In April of 1914, a few hundred men and women in Calcutta boarded a ship bound for Vancouver, though British Canada had recently enacted a law that would prevent the ship's passengers from landing. As the ship, the Komagata Maru, steamed its way across the Pacific, officials in Vancouver braced themselves for its arrival. For Canadian officials, this would be the first refusal of its kind. When the Komagata Maru finally reached the harbor, on May 3, immigration officers refused to allow the ship to dock. Vancouver police patrolled the waters and the shores to ensure that no Indian passengers left the ship. After two months of political brokering among officials throughout the British Empire, exhaustive legal challenges, and an attempt to forcibly remove the ship and its passengers-an attempt which the passengers resisted by hurling bricks-all but a few of the ship's passengers, never having set foot on Canadian ground, were forced to return to India.
"Immigration, Imperialism, and the Legacies of Indian Exclusion,"
Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities: Vol. 28
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol28/iss1/2