Chapter 14

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“I was born in Mahilgaila in the district of Nawanshahr in Jalandhar. My father Nirmal Singh was a land consolidator and used to keep a record of the land around his region. Land consolidators were given regions in which they would have to record any divisions that took places or to see if the fields were ok, and what to do if any crops were destroyed.”

“When I came over to England I was only 20 years old, I just finished my PREP Class (equivalent to A Level). I didn’t want to get into farming. We had a relative who was in England living in West Bromwich at the time. It was him who raised the point that I had the opportunity to go come across to England. Back then there was no visa system. I applied for an electrical engineering course. Our relative who was from West Bromwich was a distant relative of my fathers. We only asked him to sponsor me and I came over on the basis of being a student.”

Tarsem Singh Mahil

“I am from a small village called Shaampur which is about 27miles from Jalandhar city. By the late 1950’s people from my village were travelling to the UK for work and that is what inspired me to come over too. In my village there was a family of brothers including Jagger Singh, Sohan Singh and Darshan Singh who were close to my father. The youngest Sohan Singh came here to England and settled in Chatham in the late 1950’s. His brothers followed and it was Sohan who I wrote to requesting that he sponsor me to come to England. He wrote back to say that he would try and help. When I was applying for a passport, I wrote a letter to the employment office stating that I was taking final exams and what I was capable of and would like to work in England. In 3 months I got my visa and came here in 1962.”

Harbhajan Singh Suman