Tara Singh Bains: Revealing one of the first fully detailed voices on the Sikh immigrant experience, was Tara Singh Bains. In collaboration with Simon Fraser University Professor, Hugh Johnston, the autobiographical story of Tara Singh Bains was published in the “Four Quarters of the Night” in 1995. In April 1953, Tara Singh left his wife Karam Kaur, and their two sons and one daughter, in Punjab, in order to migrate to British Columbia. Some of the initial difficulties Tara Singh faced included the pressures to assimilate, whereby his own sister and brother-in-law encouraged him to shave his beard, cut his hair, etc. However, despite such pressures, Tara Singh refused to assimilate to this degree, maintaining his Sikh heritage. While working in sawmills in B.C, Tara Singh faced much racism and discrimination; however, once again, he persevered and continued to work hard in life. After a few trips back and forth between Canada and India (mostly due to family obligations), Tara Singh was able to sponsor his wife and family to come to British Columbia by 1971 due mainly to Canadian immigration policies becoming more lenient. Throughout his life experience and turmoils, Tara Singh maintained his strong Sikh faith, thus putting all his experiences into God’s hands. And to this day, Tara Singh’s story is read by Sikhs and non-Sikhs, scholars and students, throughout Canada. Robin Bawa: Born on March 26, 1966 in Duncan, British Columbia, Robin Bawa was the first Indo Canadian to be drafted into the National hockey league. After playing for five seasons of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League for the Kamloops Blazers (in which he boasted a 57 goal performance), Robin was drafted by the Washington Capitals. While playing for the Washington Capitals, it was not so much his goal scoring abilities which gained him notoriety, but rather, his penalty receiving skills. Indeed, while playing for the Capitals, Robin received an average of 200 penalty minutes. After his year with the Capitals, Robin was sold to the Vancouver Canucks in 1991, where he set a career high with the IHL of 27 goals. After being traded to the San Jose Sharks, where he played in the 1992-93 season, the last NHL team Robin played for, were the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, where he played a total of 12 games. Due to a concussion he had received following his last season of playing in 1993-94, Robin was forced to retire from playing hockey. Throughout his NHL and WHL career, Robin was awarded with the WHL West All Star Team in the 1986-87 season. Professor Sadhu Binning: Sadhu Binning first came to British Columbia in 1967 and chose to settle in Vancouver. If there are two significant aspects for which he is synonymous for, it is his professional career as a Professor of Punjabi language at UBC, as well as his other professional career as a Punjabi poet and prose writer. Professor Binning has been teaching Punjabi at UBC since 1988, and he has been an active advocate for the importance in learning Punjabi as he has always believed in the importance of language as a precursor to understanding ones own culture and heritage. And because of his passion for the Punjabi language, as well as language and writing in general, Professor Binning has served as the Vice-President for Punjabi Language Education Association, and has also been a member of the Writers Union of Canada, and is also on the editorial board for “Rung” and “Events,” which are two literary English magazines published across Canada. In terms of his writing accomplishments, Professor Binning has written several plays, fifteen books in Punjabi, four books of Punjabi poetry, two short story books in Punjabi, one novel, as well as two non fictional books based on his own research. In addition to these works in Punjabi, Professor Binning is also the founder and writer for the magazine “Vatno Dur,” or Far Away from the Motherland. Arvinder Bubber: Arvinder Bubber was the first Indo Canadian chairman to serve on the Kwantlen University College Board of Governors. Currently, (2008) he is serving in his fourth term as the chairman on the Board. Arvinder Bubber has also served as the vice-chairman of the Premier's Asia Pacific Trade Council. Prior to his career within the Kwantlen University College, Arvinder Bubber attended University in both India and the United Kingdom where he studied as a chartered accountant. As part of his career in the financial sector, Arvinder Bubber was the former director of revenue and fiscal services for the City of Regina, and he also eventually opened his own Accounting business in Vancouver in 1991. Shushma Datt: Born in Kenya, Africa, Shushma Datt was the first Indo Canadian Broadcaster, as well as the first Indo Canadian recipient of the Order of British Columbia, in B.C. Before moving to Vancouver, B.C, Shushma Datt lived in England where she began her broadcasting career while working with the BBC network. Once in Vancouver, Shushma Datt's career in the radio began with the CJVB radio in Vancouver, where she was the first announcer in Hindi and Punjabi. In 1988, Shushma Datt developed her own radio station, the “Rim