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Title: East Indian immigration into Canada, 1905-1973
Author: Bhatti, F. M.
ISNI:       0000 0000 6688 9077
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1974
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The migration of East Indians to the Dominions was an unorganised exercise. Indian membership in the British Empire gave them the status of British subjects and Imperial citizens but the Dominions were opposed to coloured migrants. By 1900 Australia and New Zealand had established their immigration policies for 'Whites only'. Canada experienced the East Indian migration after 1900. It coincided with that of other Orientals, namely Chinese and Japanese. Meanwhile ideas of social Darwinism prevailed in the North American continent. There arose an organised labour movement on the Pacific Coast. These factors reinforced the anti-Oriental feeling which resulted in the outbreak of anti-Asiatic riots at Vancouver. Exclusion of East Indians was the basic policy of Imperial and Canadian leaders. But an open ban on Indians could create a difficult situation with the possibility of its exploitation by anti-British elements in India. Therefore, effective but indirect restrictions were imposed on East Indian immigration. However, at times, such prohibitory immigration regulations could not sustain the test in the law courts. The migration question reached its climax with the arrival of the Komagata Maru in Vancouver but the failure of this enterprise completely reversed the migration trend. In its repercussions it contributed to the eruption of anti-British unrest and a revolutionary movement in the Punjab. Demands for equal treatment of Indians echoed all over India, After the First World War restrictions on Indian wives and children to join their husbands and fathers in Canada became a focal point. This matter was settled under the arrangement of Reciprocity of Treatment made in the Imperial War Conference (1918), Restrictions on further migration from India remained in practice, With the granting of independence to India and Pakistan, Canada sensed the urgency of coming to an understanding and arrangement With them. India could use this excuse for leaving the Commonwealth. Canada agreed to accept a small fixed number of South Asian immigrants. By the 1960s Canadian economic needs for skilled manpower increased tremendously while ideas of social Darwinism waned. The arrival of a large number of Europeans from various parts of Europe changed the Canadian outlook. Economic prosperity and radical changes in Canadian commercial and industrial life set aside the Asiatic take-over fear. Characteristics of South Asian migrants changed to a very great extent. Worldwide development of rapid transportation and communication helped to create a better understanding. Canada decided to apply her immigration regulations without racial regard. This transformation of the Canddian immigration policy from complete exclusion to equal acceptance has economic and social reasons. It is a paradox of history to find East Indians being excluded when India was part of the British Empire and now being accepted when the Empire is part of history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available