Asian Heritage Month

Welcome to the CBC Asian Heritage Archives blog 2007

By Anu Sahota

Today, Tuesday May 1st, marks the beginning of Asian Heritage Month and the first entry of the CBC Archives blog 2007. Throughout the month this site will feature excerpts from CBC Radio and Television programs of the past with the aim of complementing the many AHM events scheduled across the country.


Considering my last blog, a personal one, mostly featured pictures of Studs Terkel and bakelite radios, I am thrilled to be presenting moving media - the bulk of which has not been seen or heard for years. To this end, I invite you to examine and reflect on how the CBC has represented Asian Canadian history and experiences in decades past.

The inaugural clip I have chosen is taken from a September 1958 episode of the national documentary show Here and There. Our hero is Darshan Singh Gill, a young Sikh newly arrived from the Punjab who takes his first steps in adjusting to Canadian life amid Victoria B.C.'s Sikh community.
A quota on Indian immigration until the 1960s meant that South Asian communities in Canada were relatively small, and as a result, closely-knit. With little knowledge of English, Darshan must rely on the social ties already established by friends and family as he searches for employment at plywood mills and logging camps.

If you are wondering why his prospects are mostly limited to labour jobs consider the comments of the two, as the narrator puts it, "pale complexion strangers" at the counter upon his arrival at Patricia Bay airport. As Darshan passes by, the one fellow queries, "Hindoo?" The long held assumption that all Indian immigrants were Hindoos hints at the barriers that would have prevented an Indian immigrant from accessing the strata of Garden City society in the 1950s. Stay tuned throughout the month to learn how Darshan gets on.


Watch Here and There (1958) (runs 7:09)

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Comments: (7)

Parveen Sandhu () wrote:

Hi Anu, thanks for capturing these wonderful moments yet again for my dad. I'm the fourth daughter. My parents are the best. Dad returned to India in 1965, for a few months, in this time he married my beautiful mother. My mother encouraged my fathers dream of bringing his entire family to Canada. Through tough times, my mother was my father's rock. She helped bring 6 siblings and their families to Canada, along with alot of our cousins. My parents have 5 daughters, 5 sons-in-law and 8 grandchildren(4 girls, 4 boys) Our parents are an inspiration to every one they know. thanks again...good luck in all your future endevours.

Posted October 1, 2007 10:11 PM

Subha Gill () wrote:

Thanks Anu for your great article and video clips, I'm Darshan Gill's granddaughter. We just now read your article and saw the videos, that were great! He's now retired and and won three gold metals in championship powerlifting, he won two gold metals in BC and one in Canada.
Thanks and great job once again!

Posted October 1, 2007 01:20 PM

Jeevan Sohi () wrote:

This is my dad and he is and will always be the hero to his 5 daughters. Thank you Anu

Posted October 1, 2007 01:01 PM

Kita Szpak () wrote:

A Canadian of Indian descent who deserves mention here is Firdaus Kharas, an internationally known producer and director whose series, The Three Amigos, has been awarded the Peabody. The series comprises twenty animated public service announcements designed to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the world. The PSAs have been recreated in 41 languages. Mr. Kharas will be accepting the Peabody Award in New York City on June 4. Thought some of you would like to know of this.

Posted May 11, 2007 11:58 AM

Pooja () wrote:

Hey've done an awesome job! Keep up the good work..and wish you all the luck! take care!

Posted May 11, 2007 01:37 AM

Kevin Howes () wrote:

anu, this is great work! all the best...

Posted May 6, 2007 07:11 PM

anil narine () wrote:

These are intriguing clips Anu. I really enjoyed listening to "Here and There."
Lots to think about. And I plan on listening to the rest--there's something
engrossing about these voices from the past.

Posted May 6, 2007 06:21 PM

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