Ghadar Centennial Conference 1913
Interpreting Ghadar: Echoes of Voices Past
Fall 2013, October 17th, 2013
(Program is subject to change – October 1st, 2013)
Thursday October 17th 2013 University of the Fraser Valley, Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, F125
7:30 am - 8:45am Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 am – Welcome: Satwinder Kaur Bains, Director Centre for Indo Canadian Studies
Satwinder Bains is an Instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley and the Director of the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies. Her research and teaching interests include Sikh cultural studies, migration and settlement, diaspora family studies, multicultural studies, race and gender and cross-cultural education. Satwinder has over thirty years of work experience in community development and has worked extensively in a leadership role with women, youth and families from the South Asian community. Currently she is completing her doctoral studies at Simon Fraser University in Curriculum Theory and Implementation.
9:05 am - Honorary Chair Address: Dr. Adrienne Chan, Associate Vice President Research, Engagement and Graduate Studies
Dr. Chan completed her PhD at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK and completed her post-doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia, Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training. Dr. Chan has received numerous research grants and is a two time Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) recipient. She has published and presented nationally and internationally. In 2008, Adrienne received the Teaching Excellence Award at UFV. Dr. Chan’s research and teaching interests include: academic culture, child welfare policy and practice, diversity, human rights, ethnicity-culture, race, multicultural studies, institutional culture/change, organizational development, research methods, gender studies, social justice and social policy. Her most recent work has focused on social justice and equity in universities and organizations.
9:15 am - President’s Address: Dr. Mark Evered, Vice Chancellor UFV
Dr. Mark Evered is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley in BC. He holds a BSc in biology (McMaster) and a PhD in physiology (University of Western Ontario). During his 35-year career he has held research and academic appointments at Cambridge University, the University of Western Ontario, the Howard Florey Research Institute in Melbourne, and the University of Saskatchewan. He has taught undergraduate students in a variety of science and health disciplines, supervised M.Sc. and Ph.D. thesis projects, and received a number of teaching awards. His research on homeostatic regulatory mechanisms has been presented nationally and internationally. His senior administrative service over the past twelve years has also included terms as Provost and Vice-President Academic at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC, and as Vice-Provost at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Dr. Evered has also served on many university and community committees, governance bodies and boards.
9:25 am - Consulate General of India, Vancouver, BC, Shri Ravi Shankar Aisola
Mr. Ravi Shankar Aisola is a career diplomat. He obtained his Masters degree in English from the Central University of Hyderabad. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986. Before coming to Vancouver as Consul General of India, Mr. Aisola served in different capacities in Indian Missions in Paris, Abidjan, Damascus & Budapest. Before his posting to Vancouver (Canada), Mr. Aisola was working as Joint Secretary/Head of MEA Branch Secretariat in Hyderabad, India. He has been the Consul General of India in Vancouver since August 7, 2012.
9:35 am - Keynote Address: Hugh Johnston
Hugh Johnston is a professor emeritus in history at Simon Fraser University, and he lives in North Vancouver. He is married and has five grandchildren. His wife, who was born in Cheshire, England and who grew up in Zimbabwe (when it was called Southern Rhodesia) is a painter who exhibits at the Winsor Gallery in Vancouver and the West End Gallery in Victoria. Johnston’s books include, British Emigration Policy 1815-1830: Shovelling out Paupers (1972); The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada’s Colour Bar (1979, 1989 and forthcoming in a revised edition with UBC Press, 2014); The Four Quarters of the Night: the Life Story of an Emigrant Sikh (1995); Radical Campus: Making Simon Fraser University (2005); and Jewels of the Qila: The Remarkable Story of an Indo-Canadian Family (2011).
What the Ghadr Party Meant to Punjabi Pioneers in British Columbia: an exploration
The Ghadr Party and its message presented Punjabis pioneers with conflicting choices: whether to stay in Canada or go home; whether to support one leadership faction or another; whether to adopt militancy or peaceful protest; and whether or not to put one identity--Indian, Punjabi Sikh, or Canadian--ahead of any other. Each individual resolved these questions in their own individual way. In this address we look at a few intersecting lives to see how these questions arose and how they were dealt with.
Conference academic panel
10:00 am - 11:30 am
PANEL # 1
Ghadar Literature and Revolution
MODERATOR: Satwinder Kaur Bains
Presenter: AMANDEEP KAUR DUA
Aman has done Masters of Philosophy and Masters of English literature from Panjab University, Chandigarh. She has been felicitated with various awards in the field of Public Speaking, including the Panjab University Color and Roll of Honor. She has taught at the college level for five years.
