The Province of British Columbia has declared July 1, 2022 as “Sant Teja Singh Day” to honour a spiritual leader of the Sikh community who had fought for the equal rights to the immigrants, especially those who began coming to BC from India.
“Sant Teja Singh was a humanitarian, scholar and tireless advocate for Sikhs in Canada who dedicated his life to challenging inequality, fighting for a just society and serving without discrimination in accordance with the tenets of Sikhism, and WHEREAS the government of British Columbia honours the history and culture of Sikhs in British Columbia, and WHEREAS July 1 is recognized and celebrated as Sant Teja Singh Day by Sikh communities in British Columbia,” the Declaration read.
Akal Academy Surrey and Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara came together on Sunday July 3rd to celebrate Sant Teja Singh Day. Sant Teja Singh Ji was a pioneer for the Sikhs and immigrants who call Canada home today. They stood against the government at times where the Sikhs and other minority groups were oppressed.
The program started with kirtan and katha as well as guest speakers including Dr. Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, MLA Rachna Singh, Dr. Bhurji, President Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and Avtar Singh Gill A proclamation declaring July 1, 2022 as “Sant Teja Singh Day” by Attorney General David Eby and the Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin was presented to the members of the Sikh community at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara.
Sant Teja Singh was a towering spiritual leader of the Sikh community who had fought for the equal rights to the immigrants, especially those who began coming to BC from India. Those who came to Canada, they had to endure blatant racism as they were neither allowed to bring in their families, nor they had a right to vote. The authorities who wanted to keep Canada as a “white man’s land” adopted several policies that were aimed at discouraging permanent settlement of Indian immigrants in BC. The government created a plan to relocate Indian immigrants to Honduras. Sant Teja Singh who came to know about such plans, stood against the government and helped the immigrants establish themselves in British Columbia.
The remarkable achievements of Sant Teja Singh paved the way for Sikhs and people of Indian descent to live and work in this country. Some of the accomplishments include establishing the first gurdwara in Canada, USA and in England, the establishment of the Khalsa Diwan Society in Vancouver, and creating the Guru Nanak Mining and Trust Company. These accomplishments allowed Sikhs to build a strong foothold in Canada and continue to work hard to achieve success in this country.