Dis-Immigration: Stemming the Flow from India 1900-1914 is a 30-minute high definition documentary film which tells the compelling story of how Canadian governments restricted immigration from India in the early 1900s. Funded by the Community Historical Recognition Program of the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration, Dis-Immigration is the third in a series of films on early immigration from India to Canada.
Canadians are becoming more aware of the story of hundreds of immigrants from India who were denied access to Canada in the Komagata Maru incident of 1914. This story has already been told through books, theatre and a recent documentary film (Continuous Journey 2005).
The film, Dis-Immigration, is unique in that it documents how the different restrictions affected immigration from India before 1914 and the Komagata Maru. It will help Canadians to better understand the Komagata Maru incident as the end result of a progressive change in Canadian attitudes and subsequent legislation.
Dis-Immigration tells the compelling story of Indian immigration (mainly Sikhs from the Punjab) from the first wave of immigrants, to the official closure of Asian immigration in 1908, and the tense period up to and beyond 1914. This was a rich time in Canadian history, but Canada was going through some growing up years, and it wasn’t an easy time for immigrants. This was a time of general optimism however; railways were still being built, the lumber industry was growing, and industry was about to boom. But it was also a time of new ways, adjustments and compromise, and changes weren’t easily made. Canada was clinging to its notion of being a “white man’s country,” and change only came through a great struggle, both personally and nationally. This is the period Dis-Immigration projects on film.