Harpal Kaur Dulai

Harpal Kaur Dulai, Wedding Photo, Punjab, India, May 1959.

Harpal Kaur Dulai (born in 1936) was part of the first generation of Punjabi women who settled in Yuba City’s American community during the postwar era.  She arrived in America in February, 1963 with her young daughter to join her husband who had migrated to the United States in 1954. During the sixties, there were few other Punjabi women who followed their husbands to America. 

Harpal was born in the village of Biring, Jalandhar district in Punjab. She was one of ten children raised in an affluent family. Her father was the region’s tax collector. Her parents chose to educate their daughters as well as their sons.  Their daughters were also responsible for household chores and learning skills considered essential to women, such as sewing, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and cooking. Harpal completed 12 years of education at a time when girls were rarely educated. She married her husband at age 22.  Four years later, she emigrated to America to join her husband in Yuba City.  Eventually, they settled in the nearby town of Gridley, where she has lived for over fifty years.

Harpal quickly settled into her new home. She enjoyed working on the farm with her husband.  Harpal was very independent and always took the initiative to work to help her husband regardless of the difficulty of each job. She never hesitated to work in the hot sun to pick prunes, walnuts or work in the fruit cannery.  She loved gardening and only recently stopped due to health reasons. 

Harpal is the proud mother of four children, ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. 

Photos courtesy of the Dulai family.

Source: Interview with Harpal Kaur Dulai by Nicole Ranganath and Davinder Deol, Yuba City, December 17, 2017.



Harpal Kaur Dulai (second from left), Punjab, India, 1950s.