Deljit Kaur Gill
Date of Birth:
Deljit Kaur Gill was born in Victoria, BC in 1928. Her parents moved in 1927 from Jhandeyala, Jalandar in Punjab, India. Deljit used to visit Paldi a lot for Jodhmelas (religious get togethers) as there were lots of Punjabi families living there at that time. She remembers Mr. and Mrs. Mayo, another family who settled early in the area, as very friendly people who never flaunted their wealth. They helped a lot of people that were in poverty. They used to visit Victoria a lot too. If Deljit’s mother ever needed anything, Mrs. Mayo would take her to town.
Deljit says there used to be an Akand paath (a prayer ceremony where the holy text, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, is read in its entirety) for three days at Jodhmelas, and everyone used to play games together. Many people would come from Vancouver and Victoria. Vaisakhi was celebrated in Victoria. The community used to go travel to Victoria on a bus because not everyone had a car.
Deljit faced racism in school from white people. Some of them didn’t like Punjabi people and would call them names like “Hindus.” Deljit described how she felt there was little communication between Punjabi’s and the Indigenous peoples in the area.
Deljit moved to Lake Cowichan in 1950. In Lake Cowichan, her family owned cows for 25 years. When she moved to Duncan in 1969, she still had those cows. That’s how their family got milk and butter. Deljit got married in Lake Cowichan and went to Victoria where she lived for 5 years.
The women in the community back then didn’t have much of a social life; they all would get together at the temple or at someone’s house for tea. Deljit visited India few times, to visit her family and her husband’s family. She also took her son for a tour around India.