I, Gurcharan Kaur Thind was born and raised in a middle class farmers’ family in the village of Chohan, Amritsar, India. Growing up along with twelve cousins, I was the fourth among five girls in our joint family. After completing my elementary and high school from a nearby village I was lucky enough to pursue my Graduation in Science from Government College for Women Amritsar and my father, a school teacher played a pivotal role in it.
Gaining my Masters Degree in English and Bachelors in Education, I started my career as a Government teacher and taught Science from grade 6-10 for fifteen years and English to grade 11&12 for twenty years. Even though teaching was my profession, reading literature was always my passion. As a result, I started jotting down my reflections and thoughts in the form of my poems, which took the shape of my personal diary.
I was very much inclined towards social issues and realized that expressing through poetry was not doing justice to my progressive ideas; eventually I maneuvered myself towards writing stories. I published three storybooks and as I was going through my story telling journey, I came across many ideas and thoughts that needed to be expressed in more than just a story hence began my novel writing journey. I end up publishing my first novel in 2009 that coincided with the year I immigrated to Canada. I along with my husband, a senior scientist in Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana, Punjab and my two children came together to commence a new chapter in our lives.
While living in Canada, I felt I had left my inspirations and characters back home. I had to explore my surroundings from scratch, to learn about the system, society, culture and the way of life around me. Then a friend suggested that I should start volunteering, which was a welcome suggestion. After my 35 year long career in India, I had no intentions of making money over here. However, out of curiosity and my zeal to explore, I earned the Income Tax Certification from H&R block. This gave me first hand insight into the Canadian financial system. This further helped me in understanding the financial complexities that immigrant families are facing and I implemented my learning while volunteering as interpreter and translator with Calgary Immigrant Women Association (CIWA) and Calgary Immigrant Services (CIS).
Surprisingly, volunteering made me aware of family violence prevailing inside four walls of our houses. Previously, being an active member of literary associations, I also began working with cultural associations in order to create awareness and prevention of family violence. Eventually, I published many stories and articles related to this issue in local newspapers and magazines. Recently, I composed a novel “Jagde Bujhde Jugnu” culminated from my various volunteer experiences and stories shared by victims. On public demand from other ethnicities, I translated the above Punjabi novel into English named “Blinking Fireflies” – A memoir of domestic violence stories. Additionally, my very first science fiction ‘Chanderyaan Tishkin’ – a novel on cloning, is very well appreciated and considered a unique contribution to Punjabi literature.
Presently, I am involved with North of McKnight Communities Society, which is made up of and works collaboratively with numerous communities and agencies, aiming to strengthen the social and cultural fibre of our community. Further to unite and mobilize community residents to take collective action on domestic violence, I volunteer with North Of McKnight Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative. As a coordinator of Calgary Women Cultural Association, I also provide a platform to nearly sixty women, to express their views on various social issues. Besides this, I have also been a radio host with Sabrang Radio for the past seven years, hosting programs to raise social and cultural awareness. My sole passion is to be counted on to lend a helping hand within the community throughout my life.