The inheritance of mutiny: The conception and catharsis of Gadar
This research will focus on the causes of the uprising, its aspirations and the reasons of fragmentation. To support the research, this paper will focus on ghadar poetry and various extracts from the articles of the newspapers of the day. Also letters written to the higher in command and the statements recorded during the trial will be taken into account. This research will try to figure out the reasons of emigration, why did the Indian immigrants feel the urge to organize themselves in a foreign land and how far did they succeed in their ambitions? This paper will also try to critically evaluate the means followed by the ghadarites and what made the only organized mutiny after 1857 go astray. The aspect of evolution of ghadar juxtaposed with the effort of the ghadarites to locate their identities in a foreign land will also be considered. Keeping their poetry in mind, an attempt will also be made to study the aspirations of the ghadarites, the reasons behind the revolution and how far did they succeed in reaching their ambitions.
Presenter: AMANDIP SINGH SIDHU
Amandip has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and works in the private industry sector as a management professional. Over the years, he has developed an interest in researching the works of the Sikh Gurus and their application to modern personal and professional life.
A Comparison of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s writings and the writings of the Gaddar Party
The Gadder party produced a significant amount of literature and poetry, which was published under the banners of their own media. The dominant themes were “exposure of exploitation of natural resources of lands under the colonial rule, and oppression and suppression of the people with the force of guns and the threat of gallows.” (Sidhu, Publish Date yet Unknown). Gadder poetry extensively used the themes depicting the life of Guru Gobind Singh, and other historic Sikh Martyrs. This can be seen from poems such as “An appeal to the Panth”, where the poem begins with the incantation of a Salok of Bhagat Kabir from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib:Soora So Pehchanye Jo Lardey Deen Ke Hait(He alone is known to be a warrior, who fights for the sake of righteousness ).This same poem refers specifically to Guru Gobind Singh with the verse: Let's wage war and justify our faith, and shouldn't bring bad name to the Tenth Master With Singh aligned to your name, why to waver, and hide like jackals to save your skin Guru Gobind Singh has a large volume of poetry and writings attributed to him. While there is debate regarding authenticity and true author of some of the writings, this paper will use that literature which has been “approved” as authentic by the Sikh panth. The three sources used will be: the Zafarnama, Jaap Sahib and Chaupai Sahib.
Presenter: GURPREET SINGH
Gurpreet Singh is a newscaster and talk show host with Radio India in Surrey and also free-lances for the Georgia Straight, People’s Voice and Vancouver Desi. He occasionally writes for India-based publications such as the Hindustan Times and Frontline. Before moving to Canada in 2001, he worked with The Tribune. He began his career as a journalist with Indian Express after completing his Masters degree in journalism from the Panjab University, Chandigarh. He has authored four books; Terrorism-Punjab’s Recurring Nightmare, Fighting Hatred With Love-Voices of the Air India Victims’ Families, Defenders of Secularism and Why Mewa Singh Killed William Hopkinson?: Revisiting the murder of a Canadian Immigration Inspector.
Analysis of the Genesis of the Ghadar Movement Using the Ghadar Narrative
This paper looks into the Ghadar narrative as primary documents to analyze the genesis of the movement, the circumstances under which it was born and its mandate and strategy to achieve freedom from the British occupation and form an egalitarian and secular republic after the overthrow of the colonial power in India. The narrative used for the purpose of the research includes the poems written by the Ghadar activists both under real and assumed names.
Presenter: SOHAN SINGH POONI
Sohan Singh Pooni was born in Nawashar district of Punjab on April 13, 1948. After completing his BA from the National College, Banga, he did his MA in history from the Punjab University, Chandigarh. He left his history-teaching job at the Baring Union Christian College, Batala after eighteen months and came to Canada at the end of 1972. He has published numerous articles in Canadian and Indian magazines and newspapers about the Gadar Movement, Komagata Maru incident, Babar Akali Lehar and other struggles waged by Indians to free their country from British rule. He is also deeply interested in Sikh history and the history of South Asians in Canada. He is an enthusiastic participant in discussions on radio, television and many other forums in the South Asian community about the revolutionary movements to free India as well as the history of Indians in Canada. His book published in 2009 about the Gadar revolutionaries of Canada has attracted wide attention not only in Canada but also in India and the Indian diaspora spread in other parts of the world. He lives with his family in Surrey, BC and is active in a number of organizations and is part of many activities to commemorate the Gadar Movement and the Komagata Maru.
