Political Participation of Indian Diaspora in Canada: A Sociological Appraisal

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 13:10
Oral Presentation
Bugga RAJENDER, University of Hyderabad, India
Political Participation of Indian Diaspora in Canada:

A Sociological Appraisal

The paper attempts to explore how the Indian diaspora in Canada has emerged and shaped itself as a political group post 1980. Albeit incidents like Komagata Maru (1914) which reminds the exclusionist laws, pursued by the early settlers from Europe; Indian Diaspora confronts segregation of race, nationality, language, religion and ethnic identities, and it is fascinating to perceive how groups of Immigrants tried to establish its affinity with the political life in a new country. The primary objective of the paper is to look into history of Indian Diaspora, role of religious groups and political participation of Indian diaspora as a whole. The paper relied on secondary sources. Initially, the political activities were demonstrated through religious, non-religious associations like Gurudwara committees, National Association of Canadians of Origins in India (NACOI) and Khasla Diwan Society. It is evident from the Gurudwaras’ role in uniting a Sikh community which turned to be centers for political mobilization despite the experience of racial discrimination and nationality. Canada is the first country to incorporate multiculturalism as an official state policy in 1971, enabling immigrants to take part in electoral politics as they recognized to be citizens with equal rights on par with the natives. It is in 1988 they participated in elections not only as voters, but also as candidates at both provincial and federal level.

The paper is divided into four sections. First section comprising the primary background discusses the definition of the term diaspora, and their journey in Canada. The second section looks into the tragedy of Komagata Maru (1914) the third examines role of Sikh religious associations. The final section evaluates how the diaspora assimilated with the political culture of the host country.

Keywords: Indo-Canadian Diaspora; komagataMaru; Gurudwara; immigrants; multiculturalism.