The decibels of dhols playing at Palbinder Kaur Shergill’s native village have hardly dropped since the news of her becoming the first turbaned Sikh woman to be nominated as judge in Canada’s supreme court reached here. Despite having migrated to Canada at the age of four some four decades ago, she and her family still maintain close ties with village Rurka Kalan in Jalandhar.
A black belt in karate, Palbinder is the daughter of an ex-IAF personnel, Gian Singh Sandhu, who a couple of years ago was removed from the list of persons blacklisted by the Centre for having close ties with the radical World Sikh Organisation. She last visited the village two years ago, while her father was here in April. The family runs a charitable computer centre and stitching centre for poor in the village.
On Sunday, her cousin Gurvinder Singh Sandhu had organised a function at his house in the village to celebrate Palbinder’s success. Amid a steady stream a visitors to congratulate the Sandhu family, relatives and locals danced to beat of the dhols. The land and house that belongs to Palbinder’s family in the village is now looked after by Gurvinder, who is the family’s nearest relative in
The family’s house, which was constructed in early seventies and now needs some repair, is situated in a narrow lane from where they run a charitable computer training and a stitching centre for the small children and poor women, respectively.
Speaking to Gurvinder from Canada over phone, Gian Singh said that the “family will visit India soon to thank everyone”. He added that her daughter was a black belt in karate and laid a lot of emphasis on physical fitness.
Recalling her last visit, Mohinder Kaur, an village woman in her mid-seventies, said that Palbinder came across as very down-to-earth and conversed in chaste Punjabi to her utter surprise.
About Palbiner’s stellar achievement, another woman from the village said: “Kuriyan nu kukhan vich mran waleyan nu samajhna chahida hai ki je kuriyan nu ve mundeyan wang paleya jave tan ho vi ambar choo sakdiyan ne (her achievement is an eyeopener for those who kill girls in the womb).”
Kamaljit, Palbinder’s teenaged niece, said, “Bhua ji di es kamyabi nu vekh ke sada vi mann karda hai ke asi vi life vich kujh kariye (my aunt’s achievement is a source of inspiration for me).”
At the village of her in-laws — Jagatpura in District Nawanshahar, Gurpreet Singh Shergill, a cousin of Palbinder’s husband, Dr Amritpal Singh, said that they too were receiving visitors and phone calls, congratulating the family on Palbinder’s proud achievement.
“She is a great human being. She deserves this and more…she’s very down to earth,” he said.