanked Delta Mayor George V. Harvie, Mayor office advisor Param Grewal, Delta Councillors, the City staff and the City of Delta Heritage Advisory Commission for their work in making this Komagata Maru Story Board Sign a reality.
“We can’t undo the past, but we can move forward and leave a legacy for future generations by educating them about the past. This new Komagata Maru Story Board Sign in the North Delta Social Heart Plaza will help educate the community and remind us of Delta’s diverse makeup. I hope that it will help in connecting British Columbians, Canadians, and Delta residents with their past, in order to build a more peaceful and tolerant tomorrow,” said Toor.
“I am proud of Council for approving a new sign remembering the Komagata Maru. I look forward to seeing the sign installed at the North Delta Social Heart Plaza where all Deltans will be able to learn about this important part of our history and feel the impact it still has today. Recognizing and acknowledging our past helps to provide a more inclusive present and a positive, diverse future,” said Harvie.
According to a federal government website: “On May 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru reached Vancouver’s harbour via Hong Kong and Japan carrying 376 prospective South Asian immigrants who hoped to settle in Canada. The passengers, however, did not receive a friendly welcome. Their arrival provoked massive opposition from the public, and prevalent ideas of race and exclusion held by the majority of the local population led to an outpouring of racial rhetoric and considerable effort to force the ship’s return to India. In response to this backlash, the local South Asian community came together to fight the deportation of the passengers. While a legal challenge mounted, the community was unsuccessful and the vast majority of the passengers were forced to leave.”