A year’s worth of work to suitably commemorate the centenary of the Komagata Maru incident, came to fruition on Saturday, November 1st and Sunday, November 2nd with the two performances of the CICS commissioned play titled That Land Beyond the Waves. The play was written by Assistant Professor of English at UFV, Dr. Rajnish Dhawan and Directed by Associate Professor of English at UFV, John Carroll.
That Land Beyond the Waves is the story of those who were waiting to meet their loved ones stranded on board the Komagata Maru. The play projects the pain of having someone close to your heart suffer in front of you and the tragic irony of being able to alleviate that suffering despite having all the means to do so. it tells the story of 376 separated by heavily guarded waves, denied permission to be together owning to the racist polices of the time. It forces us to ask how far we have come, how successful or unsuccessful we have been in the last hundred years in making our society an inclusive one.
The opening night was a sold out event with an audience enthralled by the moving performances of the actors and the stellar script which combined humour and emotion. The matinee performance was also very well attended and included an opening address by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mr. Mike de Jong and the Mayor of Abbotsford, Mr. Bruce Banman. The cast and crew received a standing ovation for their efforts at both performances.
Dr. Mark Evered, Vice-Chancellor and President of UFV hosted a reception prior to the opening night to honour the commemoration of the centenary of the Komagata Maru.
The dedication of writer Dr. Rajnish Dhawan and Director John Carroll deserves recognition as the Centre has received accolades and requests for future performances. The CICS will work to develop a school study guide along with the taped performance of the play, which will be made available so that schools may present this piece of forgotten history to students in the local area and beyond.