Swarnjit Kaur Neel
Date of Birth:
Attawa, Uttar Pradesh
Swarnjit Kaur Neel was born in Attawa, UP, India in March 1933. Although she was born in Attawa, she spent most of her childhood in Chamkaur Sahib because her father had retired and lived there. On November 28, 1948 Swarnjit Kaur married her husband Gurdial Singh Neel. From 1948 to 1951 she and her husband lived in India and in 1951 they moved to Kenya, Africa. Swarnjit Kaur lived in Kenya with her family for eighteen years which is where all three of her children were born. In 1969, the family moved to Canada. When they moved to Canada Swarnjit Kaur missed the sense of belonging they felt in Kenya because she felt that Kenya was a lot like home in India. There were also not a lot of Punjabi families living in Canada at the time.
Swarnjit Kaur was very involved in the community and although she didn’t work, she spent most of her time volunteering at the Richmond hospital, teaching kirtan and doing religious radio talk shows. She was recognized for her volunteer work at the hospital and was given a medal for long service. She often assisted as an interpreter in the hospital because many Punjabi people did not speak English. She taught children how to do kirtan and play the harmonium at her house. She hosted her first radio show with the gurdwara at Ross Street for three years. There weren’t many Punjabi radio stations in the seventies and so Swarnjit Kaur recorded Sikh shabads, explained them and played them on the radio show. After that she hosted the “Amrit Bani” radio show from 1994 to 2014 with Khalsa School. With her husband and others she also taught Punjabi language on Friday evenings at David Thompson Secondary School from 1972 to 1985. She also recorded a number of CDs with Shabads and other prayers which were distributed at no cost during special occasions. Swarnjit Kaur is an avid traveller and has traveled to over 60 countries with her family.