|HOME | NEWS | HEADLINES|
|February 28, 2000|
Samosas, sitars and a goal achieved
A P Kamath
By any reckoning, it was an unusual swearing in ceremony.
The 52-year-old immigrant, who has inherited the tremendous challenge of dealing with a $ 1.4 billion deficit in British Columbia, was making history as the first Asian ever to become the premier of the province.
There was also culinary history being made too at Government House, the venue of the ceremony.
The aroma of samosas and pakoras wafted through the ceremonial hall which was packed to capacity with over 400 people. In the background, two Sikhs, turbaned unlike Dosanjh, played soft melodies on the sitar and tabla.
As Raminder, an educator involved with teaching English as a second language and Dosanjh's wife of 28 years, and their three adult sons looked on, Dosanjh pledged to be "premier of all of the people".
All the sons, Pavel, 26; Aseem, 24; and Umber, 22, are studying at BC universities.
"I want to make sure that all of us feel connected to the government from one end of the province to the other," Dosanjh said.
"It is a beautiful day," a beaming Dosanjh, known for his soft-spokenness, told the guests who gave him a standing ovation. About 50 of them were Indian Canadians.
"When I started my journey on December 31, 1964, leaving India at the age of 17, little did I know, think or imagine that I would be standing here before you today, being called premier of the province," he said. He had worked for nearly four years in a crayon factory in England before migrating in 1968 to BC. He was also an associate of a Punjabi language newspaper in England.
Many Sikhs who attended the event sought to stress that Dosanjh was elected not because of national origin or his color, but his concern for the weaker section of the society and for law and order.
"I see him as a father first," said Pavel Dosanjh who is a law student. "You people see him as a politician. No one knows the real man at home. He is awesome. There's not one iota of cowardice in him."
Dosanjh, who nearly lost his life in a crowbar attack by a fundamentalist Sikh in 1985, was one of the very few Sikhs to publicly oppose the concept of Khalistan and the efforts to advance the cause on Canadian soil.
Among the people he admires most are Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and John F Kennedy.
"In public life, as in private life, courage is important," Dosanjh says. "One should stand up for one's convictions."
With all the pressure on him now, he will have to.
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK