Piara Singh Bhullar
Piara Singh Bhullar was born to father Harnam Singh and mother Kishan Kaur on January 6, 1929. He was born in Chand Nau, District Ferozepur (now District Moga), and grew up alongside three brothers and four sisters.
Upon completion of his elementary schooling he decided to continue on to pursue his post-secondary education and attended D.M. College in District Moga where he studied his Bachelor of Arts, majoring in mathematics. He completed this degree in 1951. In 1952 Piara Singh completed his teaching degree and became a qualified teacher. Immediately after receiving this degree he began to teach mathematics in Punjab, India, teaching at several schools. Throughout his career in India he was promoted to the headmaster position for a high school. He also privately pursued a Master of Arts in Punjabi as well as a Master of Arts in English.
Piara Singh came to Canada on September 3rd, 1993 after being sponsored by his daughter Davinder Kaur. Davinder Kaur resided in Calgary after immigrating to Canada on a marriage-basis. As such, Piara Singh and his wife Surjit Kaur moved to Calgary, Canada where they proceeded to reside for six months. However, due to limited job opportunities, Piara Singh and his wife soon moved to Abbotsford. His daughter Davinder Kaur continues to live in Calgary and Piara Singh and his wife occasionally travel back to visit her.
In Abbotsford Piara Singh worked on a farm picking berries for seven years and was unfortunately, unable to find a job that suited his qualifications. When he initially came here, he was under the impression that he would be able to get a job that suited his qualifications. Being unable to do this created some frustration. Previously, he was the head of an institution, and in Canada he had to work in a farm to make ends meet. There was a large shift in regards to status and income he did not expect and he felt as though everything had changed. Despite having to adjust to labour work, throughout his time in Canada he recalls that he has never faced any forms or acts of discrimination or racism.
Despite the hardships of a lack of career opportunities, Piara Singh felt as though Canada was a better country in every aspect, from education to health. There were further prospects available to progress in life. After working in the farms, Piara Singh was able to find a job at the local Dasmesh Punjabi School. He proceeded to work there for three years until his retirement. Although he did not teach mathematics, similar to his work in India, he started teaching Punjabi. Throughout his years in Canada, he has not seen any major changes within the local ‘apnay’ (one of us/our kind) community. He used to volunteer his time in the local Gurdwara where he did community work by helping others fill out forms and paperwork due to his knowledge of English.
Nowadays, Piara Singh continues to remain busy. He works with the Punjabi Patrika, which is a bi-lingual newspaper produced in Abbotsford. Here, he has the opportunity to occasionally provide translation services as well as sometimes contributing to the newspaper. He also has grandchildren which he enjoys spending time with.
Although he does not have a particular message he hopes to send to the new generation of today, he feels that the students these days are very hardworking. He particularly noted this during his time as a teacher in Dasmesh Punjabi School.