The Three Punjabi Amigos Are Proud To Serve Our Community

By Balwant Sanghera

Sometime, it is hard to predict as to how things will turn out in future. Going back more than fifty years ago, who could have predicted that three childhood friends who went to school together will meet again and work together in one of  Metro Vancouver’s prominent places of worship. This is exactly what happened in case of three individuals – Mohan Singh Sandhu, Sohan Singh Basi and myself-Balwant Singh Sanghera.

Khalsa High School Bundala (now Government Higher Secondary School) in Jalandhar District of Punjab was (and hopefully still is) a prominent educational institution in the area. It had classes from grades five to ten from all of the villages in the area. This brought to-gether Sohan Basi from Bundala, Mohan Sandhu from Rurka Kalan and me from nearby Pharwala village a few kilometers away. All three of us started grade five (Section B) to-gether in 1950. From the very beginning, all three of us built a very strong bond with each other. Ironically, we stayed to-gether through grades five, six seven and eight.  At the conclusion of grade eight, Mohan Sandhu got an opportunity to move to Coventry, England in 1954. The same year, a new high school (National High School) from grades five to ten began operating in Bilga. The school principal at that time-Beant Singh Sanghera – was a close friend of my family. He asked my family and others in the village to transfer all of the students from Khalsa High School Bundala to his school-National High School (now Government Higher Secondary School) Bilga. Sohan Basi, the third member of our trio moved to Vancouver to join his family. Here Sohan started working in a saw mill for his brother-in-law and prominent lumber baron Asa Singh Johal.


Mohan Sandhu continued to enjoy his stay and work in the Coventry area of England for twenty years. Then, along with his family, Mohan moved to Kamloops, BC in 1973. He liked Kamloops so much that he stayed there for 20 years before moving to Richmond in 1993. After completing my high school, I went to complete my B.Sc. from Punjab University. Upon my brother’s sponsorship, I also moved to Vancouver (Canada) in 1966 to join my brother Gurbux Singh Sanghera and family. After receiving my teacher training here in Canadian universities I began teaching in Hudson’s Hope, BC in 1968. After five years of enjoying the cold winters and hot summers in northern BC, I moved to Lillooet, BC in 1973. After serving in the Lillooet Schools and also as Alderman (Councillor)/deputy Mayor in the Municipality of Lillooet for 17 years I accepted a position as a School Psychologist with Burnaby School District and moved to Richmond in 1990.

Sohan Basi was already actively involved in the affairs of India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas. Soon, Mohan and I also became actively involved in the Gurdwara-first as volunteers then as members. In 2014, both Mohan and I were honoured to become members of the management committee of the Gurdwara and join Sohan. All three of us continue to serve on the executive committee of India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on Richmond’s Highway to Heaven. It is a great honour and a privilege for all three of us to work to-gether along with our colleagues to serve the community and the Gurdwara to the best our abilities. Our friends often refer to us-three class fellows- as Three Amigos. All of us often wonder that nature works in very curious ways. Bringing us to-gether like this is one such example.

Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.

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