Baljit Singh, Carpenter, Mohali

We are carpenters from 15 generations. Our ancestors worked for 'the Sodhis' of Ferozpur. It was the honesty of my people that appealed to them. We were to take care of their agricultural machines and daily needs.

We are carpenters from 15 generations. Our ancestors worked for ‘the Sodhis’ of Ferozpur. It was the honesty of my people that appealed to them. We were to take care of their agricultural machines and daily needs.

//How did you end up working in Mohali then?//

It’s quite an interesting story. In 1979, my brother used to study in Chandigarh and worked part time in a industry near by, named ‘Sheeba’. I came here to work along, we used to get 15 rupees per day. Then I joined a local carpenter and we started working independently. One person we worked for was so impressed by our effort, he gifted me a piece of cloth for safari suit and a tape recorder, and a transistor and a piece of cloth to my partner. Everyone was leaving for Mauritius and Dubai in those days, I too wanted to join the flight.

Me and my brother went to Bombay looking for an agent. He called us home, and asked us if I could work for him instead. He offered me 2-2500 rupees per moth for sitting on a counter. I got my Dubai right there. After being there for few months, I thought of visiting Punjab. Sikh security guards of Indira Gandhi shot her dead the day I arrived in Ferozpur. Sikhs were being killed all over India. We got a call from my boss asking me not to return for safety reasons. I had 9,000 rupees of saving, I went to Mohali and started my business there.

//What do you think of this craft these days?//

Nobody wants to learn. First thing they’ll ask is ‘How much will you pay?’ For us it was different, we never talked about the money, all we wanted to do was, learn and be good at what we did.

Story by: Navjeet Kaur and Gurdeep Dhaliwal

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