Harjit K. Varn


Village Palahi, Punjab
Current City:
Vancouver, BC

Harjit Kaur was born in the village Palahi, in Punjab India. Harjit Kaur’s marriage was arranged to her husband because her grandfather and her husband’s grandfather had been friends. Harjit was sixteen years old when she got married and although she didn’t want to leave India, she did so because of the respect that she had for her parents. She went to England to marry her husband who had been living in England since he was eight years old. After six years, Harjit, her husband and their three children moved from Birmingham, England to Vancouver, Canada. After one year of living in Canada however, Harjit’s husband moved back to England because he didn’t like it in Canada. Harjit and her children stayed here at her brother’s house. Her husband wanted her and their children to move to England too, but she refused, so he came back to Vancouver.

Harjit stayed home with her children and knitted sweaters and baby sat for a living. Beginning in 1979, once her husband came back from work at 5:00 pm, she would go and work as a janitor. Her husband found a job in Langley as a mechanic and since they didn’t have a car, he took two buses from Vancouver to Langley to get to work. After working there for two years, he was transferred to Burnaby. Harjit started at a wage of $3 an hour and her husband started at a wage of $5 an hour. After two years they purchased their first car for $100. In order to get groceries, she would take her kids with her and they would walk to the grocery store. During that time, everyone in the Punjabi community got along very nicely. Harjit and her family would get together and celebrate Punjabi festivals such as Diwali and Vaisakhi at the gurdwara. Harjit went to India after 33 years because she wanted to educate her children and get them married. When she went back she felt that everything had changed. Although Harjit and her family faced many struggles, they are now well settled.