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Edinburgh Inter Faith Association

A Registered Charity in Scotland SCO 17622

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Sikhs Working in Edinburgh

- Asha Singh

 

[My father] came over here in 1939. He wasn’t part of Partition or nothing, he was over here [for work] And then when World War II started, he enlisted. He didn’t talk much about it though. It was only afterwards, we found his documents, saying that he’d been in the war. His ration book and stuff like that. He was very influential [in the Scottish Sikh community] he made it so that they could wear turbans, on motorcycles. They weren’t allowed, so my father was part of that with the Indian Workers Association, he helped set that up. He [also] went to London to demonstrate against National Front, as it was then called… In those days people tended to come where they had family, or where they thought they could make a living. Or where they thought it was nice and quiet, and they wouldn't be judged. So Edinburgh was a good place to come in that time… My dad was in the British army, but my mum was pure traditional Indian. So we got a really good grounding in both cultures. My dad was always keen for us to get a good education, go to school, used to take us to museums, and zoos and tell us: “this is what it’s called in Indian, Punjabi, and this is what it’s called in English”.

 

[My mother in law] had a great influence on my husband’s career, she saved and scrimped to make sure he got his dream. And at that time, 1950, for a woman - especially an Indian woman - to do something like that is just amazing. So when I got married, my husband’s dream was to have his own garage - Motech it was called then, it’s a motor industry college. So eventually, through a lot of trials and tribulations, in 1981 he managed to open his own business. And this, we do this every year, at Vaisakhi. We use the truck [from his business] as the start of the procession, and we put the holy Granseb in the truck, and we all follow it.