Naranjan Singh Mahal

It was tough all right. We were lucky to get a job. We had hard times but we survived.

"I came over with my dad in 1931 when I was 14. I went to school for a little while. We couldn't afford to go to school because I had to work. It was the Depression days and they were pretty bad times. We used to work for a dollar a day for 10 hours in a sawmill. It was tough all right. We were lucky to get a job. We had hard times but we survived. I went back to India in 1938 and had to stay there eight years. The war started in 1939 and there was no transportation after 1940. I came back in the last part of 1946. I started working in the sawmills again. At that time we didn't have any voting rights or anything. We always thought we'd make a little bit of money here and go back to India and stay there. When we got our voting rights, there was a little bit less discrimination. I think I voted in the '49 or '50 election. It was a provincial election and oh, I was excited. Hell, when you live that long in this country and you don't have any rights, you get excited. We voted for the NDP, which used to be called CCF. At that time most of our people used to vote for CCF since they were the only party fighting for our rights. We felt really good."

This interview originally appeared in the June 1996 edition of **Mehfil Magazine.**