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The Punjabi community in Vancouver

By Amanda Stutt Punjabis hail from Punjab region in Northern India, but the area is not comprised of an ethnically…

By Amanda Stutt , in Culture , on December 5, 2007

By Amanda Stutt

Punjabis hail from Punjab region in Northern India, but the area is not comprised of an ethnically homogenous group.Making a mark

-India’s national language is Hindi – different from Punjabi.

– People in Punjab, irrespective of their religion, would speak Punjabi. In Bengal it would be Bengali. Both would express their culture differently.

– In India, every province has its unique culture and traditions. State culture and language traditions are reflected by the pre-colonial kingdoms that are now the present-day states.

There are many religions in India: Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Each religion has very different traditions.

– Punjabis practice many religions such as Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam.

– Punjabis make up approximately 70% of Indo-Canadians.

Sikhs have no formal state in India, but there is a movement that calls for the creation of an independent state in India.

Most Punjabis settled in the lower mainland practice the Sikh religion and hail from the Jat Sikh caste. A caste is a system of social stratification based on ethnicity and hereditary class distinction.

1899 – First Sikhs arrive in Vancouver.

1904 – Immigration wave begins. Over the next three years over 5,000 Sikhs arrive in Vancouver.

1914 – A Japanese steamship called the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver carrying 376 Punjabis in search of better employment opportunities. B.C’s exclusionist laws refused them entry, and the ship was turned away.

– Today, Vancouver has the most concentrated Punjabi population in North America.

Punjabi Market on Main street has been called Vancouver’s “Little India.”

with files from Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra.


  • In response to the article that states “from the Jat Sikh caste”, it is important to administer correct information in this era. The Sikh faith condemns the use of caste (of any format) by its followers. It is apparent and prominent in the scriptures that caste is not to be followed by Sikhs and those that follow it are not following Sikh principles. It is also important to understand that there may be some Sikhs out there who do adhere to the caste categorization, but then again, there are members of other faiths that do not follow their faith but stated the adherence to it. If one is to reference the Guru Granth Sahib (holy text) and Rehit Mariyada of Akal Takhat (code of conduct) NO member of the Sikh faith is to follow a caste system which was destroyed by the 1st Guru (prophet) and followed by the consecutive Gurus and their followers who were considered the Sikhs.

  • Satsriakal Davinder,
    I really like your message….
    We all belong to one caste..and we all are children of AKALPURAKH..
    I request all my Sikh brothers to practice unbiased religious principles written in SHRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI…
    Let us leave caste system for the Pandits and other cowards…

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