Naranjan Kaur

Naranjan Kaur (nee Sahota) was born in Village Khurda, District Hoshiarpur, Punjab on April, 1937. She grew up alongside two brothers and one sister. Her eldest brother’s name was Gurdev, her youngest brother’s name was Gurmail and her sister’s name was Sarno. Naranjan Kaur’s parents names were Bharthi (mother) and Inder Singh (father).  She did not have the opportunity to receive an education and she grew up learning how to do housework and farm work. In those days in her village, it wasn’t common for girls to receive an education.  

Upon her marriage to Gurdas Singh when she was only 14 years old, she moved to village Garhi Kanugoan, District Hoshiarpur, where she continued to do housework. She was the third of her siblings to be married although tragically, her brother passed away soon after he’d been married. Naranjan’s eldest daughter was born in Village Khurda. In those days, it was common for the eldest child to be born in their mother’s side’s village. Her other three children (two daughters, one son) were born in her husband’s village. Both villages were very close together, across from each other. Sometimes, she would go back to her home village if she was needed.

Her husband, Gurdas Singh, passed away when her children were young due to heart-related issues. There was also a ten year age gap between Naranjan and her husband. As a result, she had to work hard to make ends meet and this was a very difficult time for Naranjan. She was around 30-40 years old at this time, maintaining their farm work, taking care of their buffaloes,  keeping atop of other housework as well as making sure her children were ready for school.

Her eldest daughter moved to Canada in 1988- having arrived on a marriage basis. In 1990, Naranjan Kaur and her two sons joined her eldest daughter, moving into a basement. However, this journey did not come easy. At the time in India, there was a lot of violence occurring on their journey to New Delhi- buses were being put on fire. Naranjan Kaur also became very sick during the drive from their village to the Delhi airport.

After coming to Canada, though, her health improved. The three were sponsored by Naranjan Kaur’s eldest daughter. After being reunited, they headed over to Abbotsford, BC, where they have lived ever since. In the first place they lived in, the basement suite, the owners of the house were very kind. They would take Naranjan Kaur to the Gurdwara with them.

Naranjan Kaur and her two sons worked hard and saved money to afford a house. Naranjan Kaur recalls her sons were working in a mill initially while she worked on the farm. At the farm, she would do a variety of work including berry picking. She would come home very late at around 11 or 12 in the night, and her sons would be hungry. However, they refused to eat fast food as they wanted to save for a house as quickly as possible.

She recalls life was very difficult in Canada at the beginning. Initially, the quality of life was not good as they had to work hard and long hours to establish themselves. They had to do a lot of work in order to become settled and establish themselves.

As time went on, life became easier, particularly as they became well-settled. Much has changed in both Canada and India. Naranjan Kaur feels that before, in India, people did not venture out of their homes as much as they do now. In Canada, meanwhile, machinery has started to take over the farming industry.

Nowadays, Naranjan Kaur feels as though she is setback by her knees. Her knees do not work as well as they once did. She enjoys meeting with her family and friends. Other than this, her health is pretty good. She hopes to share the importance of studying and staying well as a message to the youth as well as the importance of staying happy, as well as working towards parents’ needs.