Canadian Sikh Heritage | NARANJAN SINGH GILL (village Nathuwala Jadid)
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NARANJAN SINGH GILL (village Nathuwala Jadid)

The Patriarch and his Family

Hailing from the village Nathuwala Jadid, District Moga, Sardar Naranjan Singh was the only child of Sardar Vir Singh Gill and Sardarni Ind Kaur Gill. Naranjan Singh first came to Canada in 1906 by crossing the Pacific Ocean by ship through Hong Kong and landing at a western port in Mexico. From Mexico, Naranjan Singh eventually arrived in Canada with Gajan Singh Gill (father of Ganga Singh Gill-Montreal), Santa Singh Nambardar (Nathu Patti, Dhudike), Sewa Singh Gill (father of Kari Singh Gill, Dhudike), and Mewa Singh Gill (Nathuwala).

Naranjan Singh Gill went back to India in 1920 and was given return papers to go back to Canada. He returned to Canada in 1926 with brothers Phangan Singh Gill and Dhaman Singh Gill (uncles of Mohinder Singh and Gurdev Singh Gill, M & G Bros. Farms, Abbotsford). Dhaman Singh passed away enroute in Malaysia. Phangan Singh was sponsored by Naranjan Singh in 1929 from Malaysia.

Naranjan Singh had three sons and three daughters: Mohan Singh, Indar Singh, Karnail Singh, Jai Kaur, Rai Kaur, Har Kaur. His son Karnail Singh passed away at the age of six. Jai Kaur was married into village Paj Garai. Rai Kaur was married into village Mahianwala Kalan. Har Kaur was married into village Natheawala. Naranjan Singh sponsored his younger son, Indar Singh (father of Kalvin Gill, Dr. Kuldip Kaur Gill, Jerry Gill, and Stan Gill–Mission BC) to join him in British Columbia in 1927. In 1930, Naranjan Singh also sponsored his four nephews from village Dhudike: Indar Singh Gill (father of Nash Gill), Joginder (Shah) Singh Gill (father of Avtar Singh Gill), Darbara Singh Gill and Ganga Singh Gill (Montreal).

Throughout his life in Canada Naranjan Singh lived in many cities in British Columbia including: Ladner, Vancouver, Pitt Meadows and New Westminster before finally settling in Mission. While in Vancouver, he worked for the Yukon Lumber Company located on Kent Street. During the great depression in the 1930’s he was the only one in the family who was able to find work and was therefore the sole provider for the family. Even though the times were just as difficult for Naranjan Singh as his friends, co-workers and family, his generous spirit was unfailing as he would continue to provide assistance or food to those who could not afford to feed themselves and those who did not have any work.

Naranjan Singh went back to India in 1949 and purchased property (250 acres) in the province of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.). This land was farmed by his grandsons, Mohinder Singh Gill and Harjinder Singh Gill.

Naranjan Singh Gill passed away October 10, 1955 in Punjab. His son, Mohan Singh Gill (father of Mohinder and Harjinder Singh Gill) was sponsored by his younger brother, Indar Singh Gill in 1952. He arrived in Canada in the company of Kartar Singh (Mahianwala Kalan) and Paul Singh Gill (Dhudike). Mohan Singh sponsored his wife, Harnam Kaur, and his two sons in 1956. Mohan Singh Gill passed away while visiting India in 1963.

Mohinder Singh Gill passed away in India while visiting there in 2006. His wife Balwant Kaur and three children (Gurnaib Singh Gill, Sukminder Singh and Darshan Kaur) along with numerous grandchildren are now settled in Abbotsford. Harjinder Singh Gill and his wife Harpal Kaur currently reside in Abbotsford with their family as well.

Naranjan Singh’s family still lives in Abbotsford and performs sewa at the Abbotsford Khalsa Diwan Society Gurdwara Sahib. They are proud to be the descendants of the patriarch Naranjan Singh and to have humbly devoted their time to the Gurdwara Sahib and their community of Abbotsford and the Fraser Valley.

* This interview was given by Sukhminder Singh Gill (great-grandson) and Harjinder Singh Gill (grandson) of Late Sardar Naranjan Singh Gill.