A Story of Sikhs in British Columbia

February 19, 2013

Hugh Johnston will give a talk based on his recent book entitled Jewels of the Qila: the Remarkable Story of an Indo-Canadian Family, published by UBC Press in November 2011. This is the second in the Spring 2013 SFURA seminar series and will take place at 12 noon in the Halpern Centre.  All members of the SFU community are welcome to attend these events. The talks are free and no registration is required.
Hugh's talk is based on his recent book, Jewels of the Qila which is a portrait of British Columbia's  Sikh community through the experiences of one very successful family.  The book is one that the family wanted written and much of the material comes from them--what they remembered and what they saved or collected.  Kapoor Singh, the original immigrant, came to North America over 100 years ago, and his daughters (now in their eighties)  were the first Indo-Canadians to graduate in medicine in Canada. They had grown up in British Columbia wanting to be revolutionaries fighting against British rule in India, but by the time they were mature, India had its independence. In their twenties they established a hospital in their mother's village in Punjab in which they served for most of their adult lives. Philanthropy is part of the story, along with business, faith and politics, and the remarkable persistence of immigrants who were marginalized by Canadian attitudes and policies and who nevertheless moved ahead.