Date of Birth: 1946 | Birthplace: Maalpur, Punjab | Current City: Duncan, BC
Joginder Kaur Sohi was born in Maalpur, Punjab, India on November 1, 1946. Her paternal grandfather came to Canada in 1907. Through her grandfather, her uncle (mother’s brother), and Joginder’s brothers also immigrated to Canada about 50 years ago. After Joginder’s father’s death, her brothers made the decision to get Joginder to Canada.
On April 13, 1970, Joginder and her sisters landed in Vancouver and came to Victoria to join their brothers. Although Joginder was still in college in India, her brothers made the decision to get her to Canada as quickly as possible because there was no one to look after her since her father passed away.
During her initial days in Canada, she used to feel very lost. She used to miss her mother and friends a lot. But, with time and with the support of her brothers and their wives, she was able to settle in and adapt to her new life in Canada. Within a year of coming to Canada, she got married to a person from India. The marriage took place in the Sikh Temple in Victoria.
Her husband was born, raised and educated in Delhi, India. But when he immigrated to Canada, his educational degrees from Delhi University were not recognized here and had no choice but to do labour work. For the first five years, they had to struggle a lot, but they were lucky enough to get a lot of help and support from Joginder’s brothers.
Few years into her marriage, Joginder started working in the hospital as a nurse’s aide. In her workplace, she was known as Joy. The nurse she worked for was from England, and gave Joginder a really hard time at work, often making her a victim of racial discrimination. But on the positive side, the director and all the other nurses at the hospital saw Joginder as a really valuable employee and appreciated the hard work she put in. She shares that although her shift used to start at 7am, but she was always there at the workplace at precisely 6.30am.
Joginder shares that in those days, the South-Asian community was not that involved as they are now. Indian festivals like Diwali were not celebrated. Still, Joginder and her family tried to be involved in the community and led a very social life. This is also because since her grandfather moved to Canada in 1907, their family had been here for long and knew a lot of people in the community.
Joginder shares that her grandfather played a very prominent role in the community. After coming to Canada, he settled in Duncan and owned a mill where a lot of people from Paldi and Maalpur regions in India, used to work at his mill. He was 6 feet and 4 inches tall and used to carry a cane along with.
In the early 1900s, there was a trend to go to the pub to drink beer after work. One day, her grandfather went to the pub and was refused by the server as they said that they don’t serve to colored people. Angered by this, he got up from his seat, took the cane and broke every bottle in the pub. Since he was a big and tall person, no one dared to stop him and he continued to do this not caring about the possibility of getting arrested and going to jail. After this event, the pubs started serving to brown people. Joginder’s cousin still owns 500 acres of her grandfather’s land in Duncan.
Joginder is now settled in Victoria and does not visit India that often. She went back to India in 1996, after twenty years of being in Canada. The next time she went was 15 years ago for her daughter`s marriage, who now lives in Mumbai. Joginder and her husband made sure that their daughters receive good education, who went on to study accounting and are now married and well settled with children.
See original entry here. The South Asian Canadian Heritage website project is dedicated to highlighting the many projects, research, and databases which have been undertaken by the South Asian Studies Institute and/or through its partnerships.
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