Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Personal Side of Ujjal Dosanjh

Ujjal Dev Singh Dosanjh was born on September 9, 1947 in Punjab, India. He moved to Jalandher to live with his grandfather who had established a primary school. It was there that the young Ujjal first became interested in politics as he listened to his father - a Jawaharlal Nehru and the Indian National Congress - and his grandfather - a former Indian freedom fighter and a socialist - debate the issues. Ujjal wanted to pursue a career in political science but his father wanted him to be a doctor.

In 1964, at the age of 17, Ujjal left India for the United Kingdom so he could follow his own interests. There he learned English and worked for a Punjabi-language newspaper before coming to Canada three and a half years later. On May 12, 1968, the young Dosanjh arrived in Vancouver and lived with an aunt. He was now able to pursue his dreams of learning political science and he also got his degree in law from the University of British Columbia.

Ujjal was called to the bar in 1977, a year after he had earned his degree, though he didn't establish his own practice until 1979. During this time, he taught English as a second language at Vancouver Community College and worked at a Punjabi language paper as an assistant editor.

Dosanjh's law practice specialized in family and personal injury law. He was involved with community organizations and founded the Farm Workers' Legal Information Service (later the Farm Workers' Union). Ujjal served on the board of directors for the BC Civil Liberties Association, the Vancouver Multi Cultural Society, and the Labour Advocacy Research Association. He also volunteered with the MOSAIC Immigrant Services Centre and the South Vancouver Neighbour House.

Ujjal spoke out against Sikh extremists who advocated Khalistan independence from India. As a result of his views, this prominent, moderate Sikh was attacked in February of 1985 in the parking lot of his law office by an assailant wielding an iron bar. The 37-year-old Dosanjh suffered a broken hand and received 80 stitches in his head.

That wasn't the end of the problems for this vocal opponent to violence and extremism. On December 26, 1999, while Dosanjh was a member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, vandals broke into his constituency office and left a burning Molotov cocktail on a table.

On Friday, I will tell you about Dosanjh's provincial political career.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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