Murder of Elderly Punjabi Sikh Man: Rethinking Elderly Care In The Diaspora

Recently there was a news report of an elderly 70-year old Punjabi Sikh man, Pargat Singh Kahlon, who was found decapitated in Alberta, Canada. His right hand was also damaged, according to Police, in an effort to prevent identification based on tattoosmug.jpg commonly seen on elderly Punjabi Sikh men and women.

Police say they believe Kahlon was slain because there was a high level of physical violence visible on his remains.

Kahlon had moved from Vancouver to Calgary and was currently living at a Sikh Society Center. Last time, anyone saw him was when [he] got a ride to the bank.

Apparently, like many elderly parents in Canada/U.S. with children left behind in India, he was providing his sons with financial help.

“He had to send money to one of his sons in India. He went to the bank in the northeast and from there he withdrew $2,500,” Aujla told reporters.

He wasn’t seen again.

Police are still investigating the crime to discover a motive for the killing and possible suspects. Does anyone have recent updates on the case?

Khalons death also made me reflect on the need for us to rethink elderly care in the Diaspora based on the varied circumstances and needs of elderly Punjabi Sikhs. For example, different waves of South Asian immigration to North America has created an elderly Punjabi Sikh community that has raised 1.5, 2nd and 3rd generation children in the Diaspora; while many elderly men and women have recently immigrated to the United States/Canada with financial and moral responsibilities to support and resettle children still in Punjab. How do these issues influence elderly care in the form of day-centers, nursing homes, and in-home assistance for our community?


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14 Responses to “Murder of Elderly Punjabi Sikh Man: Rethinking Elderly Care In The Diaspora”

  1. Camille says:

    When I speak to other AB-Sikhs, there's often an assumption that our community values/respects and cares for our elders and that there are social stigmas for those who do not. I find this is often untrue when it comes to how people actually treat our older community members, both in India and in the diaspora. This story is horrific and terrifying and reminds me of a recent story in CNN about a pregnant woman with mental disabilities who was slowly abused to death by her "caretakers," who profited from and pocketed that woman's social security payments (she was much younger — her 20s/30s, but I think the analogy re: those who require assisted care is similar)

    I often wonder how much of this is socio-cultural and how much of this is rooted in really disgusting ideas of business practices, materialism, wealth accumulation, etc.

    But I also think it's amazing that Mr. Kahlon was supporting his (presumably adult) children at his age. I know it's not atypical, but I'm disappointed in his children as well. Are we a "gimme" generation that extends our childhood and leaches off of our parents until they die?

  2. Camille says:

    When I speak to other AB-Sikhs, there’s often an assumption that our community values/respects and cares for our elders and that there are social stigmas for those who do not. I find this is often untrue when it comes to how people actually treat our older community members, both in India and in the diaspora. This story is horrific and terrifying and reminds me of a recent story in CNN about a pregnant woman with mental disabilities who was slowly abused to death by her “caretakers,” who profited from and pocketed that woman’s social security payments (she was much younger — her 20s/30s, but I think the analogy re: those who require assisted care is similar)

    I often wonder how much of this is socio-cultural and how much of this is rooted in really disgusting ideas of business practices, materialism, wealth accumulation, etc.

    But I also think it’s amazing that Mr. Kahlon was supporting his (presumably adult) children at his age. I know it’s not atypical, but I’m disappointed in his children as well. Are we a “gimme” generation that extends our childhood and leaches off of our parents until they die?

  3. Sundari says:

    This story is extremely disheartening and does bring to light the need we discussed earlier about ensuring our elders are looked after. It seems that his wife and son were living in India, but two of his daughters were living in Canada. He had been living at the Calgary gurdwara for the past five years,

    While living rent-free at the temple, he would perform whatever tasks were needed of him, from helping with services to making tea for visitors.

    While I would advocate for the creation of facilities for the elderly members of our community, it seems that in this case, the Gurdwara really was a place of comfort for him and fulfilled an important need. It also speaks to the issue that while he had his daughters living in the same country as him, he probably could not live with them because within our culture it is somehow inappropriate for parents to live with their daughters after they are married. We won't know if that's the case because quite possibly, his daughters could not look after him in their homes. I just wish it was just as acceptable for daughters to look after their parents as it is for sons….but now I'm off-topic…

  4. Sundari says:

    This story is extremely disheartening and does bring to light the need we discussed earlier about ensuring our elders are looked after. It seems that his wife and son were living in India, but two of his daughters were living in Canada. He had been living at the Calgary gurdwara for the past five years,

    While living rent-free at the temple, he would perform whatever tasks were needed of him, from helping with services to making tea for visitors.