The Role of the Ghadar Party within Canada
Discussion: 10 minutes
Conference academic panel
11:30 am - 1:00 am
PANEL # 2
Colonialism and Social Justice
MODERATOR: Prabhjot Parmar
Presenter: RISHMA JOHAL
Rishma Johal is an MA student at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department. She completed her BA at SFU in 2011 with a major in History and minor in Political Science. She has been involved within the South Asian community as a volunteer for various initiatives from her time as an undergraduate student until now. These experiences, as well as her participation in the Punjabi media as a radio and television show host, exposed her to vital issues within this community. She became interested in how this group depicts femininity and their conceptions of gender. Thus, her research work adopts an anti-racism feminist mframework to conduct an historical analysis of South Asian Women’s citizenship experience in Canada. Rishma will be completing a number of oral histories for this project as well. Moreover, she has attended several conferences over the past year, including the Congress in Victoria in 2013. One of her papers received the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for the Best Graduate Essay. Currently, Rishma is focusing on publishing some of her work and looking forward to presenting at more conferences.
A Revolutionary Diaspora: The Ghadar Movement in Canada and South Asian Women
Academics need to begin re-analyzing political and historical events to acknowledge how notable incidents may have affected women. It is vital to consistently examine history from a new perspective and challenge its preoccupation with men. The Ghadar is another moment that continues to be remembered by historians as male oriented. However, despite the way that particular instances are documented, it is undoubtable that women have always had a significant impact on men's lives. They affect their decisions as daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, or neighbors. The popular slogan “behind every successful man is a woman,” affirms women’s support through numerous ways including the provision of basic necessities, cooking, cleaning, taking care of children, offering moral support, and discussing political events. However, only five women’s presence in Canada can be confirmed during the Ghadar because racist immigration policies prevented their arrival. Consequently, it is these discriminatory laws and South Asian men’s disenfranchisement in 1907 that enhanced the community’s disillusionment with the government. Many of these men were retired officers from the British Indian army and most regarded themselves as British subjects, so this second class treatment deeply affected their disposition. Hence, this paper will argue that South Asian women's exclusion from Canadian society heightened support for the Ghadar movement and this history continues to shape South Asian Canadian women's experiences today. I will begin by providing an overview of the Ghadar, men and women’s spheres, and immigration laws. I will then examine how the Ghadar affected the first South Asian women and highlight their contributions towards the construction of the South Asian Diaspora in Canada. Finally, I will explore how these past developments maintain relevance for South Asian women who currently reside in Canada.
Presenter: INDER SINGH
Inder Singh has started/built several Indian/Asian community organizations in the last 40 years. He has served the Indian American community at local, national (US wide) and international level. He has actively participated in the socio-political activities of the Asian and American communities in leadership capacity. Mr. Singh’s initiative and relentless pursuit for centennial commemoration of Gadar Movement started by NRIs to liberate India from British slavery, has resulted in the release of commemorative stamp by the Prime MInister at PBD in Kochi and announcement to upgrade the Gadar Memorial Hall in San Francisco to a functional library and museum. Mr. Singh, in an attempt to create more awareness, has co-authored The Gadar Heroics – a book on Gadar Movement and Gadarites, published in June 2013.
Ghadar Movement and the Role of Irish Americans
Indians started coming to the United States in the beginning of the 20th century. They found jobs on farms and in factories but faced enormous difficulties as new immigrants. The white workers felt threatened by labor competition from the Indians and started demanding exclusionary laws from cheap foreign workers. The local press carried scare stories against the “Hindu Invasion.” Indians soon realized the racial prejudice and bigotry of American people due to their being nationals of a subjugated country. They formed Hindi Association of the Pacific Coast in 1913 with a major objective to liberate India from British slavery with the force of arms. The headquarter was established in San Francisco from where weekly magazine Gadar was published for free distribution. Over a period of time, the association became known as Gadar Party. Prior to the formation of the Gadar Party, overseas Indians in UK and Canada had attempted to form similar revolutionary organizations and brought out magazines to create awareness among Indians against the British colonial rule. But they could not survive as both UK and Canada were ruled by the British. Taraknath Das was forced to leave Canada in 1908 to continue publication of his journal Free Hindustan in Seattle, advocating armed rebellion against the British rule as a means for achieving independence. Like Indians, people from other countries had formed similar organizations to secure freedom for their countries. Taraknath Das established connections with Irish revolutionaries in America. Mohammad Barkatullah who later became a prominent leader in the Gadar Party, attended the third National Convention of the United Irish League in Philadelphia in October 1906 and asked for a pledge from the organizer against England for the sake of India. In 1908 while living in New York, he developed friendship with George Freeman, editor of the Gaelic American, a popular newspaper of the Irish revolutionaries. Taraknath Das started printing of his Free Hindustan magazine at the Gaelic American. The article will dwell on the link between Indian and Irish revolutionaries and what impact it had on Indians attempt to gain independence for India.
