Sarinder Patterson ( Jawant Dhut)
Date of Birth:
July 10th, 1939
Sarinder Kaur Jawant Dhut was born on July 10th, 1939 in King’s Daughters’ hospital in Duncan, BC. She was the daughter of Amar Kaur Jawant Dhut and Jawant Singh Dhut, one of the early arrivals to Canada. Her grandfather Rattan Singh Dhut came to America and moved to Canada in 1913 and her father came to Canada at the age of 16, after getting married. They all lived in Paldi and worked in the Lumber mills located at Hillcrest. Sarinder’s father also had his own side business, where he operated a small mill in Hammock. He operated that for a while and moved back to Paldi. In 1945, the family including Sarinder moved to Duncan and started their own mill that was bought in 1946 in Koksilah.
When Sarinder lost her father in a tragic accident, her grandfather started looking after the business with her uncle, father’s brother. Her mother worked in the Cowichan District hospital and looked after the family affairs and business until she passed away in December 29, 2003. Sarinder lived in Paldi until 1946 and after moved to Drink Water Road. She recalls those seven years as wonderful years of her life. She loved the togetherness of the community and vividly remembers the support of Mrs. Mayo. Sarinder remembers that anybody from Lake Cowichan, Victoria and Vancouver would love to come visit this ‘little Indian community with other ethnic groups around.’
Sarinder lived with her family on Drink Water Road property until she was married in 1961. Recalling her school days, she did not encounter prejudice in high school and got along with all other communities. She moved to Victoria, BC after her marriage, unfortunately her marriage didn’t last long. She re-married to Dr. Patterson and was married to him for 27 years until he passed away in 1999.
According to Sarinder, the Punjabi community celebrated all festivals with great enthusiasm in Paldi. Vaisakhi was very important to them and so was the Paldi Jor mela, which was always celebrated on the last week of June or the first week of July. Everyone looked forward to the Paldi Jor mela. She remembers that the children would gather around the Mayo house and all the mothers would be there cutting peas and onions. The gardens would be bountiful and everybody shared their garden produce and it was all in front of Mrs. Mayo house or the Mayo house. A little swimming pool was filled for the children and a swing for the children was put up and all the women sat around the porch and did their peeling and their cutting.
The community of Paldi supplied the bus for anyone who wanted to celebrate Vaisakhi in Victoria and Paldi would also send a bus to Nanaimo for them to enjoy the celebration of May 24th weekend in Nanaimo. All the community members would meet at the park there after the prayer and would have a great picnic and the bus would take them back to Paldi. All the ladies made allo diyan rotiyans (stuffed Indian bread), khatta and saag.
The communities of Hillcrest and Youbou were a vital part to the Punjabi community because of the lumber saw mills and families there. Sarinder remembers that a lot of Punjabis had their own little logging and trucking business and that there was Kuldeep Bains who had a travel agency, who was very significantly involved with the Indian community and helped. Sarinder’s father had a few Indigenous people that worked with him and she thought that they were good people. They were a happy group of people who were always willing to work.
Sarinder truly believes that the parents and early immigrants within the Punjabi community have worked very hard and left such a great legacy. She believes that the parents and all new immigrants went through a tough time to make their children prosper.