Jhim” network, in which she provided the Indo Canadian community in British Columbia a great source of news and entertainment. Shushma Datt is also the host of “Women in Focus,” a television show dedicated to influential Indo Canadian women in the British Columbian community. Because of her influence with the Indo Canadian community, Shushma Datt was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 1992. Currently, Shushma Datt has a new radio station: “RJ 1200” AM. Herb Dhaliwal: Born on December 12, 1952, in Punjab, India, Herb Dhaliwal was the first Indo Canadian to become a federal cabinet minister in 1997 as Minister of Revenue. Herb Dhaliwal was only six years old when he, along with his family, first migrated to Vancouver. As a youngster in Vancouver, Herb Dhaliwal attended the John Oliver Secondary School in 1972. After graduating from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Herb Dhaliwal started his own maintenance company, the “Dynamic Facilities Services Ltd,”. In terms of his career in politics, Herb Dhaliwal was first elected in the Canadian House of Commons in 1993 as Liberal Member of Parliament for Vancouver-South. Prime Minister Jean Chretian appointed Herb Dhaliwal in the federal cabinet as a Minister of Revenue, he also served as the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in 1999, and as the Minister of Natural Resources in 2002. Sergeant Baltej Dhillon: Being a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police certainly deserves merit and recognition in its own right, however, becoming the first turbaned member of the respectable force, after some strenuous legal battles, is what has made Baltej Dhillon such an important figure not just in British Columbia, but the rest of Canada as well. After coming to Canada in 1983 when he was only sixteen years old, Baltej Dhillon first pursued a law degree by taking classes at Kwantlen College. But then, after years of volunteering with the RCMP, these ambitions changed drastically. It was life in the RCMP which intrigued Baltej Dhillon's ambitions more than anything. And when he learned that if he was to become a member of the RCMP, he would have to shave his turban, the malay born Baltej Dhillon was quite shocked. Thus, knowing full well what his life dream and desire was, Baltej Dhillon pursued a legal battle in which he was victorious, becoming an RCMP officer in 1990. Overcoming the initial publicity following his acceptance into the RCMP, Baltej Dhillon proved his worth through his work. Such important cases included working on the Air India investigation, as well as the Willy Pickton investigation. In addition to this, because of his specialization and skills in the polygraph field, Baltej Dhillon is also an instructor at the Pacific Region training Centre in Chilliwack, B.C. Ujjal Dosanjh: Born on September 9, 1947 in Jalandhar, India, Ujjal Dosanjh was the first Indo-Canadian Premier of British Columbia and of any Canadian province, and the first Indo Canadian Federal Minister of Health in the previous Liberal government. Currently, Ujjal Dosanjh is a Liberal Member of Parliament. Ujjal Dosanjh decided at the age of seventeen to migrate to London in search of a new life. Four years later, in 1968, Ujjal Dosanjh moved from London to Canada. While in Canada, Ujjal Dosanjh pursued an academic career, where, in addition to taking classes at Langara College, he also worked at a saw mill. Eventually, Ujjal Dosanjh earned an honours political science degree from Simon Fraser University, as well as graduating from the University of British Columbia law school in 1976. By 1979, Ujjal Dosanjh had opened up his own law office in Vancouver. Ujjal Dosanjh’s political career began in 1991 when he was elected as a member of parliament in the Vancouver-Kensington riding. Following this first victory, Ujjal Dosanjh was re-elected in 1996. During his stint as an MLA, Ujjal Dosanjh held a number of Ministerial titles including: Minister of Government Services, Minister of Multiculturalism, Minister of Human Rights, and the Minister of Sports. With all these accomplishments however, it is true that the highlight in Ujjal Dosanjh's career, and to the entire Indo-Canadian community, was when he was elected as the 33rd premier of British Columbia on February 4, 2000 - the first Indo-Canadian, and visible minority to accomplish such a feat in Canada. Terry Gidda: Terry Gidda is the first Indo Canadian Councilor elected to the City of Mission. Moe Gill: Moe Gill became the first Indo Canadian City Councillor when he was elected in Abbotsford in 1996. After coming to Canada in the 1950's, Moe Gill first worked in the sawmill industries. In the 1970's, Moe Gill purchased and ran a raspberry farm. To this day, Moe Gill continues to be an advocate for the farming industry. Naranjan Singh Grewall: In terms of his "firsts," as an Indo Canadian, Naranjan Singh Grewall has made two very significant contributions: as the first Indo Canadian elected to a public office not only in Canada, but all of North America in 1950, and secondly, as the first Indo Canadian Mayor of Mission, and thus, first Indo Canadian mayor within any city in Canada, in 