Presenter: KHUSHVIR SINGH SAINI
Khushvir Singh Saini is pursuing a Ph.D. in Geography at Panjab University, Chandigarh (India). He completed his Masters in Geography (2012) and Bachelor of Arts (2010) in Geography, History and Fine Arts from the same University. His research interests include Food and Nutritional Security Issues in India, Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Modern Indian History. He is also associated with a joint research project of University of the Fraser Valley and Panjab University on developing Sustainable Settlements in India. Under this project, he has assisted several Canadian student interns working in India.
The Ghadar Movement: Revisiting its Genesis and Exploring Prospects of Another Ghadar movement in Contemporary India
Though the Ghadar movement is widely regarded as a revolution for Indian freedom but the very origin of this movement provides evidence that it was also a movement against various social evils prevalent at that time like communalism, corruption, inequality, unemployment, poor education system and injustice. The Ghadarites worked to initiate an era of universal brotherhood, love and justice and set India free from the Britishers. Objectives: This research paper tries to investigate various reasons of genesis of Ghadar movement. These reasons have been compared and contrasted with the contemporary Indian conditions and the prospects of beginning of another Ghadar movement have been explored. Data and Methods: The data for this research paper was collected from secondary sources. Various books, biographies, essays and diaries of the revolutionaries of Ghadar movement were consulted. The head office of the Ghadar society (Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Committee, Jalandhar) was visited. Indepth informal interviews with the concerned persons were conducted. The information on contemporary Indian conditions was collected from various books on modern Indian history and culture, newspapers and other journals and magazines. Qualitative research methods were used for the analysis of the collected information. Conclusion: It has been concluded that even after a hundred years of initiation of Ghadar movement, India has yet not succeeded in eradicating some of its social problems which have haunted its society since olden times. Despite best efforts of Indian government the social conditions are deteriorating day by day, enhancing the prospects of a second Ghadar revolution.
Presenter: TEGINDER KUMAR
Teginder received his PhD in Political Science on the topic titled ‘The Role of Regional Political Parties in National Politics’. His research papers have been published in reputed journals like Man & Development (India) and Journal of Punjab Studies (USA). Presently, he is working as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at University College, Ghanaur (Punjabi University, Patiala). Besides academics, he has been engaged in social and political work at the grassroots level for the last two decades.
The Ghadar Ethos: The Radical Turn in Indian History
In order to be meaningful, any engagement with the past has to be guided by the co-ordinates of the contemporary socio-political configuration. Accordingly, the question of the importance of the Ghadar movement should be raised with reference to its significance and relevance for our turbulent times. The challenge today is to rethink the question of radical human emancipation with reference to the construction of a new political imagination which is capable of dreaming the impossible. The significance of the Ghadar movement cannot be properly assessed without taking into account its contribution to the construction of this new political imagination. The paper tries to examine the hitherto ignored aspects of the revolutionary ethos of the Ghadar movement. Firstly, it was their courageous imagination which enabled them to dream the idea of universal emancipation of man. Secondly, their concrete political strategy attempted to incorporate the lessons of various struggles for justice across the globe. And thirdly, their earnest efforts put the Indian national struggle in alliance with the broader principles of modernity. To the above end, an attempt will also be made to delineate how the Ghadar movement has been viewed and judged from competing perspectives. For example, the dominant nationalist and religious interpretations tend to compromise its egalitarian legacy. The paper will situate the Ghadar ethos as a decisive rupture in the historical consciousness of the sub-continent because it made the category of ‘social justice’ as its point of departure against the colonial empire. By doing this, the Ghadarites dared to re-configure the traditional social organization, and in the process, expanded the political horizon of Indian freedom struggle which, in various shades, was trying to conjure and revive a harmonious and homogenous Indian past. The Ghadar movement made the discourse of modern reason and secularism the core of their revolutionary vision. Hence, they brought the question of radical human emancipation to the fore.
