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South Asian History in Canada

South Asian History in Canada

South Asian History in Canada

South Asian History in Canada


Published on 27 September 2017
Hansard and Statements by Senator Mobina Jaffer

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:

Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize the incredible accomplishments of Rana Vig, the co-founder of the 100 Year Journey project, which promotes intercultural understanding by highlighting and featuring the stories of South Asian pioneers who helped build Canada.

Through their research, Rana and Rupa, his wife, have managed to find details of an important part of Canadian history that popular textbooks may not cover.

The stories they share give unsung heroes the recognition that they deserve.

In November 2014, Rana and Rupa gathered 100 of these stories and compiled them into a book called the 100 Year Journey.

This book has been circulated to schools, libraries and community centres across Canada for free. I recommend that any lover of Canadian history take the time to read it.

Each story they tell is short and compelling and truly breathes life into South Asian Canadian history by showcasing all parts of the South Asian experiences at the time, including immigration, assimilation, settlement, sacrifice, discrimination, diversity, perseverance and progress.

There is something for every Canadian in the Vigs’ book. By telling the story of South Asian diaspora Canadians from many years ago, they provide new Canadians with role models and heros who are very much like themselves. By telling the stories of South Asian pioneers, they allow younger generations of South Asian Canadians to look back with pride upon the incredible accomplishments of their ancestors.

Finally, the Vigs’ work broadens everyone’s understanding of Canadian history by helping us understand the incredible accomplishments of South Asian Canadians that would have otherwise gone unrecognized.

Today, the Vigs continue to build on their success by reaching out to schools, museums and other institutions across Canada, seeking opportunities to gather and share these incredible histories. Through this work, they will help Canadians across the country take important steps forward in understanding South Asian history in Canada for many years to come.

Honourable senators, I rise today to ask that you join me in recognizing the important work that Rana and Rupa have done for this country. Through their work, they have reshaped our understanding of Canadian history. Their stories have helped us all understand that many South Asians were among the pioneers who came to Canada long ago and were instrumental in building our great country.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.