Becoming Canadian: Pioneer Sikhs In Their Own Words


Section 4

Mr.Ranjit Singh Hall
Mr.Ranjit Singh Hall
After 1947, when more jobs opened up to Sikhs, Ranjit Hall got a job with the federal government. He worked for the Citizenship and Immigration Department and the Secretary of State – Multiculturalism. He was instrumental in setting up the Human Rights Program and NACIO (National Association of Canadians of Indian Origin).

Mr. Dedar S. Sihota’s teachers in Duncan were instrumental in persuading him to go on with his education, while his own people were not so encouraging: " Very few people went on and got an education. By the time they were fourteen or fifteen, the question came up. I had just finished elementary school and wanted to go to high school in Duncan. The advice from numerous people was, ‘You are wasting your time. Why go on? You can earn more money in a mill than you’ll ever get with your education.’ They would talk about other people who had got their degrees and couldn’t get a job. I’d probably end up getting a degree and still having to work in a mill.

" I sort of liked school and I decided I’d better keep going, in spite of the opposition from some people. There were others at the same time who said, ‘Education is the only way to go, get as much education as you possibly can get, come what may, it will be a benefit to you’. "

Dedar Sihota’s elementary school teacher, Mr. Yard at Hillcrest, was not only a good teacher who encouraged him to become involved in many school activities, but he showed him much personal respect. " He even invited me to his house for dinner. This must have been in June, when I was finishing elementary school. This to me was kind of unheard of, a Canadian inviting an East Indian Sikh to his house and offer a meal. To my knowledge it wasn’t being done. So that was quite an experience to go to this strange environment, where the table is set and all the knives, forks and cutlery are there. It was a very nicely appointed house. I’d never seen anything like that in the bunkhouses and cookhouses of our own community. "

Before entering high school, Dedar Sihota got his hair cut and took off his turban and changed his ways. He thought that this would be a good time to make these types of changes since he was going into a new situation. He tried to be more " easy-going and free " to better fit in with the other students, trying to mix and socialize more.



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