Discussion: (10 minutes)
Lunch 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, UHouse F125
Conference academic panel
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
PANEL # 3
Negotiating Transnational Historiographies
MODERATOR: Rajnish Dhawan
Presenter: JASBIR SINGH MANN
Dr. Jasbir Singh Mann is an orthopedic surgeon, practicing since 1980, and a scholar and writer on Sikh issues. His articles have appeared in a range of journals, including Nishaan, The Sikh Review, and Abstracts of Sikh Studies, and in several books. He has co-edited four books on Sikhism and arranged many international Sikh Studies conferences including in 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000,2004, 2012 and 2013. A recipient in 2001 of a D.Lit. (Honoris causa) from Punjabi University, Patiala for his contributions to Sikh studies.He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of International Physicians.
Reevaluating the Origin and Inspiration of ‘Sikh Gadar 1907-1918’
2013 is an important year for North Americans Sikh. Many historians of the Gadar movement try to generalize the influence of Communist, Arya Smaj, Abhinava Bharat, Western socialists, Anarchists and the 1857 Sepoy Mutinee thought process as a source of inspiration on the Ghadarites. This is done without any serious analysis of the actual content of historical evidence. Evidence shows that the movement was launched from Sikh Gurdwaras and the Guru Granth Sahib’s teachings and that Guru Nanak’s Salok on page 1412 of the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ was the motto of the Gadar Newspaper ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ(Jo Tau Prem Khaelan Kaa Chaa). Historians do not try to explore the religious, social, cultural and political beliefs and political activism of the new migrants to North America in the years 1904-14. Data from five sources confirm that more than 85% percent of these immigrants were male Sikhs and this movement did not involve repudiation of their religious faith; instead their faith strengthened their involvement with the Sikh Gadar revolution. Communist influence in this movement is a late phenomenon, after 1922-1927 as is clearly supported by writings of Sohan Singh Josh and Rattan Singh Ajnala. Evidence shows that the teachings of the Sikh Gurus strongly motivated the consciousness of these Gadarites in the west coast of North America along with racial discrimination in employment, finance, civic matters, as well as a sense of public humiliation, immigration restrictions and their ultimate exclusion, which compelled them to re-imagine their status in light of the Queen’s proclamation of 1858. The intent of my presentation is to present the correct history of Sikh Pioneers on record for the North American public who if they read the right books will know the true contributions of Sikh pioneers from North America for the Indian war of independence.
Presenter: MOHAMMED AYUB KHAN
Mohammed Ayub Khan is a PhD. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at McMaster University. He has a special interest in studying the ideas of Muslim revolutionaries in the Indian freedom movement.
The Revolutionary Faith of Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi
Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi (1872-1944) was an important Ghadarite who defies easy classification. Despite being a member of the Deobandi school of thought he was a radical who transcended religious and other barriers. His re-conceptualisation of the thought eighteenth century reformer Shah Waliullah has invited criticism that the reformer would not have approved of them. Through an analysis of the writings of Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi this paper will present an appraisal of the ideological foundations of Sindhi’s thought and how it did or didn’t integrate with the Ghadarite project.
Presenter: JOHN PRICE
John Price was born in Vancouver and after completing high school went to Japan in 1968. He spent four years in the Kansai area before returning to Canada. He completed his Ph.D. at UBC in 1994. His graduate research focused on the labour movement and economic development in postwar Japan and his dissertation was published by Cornell University Press under the title Japan Works: Power and Paradox in Postwar Industrial Relations. Fifteen years ago he began to broaden his research interests to Canada and the Transpacific and this culminated in the publication of his recent book Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (Vancouver, UBC Press, 2011). He is currently working on a biography (with his collaborator in China, Ningping YU) of Victoria Chung, the first Chinese Canadian to graduate from University of Toronto Medical School, one of the longest-serving medical missionaries to China. He is also working on the story of Darshan Singh Sangha as part of a research program focusing on the life stories of fifteen people with transpacific ties. Most recently he worked with his graduate seminar to document the Panama Maru incident of 1913.
Challenging White Supremacy: The Panama Maru Incident of 1913
On 17 October 1913, fifty-six passengers from India arrived in Victoria aboard the Japanese steamer, the Panama Maru. Awaiting them was the British/Canadian agent William Hopkinson who had been on his way to the United States to disrupt the emerging Ghadar movement. Hopkinson and other colonial officials attempted to prevent the majority of the mainly Sikh newcomers from landing. The ensuing events saw the mobilization of a broad spectrum of support among South Asians, including reformers and revolutionaries, as well as a number of allies. Lining up against them were federal and provincial officials and a hostile English-language press. The outcome was a surprise to all. The Panama Maru incident, as it became known, was not only a watershed for the nascent South Asian community in Victoria, it created legal precedents that obliged the Canadian government to revise their immigration regulations. This long-neglected episode set the scene for the tragic events that occurred the following year with the arrival of the Komagata Maru. It vividly illustrates the context in which the revolutionary Ghadar movement emerged to challenge white supremacy in Canada and India.
