Nacchatar Singh Chahal

Birthplace:
Village Dharamkot, Punjab
Current City:
Prince George, BC

Nacchatar Singh Chahal was born in the village of Dharamkot, near Moga in Punjab, India. After completing his schooling in Dharamkot, he went to DM college in Ludhiana for pre-university studies and then to Agriculture University in Ludhiana for his BSc. from 1963-67. After completing his bachelor’s degree in science, he obtained his first job as an Agriculture Inspector in 1967, getting placed in the city of Nakodar.

The government ran a program at that time according to which any person who had worked for four years for the department of agriculture could enroll for the Master’s program as a student-employee. Through this, he was selected and enrolled in the Master’s program. During the course of his studies, he became engaged to a woman from Canada. Soon after this, he applied for a visa and came to Canada.

He took a flight from New Delhi to Vancouver via Tokyo, and landed in Canada in December 1973. He was picked up from the airport by his father-in-law and they travelled to Mackenzie, BC, the day after he arrived in Vancouver. One month after his arrival, Nacchatar married at the age of 27 years.

He started his first job in Canada in February 1974 at a sawmill in Mackenzie. Nacchatar recalls the temperature being -34 degrees centigrade on his first day of work. Coming from Punjab, India, he had never experienced working in such harsh climatic conditions, and soon started disliking his job at the sawmill. As time passed by, he became more depressed thinking about the fact that, despite being a highly educated person, he was still doing a labour job. Seeing this, his relatives and family advised him to have some perseverance and try the job for a few more days. Eventually, he became accustomed to the working conditions and with his job. After a few years, he became a father and relocated to Prince George because it had better education facilities. He found another job at a sawmill in Prince George through a radio advertisement while his wife got a job at TD Bank.

Nacchatar was happy to move to Prince George, and within ten to fifteen days of moving there, he bought a house. As time passed by, he became a father to his second child and was living a comfortable life in Prince George. He continued working at the mill, and took a few trade courses at College of New Caledonia (CNC) to upgrade his knowledge and skills. He worked in the same saw mill for thirty to thirty-five years.

He describes Prince George as a calm and peaceful place to live in and has never experienced any kind of major discrimination. He was treated fairly at work and enjoyed good social relationships.

Nacchatar is now retired, and continues to live in Prince George with his wife. He believes he was indeed “very lucky” as he did not face much difficulties as other people did, who migrated from India in those days. Since his wife was raised and based in Canada, along with being well educated, it certainly made things easier for him in terms of transitioning and settling in Canada. Nacchatar sponsored his parents and two of his four siblings to come to Canada in 198. He still visits India every few years to meet the rest of his family.