1954. Naranjan Grewall first came to Mission in 1941 from Toronto, whereby he soon purchased and became the operator of six lumber companies across the Fraser Valley. As a player within the lumber industry, Naranjan Grewall became a voice for the growing industry and openly critiqued the then government's policies of granting licenses to their friends. Throughout his life, Naranjan Grewall remained incredibly charitable. For example, during one trip to India, both Niranjan Grewall and his wife devoted themselves to the building of a modern school in their village of Jodhan in 1957. Nina and Gurmant Grewal: Both Nina and Gurmant Grewal made Canadian political history as the first married couple to serve together in the House of Commons as Members of Parliament. Nina Grewal, born on October 20th, 1958 in Osaka, Japan, also has achieved another first as the first Indo Canadian woman to serve in the House of Commons. A member of the Conservative Party, Nina Grewal was elected in the 2004 general election as a representative of the Fleetwood-Port Kells constituency. Nina Grewal's husband, Gurmant Grewal, was born on December 21, 1957 in Punjab, India. After living with his wife in Liberia, both migrated to Vancouver, B.C. Gurmant Grewal was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1997 for the Surrey-central riding. In recognition of his achievements, Gurmant Grewal was awarded with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Service to Canada in 2002. Sindi Hawkins: Sindi Hawkins has the distinction of being the first Indo Canadian woman Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. While at the University of Calgary, Sindi Hawkins earned two degrees: the first degree was in the bachelor of nursing, and the second was a degree in the bachelor of law. With both degrees under her belt, Sindi Hawkins followed up with careers which reflected both her degrees. Before gaining an interest in politics, Sindi Hawkins also worked as a registered nurse. Following this, Sindi Hawkins also established her own law office which specialized in medical-legal issues. After experiments in such careers as nursing and law, Sindi Hawkins upgraded her education upon earning a post-graduate certificate from the Montreal Neurological Hospital in neuro-science nursing. Sindi Hawkins political career is just as extensive as her non political one. She was first elected in the Okanagan West riding in 1996, which was followed by re election win in 2001 and 2005 in the Kelowna-Mission riding. Currently, Sindi Hawkins serves on the Legislative Review Cabinet Committee. Kash Heed: Kash Heed is the first Indo Canadian police chief of the City of West Vancouver and is the first not just in British Columbia, but in Canada. After graduating from the B.C Police Academy in 1979, Kash Heed first worked as a police officer with the Vancouver Police Department. While with the VPD, he held a number of ranks including: Constable, Detective, Sergeant, Inspector and Superintendent. In June 2007, Kash Heed was appointed as the Chief Constable for the VPD. Kash Heed has been involved with the Indo Canadian community as he was head of the VPD drug and gang squad, as well as the Indo Canadian gang task force. Because of such involvements with crime and gang squads, Kash Heed has also engaged in community initiatives to reduce crime and forge stronger communities. In addition to his career within the Police force, Kash Heed has also published a book and also teaches criminology and criminal justice courses at colleges within B.C. Sarjeet Singh Jagpal: In 1994, Sarjeet Singh Jagpal of Vancouver, B.C, forged, and was the author of a beautifully intricate history on the Sikh pioneers of British Columbia titled “Becoming Canadians: Pioneer Sikhs in their Own Words.” In addition to writing on the history of the Sikhs in B.C, the book also incorporated a vast amount of archival images, pictures, news articles, etc. In recognition of the great work, the BC Historical News declared that “Becoming Canadians” is “A superbly illustrated book that succinctly describes the social history of the Sikh population in Canada, focusing on their struggles, hardships, and perseverance to live in British Columbia.” Dr. Asa Singh Johal: Asa Singh Johal’s list of accomplishments and community endeavour have not only caught the eye of his own community, but the larger community as he was recognized for his lifetime achievements with an honorary Doctorate degree in law, honoris causa, by the University of British Columbia on May 31, 1989. Asa Singh’s humble beginnings began in Punjab, India, where he was born. After to coming to British Columbia at a young age, Asa Singh halted his formal education at the age of fourteen and began to work in labour jobs. Two of these occupations included working in a sawmill, and then for a trucking company. Eventually, Asa Singh’s interest in the sawmill industry would lead to him not only becoming President of his own company, Terminal Sawmills and Terminal Planer Mills, but also being viewed as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in British Columbia. In addition to his successful professional career, Asa