“Still Chanting Denied Shores”


Tariq Malik
novelist and poet


Upon the arrival of the Komagata Maru in the Burrard Inlet of Vancouver's racially charged harbour, it is intercepted by the hostile immigration authorities of the Province of British Columbia. This talk explores the legacy and politics of skin and color among the colonized populations, the inherent conflict of adopted homelands, and how anti-colonial insurgencies and resurgences are connected to Indigenous politics in Canada. In particular, Malik explores this dynamic through the lens of despair and hope. He will conclude by a presentation and audio-visual of a poem, Hugging the Shore. Presented in partnership with the University of Victoria.



Today, there are over one billion people on the move across the globe. In order to tell their story I shall modulate the chorus and amplify a solo by framing my narrative on one very personal storyline – mine.

My talk will focus on the discordant encounters with the four languages of my childhood in Pakistan, each with its peculiar ragged past within the post-colonial realities: Punjabi – the mother tongue, in a constant state of siege and obliteration, particularly in western Punjab; Urdu – the second-hand mongrel imposed on the peasants by bureaucrats to demolish all traces of local dialects and unite a country; Arabic – the new language of financial expediency, denounced by modernists and promoted by Islamists; and finally English – Lord Macaulay's insidious gift from the 19th century British India. I shall touch briefly on how one catholic priest was busy sabotaging that mandate late into the 1960s.

Using the Komagata Maru debacle as a touchstone, I shall explore similar frictions within post-colonial cultures; and the unresolved dynamics of push and pull that still continue to ravage thriving indigenous societies, and displace millions.

Using the modern phenomenon of mass migration as a global metaphor for the search for lost homes, I shall vivify the homesickness of displaced people by recreating an afternoon onboard the Komagata Maru as it lay stranded in shallow water. This will also involve an account of the decade of exploring, re-inventing, and promoting the significance of this distant event, as well as trying to publish a work of fiction on this subject.

I shall also briefly highlight the hitherto undocumented account of the five remarkable Komagata Maru, passengers who jumped ship in Yokohama during the return voyage, and then headed back for Vancouver by way of Mexico, California and Calgary.

My presentation will end with an audio visual of an extended poem. Hugging the Shore will hopefully kindle some of the sparks lit by the talk.


Event Information:

The event will be live-streamed at: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c8kiq7m6hn4d8l051ebptbcji78.

** Please note that this event is free and open to the public, however capacity is limited to 200.
Admission tickets can be reserved through the Royal BC Museum (RBCM) **


“Still Chanting Denied Shores” Registration (RBCM)

May 16, 2014  |  7 pm – 8:30 pm

Royal British Columbia Museum
675 Belleville Street
Victoria, BC
V8W 9W2

RBCM Contact Information:
Tel: 250-356-7226
Toll free: 1-888-447-7977


“Still Chanting Denied Shores” Registration (RBCM)


Event Sponsorship:

“Still Chanting Denied http://www.cialisgeneriquefr24.com/generique-cialis-efficace/ Shores” has been graciously supported, in part, by the Royal BC Museum and the University of Victoria.

RBCM2          UVIC

The organizing committee wishes to extend its gratitude and appreciation to these institutions.