Surrey, BC: The Gadri Babai: A Proud History
Sat Sri Akal, Salaam and Namaste!
As we reflect on the history of the Gadar Party during the centenary celebrations, I am reminded of the words that Giani Gurditt Singh once spoke: “the stories of our parents make good children.”
A week ago, as I joined thousands at the Mela Gadri Babian Da in Surrey, BC, I was reminded of a progressive, activist and resilient spirit that is inherit throughout the history of the Punjabi people in Canada.
From the Gadar Party to the Komagata Maru, the will of the Punjabi community is admirable. Punjabi Canadians are a reflection of Canada’s diversity, history and strong sense of community.
From the sacrifice of Buckam Singh in World War I to the House of Commons, where I am joined by my Punjabi colleagues Jasbir Sandhu and Jinny Sims, Punjabi people have always played a pivotal role in building the Canada we all call home.
The Mela Gadri Babian Da was a wonderful illustration of this, an example of a community committing to social justice, preserving history and inspiring youth through the stories of our past. These are values New Democrats share. Giani Gurditt Singh’s words hold true; the story of Punjabi Canadians and their valour provides a history that we as Canadians can all be proud of and that future generations can be inspired by.
As we remember the history of our forefathers and mothers, we also remember that we have a responsibility to continue their legacy of activism, courage and resiliency. The Mela Gadri Babian Da was for me a reaffirmation of this, a commitment to continue to press the government to officially apologize for the Komagata Maru tragedy and recognize the proud history of Punjabi people in Canada.
To all those that joined me and my wife Catherine at the Mela Gadri Babian Da, thank you for keeping the spirit of these heroes alive and well. Your commitment to carry on their spirit of social justice was touching to us both and will surely inspire generations to come.
Punjabiyan Dee Peh-chaan, Canada Dee Shaan