20 Pages

Closely observed ships

WithSuchetana Chattopadhyay

Komagata Maru set the template of a colonial strategy to suppress Punjabi Sikh labourers and other emigrants. What were the social components of political control imposed? How did the repressive state apparatus actively seek and receive help from European-owned monopolistic business interests? Were various forms of colonial authority and interest interlocked in the process? How did the police authorities from Bengal, Punjab, Delhi and Simla collaborate and draw support from an inter-imperial geography of surveillance? What was the impact of colonial surveillance on vessels and travellers during the weeks, months and years which followed? Finally, did the passengers resist and in what way? Drawing on the official voices traceable in reports, circulars and correspondence, this article examines the unknown facets of repression in the wake of Komagata Maru's journey.