Dharam Singh Parmar

Dharam Singh Parmar had been in British Columbia since 1929, working as an accountant in Indian-owned lumber mills for much of his life.

"I have been married 75 years. I married when I was in Grade 8 because, in those days, there was a custom of child marriages. My wife was the same age as me, 16 years old. I came to Canada as a student. I was alone and couldn't call her over because I stayed here illegally. At that time, there were scores of men who were my age who had also left their wives behind. We were lonely but we were helpless. My daughter was only seven days old when I left India; my son was two years old. We could only exchange five or six letters in a year because it took a long time for them to arrive. My wife sent me pictures of my children. After I became a legal resident, I couldn't go back because of the pressure of business. My son came to Canada in 1949 when he was 20 and went to India in 1951. So much had changed. When I saw my wife, all the members of the family were delighted. We had been separated for 22 years. When I left, we were youngsters. When I came back, we were all grown up. My daughter was married and had one child. I brought my son and wife back with me but my daughter stayed in India because she had her own family."

This interview originally appeared in the February 1997 edition of **Mehfil Magazine.**

Dharam Singh Parmar had been in British Columbia since 1929, working as an accountant in Indian-owned lumber mills for much of his life. Over three decades, he has divided his time between Canada and India.