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Talhan Village Residents Pay Tribute To Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh And Baba Harnam Singh

India’s new Consul General in Vancouver Rajiv Kumar Chander was invited to address the audience at the special function.

By Balwant Sanghera

RICHMOND – Residents of Talhan village in Jalandhar district of Punjab have been doing a commendable job in paying tribute to two prominent figures from their village-Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh and Baba Harnam Singh. As part of this process they have raised thousands of dollars for some very worthwhile causes. This year was their twenty third function held at India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas. On the 15 th anniversary of remembering these reverend personalities, Talhan residents in Metro Vancouver raised and donated $10,000 to Vancouver Children’s Hospital. Again on the 20 th anniversary they raised and donated $21,000 to the BC Cancer Society. As in previous years, large number of not only the Talhan residents but also their friends, well-wishers  and relatives turned out to pay tributes to Shaheed Baba  Nihal Singh and Baba Harnam Singh on all three days (September 11 t0 13) at the Gurdwara.

One of Talhan residents-Jasbir Jassi –presented a booklet of his research and tribute to both of these distinguished personalities. The booklet was presented by Jassi to India Cultural Centre of Canada’s chairman Asa Singh Johal. Special guests on this occasion included British Columbia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton. She made brief remarks to the audience thanking the organizers and the Gurdwara management for the honour. Anton was then presented with a plaque by Asa Singh Johal. Following the Attorney General, India’s new Consul General in Vancouver, Rajiv Kumar Chander was invited to address the audience. Here, a brief overview of Chander’s career highlights may be appropriate.

Chander joined India’s Foreign Service in 1983 after obtaining his degrees in History and Law. A native of Jalandhar (Punjab) Chander has a distinguished career as a diplomat.  During the past 32 years, he has served around the globe in different capacities starting with his first assignment at the Embassy of India in Moscow. That followed a variety of postings at the Foreign Ministry as well as abroad including Germany, Nepal and Russia. He served as India’s Deputy Permanent Representative with the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva from 2006 to 2009. Chander was honoured with his posting as ambassador to Ukraine in 2011 and served there till his move to Vancouver as Consul General of India in August of this year. In addition to Punjabi, Hindi and English Chander is very fluent in Russian as well. Thus, it was a great honour for the management committee of India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on Richmond’s Highway to Heaven to welcome Chander, his wife Dr. Shalini C. Chander and their lovely daughter

Asa Singh Johal and his wife Kashmir Kaur Johal honoured both Chander and his wife Dr. Shalini Chander. In his remarks Chander paid a very fitting tribute to pioneer, lumber baron and philanthropist Johal and thanked him for his service to the South Asian community and the community at-large. He also spoke highly of the Indo-Community’s achievements and contribution to Canada and India. Senior Consul Amar Jit Singh was also honoured for his close connection and service to the Indo-Canadian community. A prominent member of the community and organizer of the function at Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, Sarwan Singh Randhawa, thanked the special guests, the Gurdwara management and the congregation for their on-going support. He introduced PICS CEO Charan Pal Singh Gill. Gill gave a brief overview of PICS’ latest seniors’ housing project currently under way in Surrey and thanked the community for its support. Finally, Gurdwara General Secretary Mohan Singh Sandhu thanked everyone for joining the Talhan village residents in paying tribute to two very distinguished personalities.

Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.

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