Presenter: PAUL ENGLESBERG
Dr. Paul Englesberg is professor of education at Walden University, specializing in adult and higher education, and educational research. Previously he was on the education faculty at Western Washington University where he initiated the Asian American Curriculum and Research Project. He has also taught in several universities in Taiwan and China. He has conducted research on the history of Asian Americans in the Pacific northwest of the U.S., focusing especially on the 1907 riots and expulsion of the Punjabi workers from Bellingham and Everett in Washington State.
The 1907 Anti-Punjabi Hostilities in Washington State: Prelude to the Ghadar Movement
Following months of harassment and threats, on September 4, 1907 a mob attacked and drove out over 200 South Asian laborers from Bellingham, Washington. Most of these immigrants, commonly referred to as “Hindus,” were Sikhs who had recently emigrated from Punjab to Canada and then crossed the border to work in large lumber mills. The goal of the rioters was to expel these workers from the mills and the city. In months following anti-Punjabi hostilities occurred in other locations in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, causing many more South Asian immigrants to flee back to Canada or further south to Oregon and California. This paper will address the conflicts that faced the early South Asian immigrants to Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and examine both causal factors and far-reaching consequences of the conflicts, including exclusionary immigration policies in Canada and the United States and the radicalization of many of these immigrants.
Discussion: (10 minutes)
4pm - 6pm
Thursday October 17th, 2013 Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, F125
Reception Address: Dr. Jacqueline Nolte, Dean, College of Arts
Dr. Jacqueline Nolte holds a PhD in Historical Studies from the University of Cape Town, from which she obtained an MA in Art History and a BFA in sculpture and film studies. Dr. Nolte’s areas of academic expertise relate to Contemporary South African art and the realist-anti-realist polemic between c. 1917 and 1934 in Soviet Russia. She has taught undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to teaching Art History at the University of Cape Town, the University of Stellenbosch and the University of the Fraser Valley, Dr. Nolte has worked as a photographer, book designer, stage designer and in the film industry. She has co-curated exhibitions of South African art and has served as board member acquiring works for the South African National Gallery and on boards of non-governmental organizations such as the Community Arts Project in Cape Town. For over twenty years, Dr. Nolte has campaigned for human rights in various political, cultural and women’s organizations. At UFV, she has chaired Arts Faculty Council and the BFA Curriculum Committee and has served on the Arts Curriculum Committee, the Indigenous Arts Degree curriculum working group and the Media Arts Degree curriculum working group.
4:15 PM-Presentation by Johanna Ogden-Ghadar and the St. John’s Riot
Ghadar represented a political shift from people working to build a better life back home, or a home in North America, to working to free their homeland. This political change was the product of the entire West Coast community and its response to the restrictions, riots, and police spies marshaled against them. The center of emerging radicalism was in Vancouver, and its news and sentiments spread through the world through newspapers, Gurdwaras and other such networks. I argue that the under-examined March 1910 riot in St. Johns, near Portland, Oregon, was an important moment in the lead up to Ghadar. The riot, I believe, achieved two important things. First, it made clear that Oregon, formerly a haven and perhaps a pressure release valve for the North American Punjabi community, was not immune to the worst racial politics of the time. Secondly, it put radical workers living in the area, including Sohan Singh Bhakna, in direct contact with radical intellectuals to the north, such as Taraknath Das then of Seattle. My paper will explore the riot itself and the major legal and public opinion battles about it, including Taraknath Das’ commentary quoted at length in the Oregonian, a prominent regional newspaper. The months-long trial – which Punjabis fought for and participated in – was prosecuted by Portland’s District Attorney, supported by British Consul Laidlaw of Oregon, debated in the area’s press and stands in sharp contrast to the 1907 Bellingham riot. The St. Johns riot and its aftermath is both revelatory and a microcosm of Oregon’s broader racial policy, distinct from other states in the West, and hotly contested within Oregon. But Oregon’s reigning racial policy and the openings that policy produced, I argue, proved key to Ghadar organizers’ work in Oregon.
4:35 PM-Poetry readings of Ghadar Lehar