Singh has devoted his life to community involvement, which have included ventures such as: being President of the International Punjab Society of B.C., funding programs in the Asian Studies department and forestry departments of UBC (in fact, a grant of $11,500.00 is granted yearly in the name of Asa Singh, to a graduate student in the Asian Studies department), endowing grants for teaching assistantships in Punjabi and Sikh studies at UBC, donating to the Children’s Hospital, organizing and funding a project to translate the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in English, as well as providing assistance to blind children in Calcutta and Bombay. And in addition to serving as director of the Council of Forest Industries of B.C, Asa Singh was also a former member on the Board of Governors at UBC. Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli: Dr. Bikkar Singh Lalli is the first Indo Canadian convocation senator at the University of British Columbia and is currently (2008) running for the position of Chancellor of UBC. With a BA (Honours) and MA from Panjab University, and with a PhD from UBC in Mathematics, Dr. Lalli served as a Professor of Mathematics, and a former head of the Mathematics department, at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. He has published some 150 articles in relation to mathematical theories on analysis, has presented at national and international conferences, and has also been visiting scholar to a number of international universities including countries such as: Taiwan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Chandigarh, and Madras. In addition to his great scholarly contributions, Dr. Lalli is also very connected to the Indo Canadian community in British Columbia, volunteering his time to organizations such as: the Indo Canadian Seniors forum, VIRSA (Sikh Alliance Against Youth Violence), as well as being a part of the City of Surrey committee on Elder Abuse. Honourable Wally Oppal: Honourable Wally Oppal was the first Indo Canadian Judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in British Columbia. Born in the Vancouver-Fraserview area, Wally Oppal took law at the University of British Columbia, and eventually opened up his own law practice in 1985. However his career in law did not end here as Wally Oppal eventually was appointed to the County Court of British Columbia in 1981 and to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1985. In 2003, he was appointed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Following his career in law, Wally Oppal joined politics upon being elected in the Vancouver-Fraserview riding in in 2005. Today, Wally Oppal holds the title of Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism. In addition to this already impressive resume, Wally Oppal has also held positions including: President of the Law Courts Education Society of British Columbia, Former Director of the Family Services of Greater Vancouver, as well as being a member of the Supreme Court National Criminal Law Programme Judges Criminal Law Committee. And finally, Wally Oppal maintains a prominent presence in the Sikh community, taking part in many educational events and other activites which are important to the community. Dr. D.P Pandia: Dr. D.P Pandia was a hard working and long standing advocate for the Indo Canadian community in their fight for equal representation and franchise in Canada. Dr. Pandia made many delegation visits to Ottawa to fight on behalf on Indo Canadians for equality under the law. On June 4th, 1948, Dr. Pandia, of Vancouver, B.C, travelled to Ottawa and declared to the Director of Immigration, Department of Mines and Resources, and to the Cabinet Committee on Immigration Policy that East Indians deserved more rights, especially as they were British citizens. In arguing that all people in Canada deserved the simple right to build their families together, and not live separately, Dr. Pandia made several persuasive points, including the simple fact that because “East Indians” were naturally born British subjects, they too deserved all the rights and privileges, especially in relation to the Canadian Immigration Regulations. Professor V. Setty Pendakur: Setty Pendakur, a Professor of transportation planning at the University of British Columbia from 1966 to 1998, was also the first Indo Canadian City Councillor in Vancouver in 1972. In addition to his role as a City Councilllor, Professor Pendakur also served as a Director of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), a Director of the United Way of the Lower Mainland, a Director of Immigrant Services Society in Vancouver and a Director of the Real Estate Foundation of B.C and the Vancouver Foundation. Professor Pendakur has also served on such government boards as: the B.C Transit, B.C Public/Private Sector Transit Council and the Vancouver Board of Variance. Professor Pendakur has also helped the Indo Canadian community in B.C through his assistance in the development of the new Akali Singh Sikh Temple in Vancouver. Currently, Professor Pendakur is a Professional Engineer and a Professional Planner. Belle Puri: Born and raised in New