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Sadhu Binning

Sadhu Binning

Author's former postal route, Fraser & E. 49th Ave.

  • Author: Mary
  • Date Posted: Jul 1, 2016
  • Category:
  • Address: Plaque is on lamppost at southeast corner of 49th Ave. and Fraser St.

Sadhu Binning

Photo credit: Jagdish Binning


Location: Plaque is on lamppost at southeast corner of 49th Ave. and Fraser St.

Sadhu Binning’s fiction collection in English, Fauji Banta Singh & Other Stories (2014), examines the private lives in B.C.’s Sikh community during the late 20th century against a backdrop of racial animosity and economic insecurity.

Punjabi Excerpt from Welcome

I often speak
To the grass
The trees
And the river
They never tell me
I wasn’t welcome

From Welcome /
punjabi-binning-source

The title story recalls a lonely oldtimer named Fauji Banta Singh who served in the British Army for sixteen years. A very religious Sikh who lived near the Ross Street Gurdwara, he longed to return to his birthplace. “These are stories that I originally wrote in Punjabi,” Binning says, “and then sort of recreated them in English making necessary changes to make them sound more suitable to English readers. English is my second language and I have had a love-hate relationship with it since my high school years when I was regularly beaten by my English teacher for making simple mistakes. I can still feel the sting of his stick on my cold hands early winter mornings.” Binning concentrates on reflecting everyday lives to encompass “the successes and failures, the growing and painful irrelevance of the old, changing values and the conditions of the women, the place of religion and tradition, and the ever-present echoes of distant Indian politics and national extremism.” Born in Chiheru, Punjab, India in 1947, Sadhu Binning immigrated to Canada in 1967. He worked for more than a decade at the Canada Post office at Fraser & 43rd. Many of his stories and poems were conceived while working there. A founding member of Vancouver Sath, a theatre collective, Binning, a central figure in the Punjabi arts community, edited a literary monthly Watno Dur from 1977 to 1982, and co-edited Ankur as well as the Punjabi quarterly, Watan.

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The title story recalls a lonely oldtimer named Fauji Banta Singh who served in the British Army for sixteen years. A very religious Sikh who lived near the Ross Street Gurdwara, he longed to return to his birthplace. “These are stories that I originally wrote in Punjabi,” Binning says, “and then sort of recreated them in English making necessary changes to make them sound more suitable to English readers. English is my second language and I have had a love-hate relationship with it since my high school years when I was regularly beaten by my English teacher for making simple mistakes. I can still feel the sting of his stick on my cold hands early winter mornings.” Binning concentrates on reflecting everyday lives to encompass “the successes and failures, the growing and painful irrelevance of the old, changing values and the conditions of the women, the place of religion and tradition, and the ever-present echoes of distant Indian politics and national extremism.” Born in Chiheru, Punjab, India in 1947, Sadhu Binning immigrated to Canada in 1967. He worked for more than a decade at the Canada Post office at Fraser & 43rd. Many of his stories and poems were conceived while working there. A founding member of Vancouver Sath, a theatre collective, Binning, a central figure in the Punjabi arts community, edited a literary monthly Watno Dur from 1977 to 1982, and co-edited Ankur as well as the Punjabi quarterly, Watan.

Punjabi Excerpt from Welcome

I often speak
To the grass
The trees
And the river
They never tell me
I wasn’t welcome

From Welcome /
punjabi-binning-source

Borrow works by this author from the Library
Learn more about Sadhu Binning at ABC Bookworld