    While I would advocate for the creation of facilities for the elderly members of our community, it seems that in this case, the Gurdwara really was a place of comfort for him and fulfilled an important need. It also speaks to the issue that while he had his daughters living in the same country as him, he probably could not live with them because within our culture it is somehow inappropriate for parents to live with their daughters after they are married. We won’t know if that’s the case because quite possibly, his daughters could not look after him in their homes. I just wish it was just as acceptable for daughters to look after their parents as it is for sons….but now I’m off-topic…

  5. Guest says:

    I'm from that area and the last place he was seen was where I work. This has disturbed me deeply since it happened and i am heartbroken to say that no progress has been made to hold who is behind this responsible. I just can not understand how you could so brutally beat, decapitate and skin someone who is defenseless. The person/s capable of doing this are still free, putting us all at risk.

  6. Guest says:

    I'm from that area and the last place he was seen was where I work. This has disturbed me deeply since it happened and i am heartbroken to say that no progress has been made to hold who is behind this responsible. I just can not understand how you could so brutally beat, decapitate and skin someone who is defenseless. The person/s capable of doing this are still free, putting us all at risk.

  7. Waheguru Ji Bless th says:

    Waheguru,

    Any of us reading this lets just pray for Khalon Ji.

    They should check the bank videos, or people around at that time, and in the vicinity.

    This is a very violent act, its seems to be made worse that no one has a clue about this crime or just stopped investigating it.

    Someone must have heard or known that Khalon Ji had that much money. Crimes like these are usually common against older people but not as violent.

    Whoever did this seems like they were filled with tremendous hate, and I wonder if Khalon Ji was able to fight back, since the right hand sustained damage. And there is possibly a chance that the perpetrator(s) face(s) may have been seen.

    It doesn’t seem like an indian or a punjabi would have done this. I wonder what the rest of the areas make up is, white, black, italian, latino, mexican.

    Camille you must not be punjabi or indian. I don’t know what it is about this site, but why are you attacking the son’s. People try to survive in india, sometimes on less than $100 a month, and that can be after working very hard to gain even that much money.

    I find it deplorable that you would take this time to admonish the family.

    My prayers are with the family, a father that was working so much and doing Sewa shouldn’t have this crime go unsolved.

  8. Waheguru Ji Bless the Father t says:

    Waheguru,

    Any of us reading this lets just pray for Khalon Ji.

    They should check the bank videos, or people around at that time, and in the vicinity.

    This is a very violent act, its seems to be made worse that no one has a clue about this crime or just stopped investigating it.

    Someone must have heard or known that Khalon Ji had that much money. Crimes like these are usually common against older people but not as violent.

    Whoever did this seems like they were filled with tremendous hate, and I wonder if Khalon Ji was able to fight back, since the right hand sustained damage. And there is possibly a chance that the perpetrator(s) face(s) may have been seen.

    It doesnt seem like an indian or a punjabi would have done this. I wonder what the rest of the areas make up is, white, black, italian, latino, mexican.

    Camille you must not be punjabi or indian. I dont know what it is about this site, but why are you attacking the sons. People try to survive in india, sometimes on less than $100 a month, and that can be after working very hard to gain even that much money.

    I find it deplorable that you would take this time to admonish the family.

    My prayers are with the family, a father that was working so much and doing Sewa shouldnt have this crime go unsolved.

  9. Sohni Kaur says:

    OMG! I just read that Sardar Pargat Singh Kahlon ji had three daughters and one son, in which two daughters were living in Surrey.

    Sardar Pargat Singh Kahlon ji had been living in the Sikh Society Center for the past five years prior to his death. What I can't seem to understand and/or fathom, that how comes he was living like this, yet he had two daughters in Surrey?

    I guess this is what it has come down to now, parents raise their kids and nurture them to adulthood and to see them successful. But n some cases, the children are so ungrateful and selfish that they have no values for their parents. I am soo disgusted honestly!

  10. Sohni Kaur says:

    OMG! I just read that Sardar Pargat Singh Kahlon ji had three daughters and one son, in which two daughters were living in Surrey.

    Sardar Pargat Singh Kahlon ji had been living in the Sikh Society Center for the past five years prior to his death. What I can't seem to understand and/or fathom, that how comes he was living like this, yet he had two daughters in Surrey?

    I guess this is what it has come down to now, parents raise their kids and nurture them to adulthood and to see them successful. But n some cases, the children are so ungrateful and selfish that they have no values for their parents. I am soo disgusted honestly!