Westminster, Belle Puri was the first Indo Canadian television journalist. Included in her over twenty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, Belle Puri worked in the public and private sector television and radio as a reporter, producer and host. While working as a broadcast journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Vancouver, Belle Puri's main role was as a business reporter, involved in such programs as: Venture, Newsworld Business News, Money Weekly and Canada Now. In addition to covering the world of business, Belle Puri has also covered important events such as provincial politics, federal political leadership conventions, Commonwealth conferences, world summits, royal visits and world fairs. Belle Puri also volunteers her time as a member of the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. In recognition of her contributions to the world of journalism, Belle Puri was awarded by the Centennial Foundation in 2000, in recognition of her leadership, excellence and commitment. Pramod Puri: The founder and publisher of the “Link” newspaper, the first Indo Canadian English newspaper to be published in Vancouver, Pramod Puri’s creation of this twice-a-week publication continues to run successfully today. Emanuel Sandhu: Born on November 18, 1980, Emanuel Sandhu is the first Indo Canadian world figure skater. Although he was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Emanuel Sandhu later relocated to Burnaby, B.C where he trained at the B.C Centre of Excellence. Prior to his gaining interest in skating, Emanuel Sandhu studied ballet at the age of three. It wasn’t until he turned eight years old, that his interest in skating grew. A year into his hobby of skating, Emanuel Sandhu was discovered by Joanne Mcleod, who to this day, remains as his coach. In terms of the awards Emanuel Sandhu has received, and the competitions he has won, they include: the Canadian Nationals Champion in 2001, 2003, and 2004; and the Grand Prix final in 2004, and a recipient of the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award. Moe Sihota: Born in Duncan, B.C in 1955, Moe Sihota became the first Indo Canadian elected to the British Columbia Legislative Assembly in 1986. In 1977, Moe Sihota earned his bachelor of social work degree from the University of British Columbia, and then his Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Victoria in 1982. As a member of the New Democratic government, Moe Sihota served as the MLA for the Esquimalt-Metchosin from 1986-2001 where he held a number of positions including: Minister of Education Skills and Training, Minister of Environment Lands and Parks, Labour Minister, Minister Responsible for BC Hydro, Minister Responsible for Insurance Corporation of BC, and the Minister Responsible for Constitutional Affairs and Government House Leader. While he was responsible for the Ministry of Multiculturalism, Moe Sihota was instrumental in implementing the Modern Languages Policy for the B.C government that included Punjabi as a modern language that could be taught in the public school system. In addition to his extensive political career, Moe Sihota was also a television host for the New VI, as well as a political specialist and analyst for CBC’s “Canada Now” and a contributor to the “Rafe Mair” program from 2004-05. Jagat (Jack) Singh Uppal: Jack is yet another example of an individual who came from humble groundings, and found great success in British Columbia through hard work and dedication. Although Jack Uppal himself was only one year old when he first emigrated to Canada, his family has imbedded pioneer histories in British Columbia as Jack Uppal's father, Dalip Singh Uppal was part of the first wave of Sikh immigrants to B.C, as he came in 1906. To date, Jack Uppal is both the manager and President of his company GoldWood Industries which runs a number of sawmills throughout British Columbia. To commemorate his achievements both professionally wise, as well as his contributions to his community, Jack Uppal was honoured with a plaque from the villages of Uppal Jagir and Uppal Khalsa in the Jalandhar District area, during a ceremony held at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park. Rana and Minto Vig: Both born in Punjab in the 1970’s, the two brothers Rana and Minto Vig launched the first full scale Indo Canadian magazine in English in 1993. To this day, “Mehfil Magazine” is Canada’s largest Indo Canadian publication with over 30,000 subscribers. When Rana and Minto’s family migrated to Vancouver, B.C in the 1970’s, they bared witness to, and were indeed the victims of, constant racism and discrimination. As such, through “Mehfil,” both brothers wanted to provide the Indo Canadian community with an outlet which would encourage positive role models, and positively written articles about the accomplishments of the community. A reoccurring article in the magazine spotlights those youth who are “Power Players” and “Stellar Students.” In addition to these positive focuses on the community, the magazine also highlights community events, fashion, and those Sikh pioneers who first migrated to Canada in an archival section.