Mit Singh Pandori Family fonds

Fonds/Collection, 2022_06

Mit Singh Pandori was born on September 12, 1888 in the village of Pandori, Ludhiana district, India, to parents Dharam Kaur and Isher Singh Sidhu. At the age of nineteen, he immigrated to Vancouver, Canada. Once in Canada, he began working at the Royal City Mills, and continued to for three years. He then began working for the Anglo-American Lumber Company for four years. Mit Singh joined the Khalsa Diwan Society in Vancouver and soon became the organization’s Secretary. In 1914, the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver, and due to racist and xenophobic exclusionary laws, the ship was forced to remain in Coal Harbour without docking. As a member of the Khalsa Diwan Society, Mit Singh was heavily involved in the legal battle that ensued, and was a key supporter of the people on board. When the Komagata Maru was ordered to leave on July 23, 1914, Mit Singh was among the group of Khalsa Diwan Society members who stayed on board with the passengers on the night of July 22. Community tensions remained once the Komagata Maru left the harbour, and in some cases, violence arose. When William C. Hopkinson was shot and killed by Mewa Singh, Mit Singh along with a few others were arrested alongside Mewa Singh under the suspicion of collusion. The accusations were soon proven false and any charges were dropped. When Mewa Singh was sentenced to death by hanging, Mit Singh performed ardas for him before his sentencing. When the First World War broke out, many South Asians returned to India, and the South Asian Canada presence lessened. Those who remained were often harassed. After one of these incidents, Mit Singh made the decision to return to working in a lumber mill. For eleven months he worked at a mill in New Westminster, until the Sikh community appointed him as a priest for the Abbotsford gurdwara. There was an attempt to kill him on October 3, 1915 by a man named Partap Singh, however Mit Singh survived. Mit Singh was a strong advocate for education and believed it was the key to Indian independence. He often financially supported education institutions in Punjab. He founded the “Malwa Reform Committee'' and the “Malwa Khalsa American Education Group,” both of which focused on promoting education in Punjab. In 1923, Mit Singh travelled to India to focus on this goal and remained in the country until 1929. Having raised funds in Canada for a Punjabi newspaper, Mit Singh donated the money to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC). Mit Singh soon became an influential member in the Ghadr movement, was arrested in 1924, and released in 1926. He returned to Canada in 1929 and remained there for twenty years. In 1949, he returned to his home village in India and later died in 1959 of a heart attack. References: “Unsung Heroes Detail: Mit Singh Pandori.” Government of India: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. 2021.