Born into a modest peasant family in the village Meghowal near Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India, Jarnail Singh has worked hard in his life. After completing high school, he joined the Indian Air Force in 1962, and while in service, he earned Masters’ degrees in English and Punjabi. Upon obtaining release from the Indian Air Force and before migrating to Canada in 1988, he worked in a bank as an accountant.
While in India he produced three collections of stories: ‘Mainu Kee’ (1981), ‘Manukh Te Manukh’ (1983) and ‘Samen De Haani’ (1987), all about the lives of agriculturalists and military families.
In Canada he worked for two decades as a supervisory in a security company. The immigrant experience of life in Canada brought creative richness in the range of subject matter of his later stories. Because of this distinction, he has emerged as a writer of repute in Punjabi literary circles.
All three collections of his short stories written in Canada, ‘Do Taapu’ (1989), ‘Towers’ (2005) and ‘Kaale Varke’ (2015) have been well received by readers. In the first two collections the struggles of Punjabis living in Canada, clash and assimilation of east-west cultures, the growing generation gap, breaking up of relationships, and problems of teenagers have been depicted in a realistic and compelling manner.
The Dhahan Prize winning book, ‘Kaale Varke’, deals with global issues and problems related to capitalism. Jarnail Singh has been honoured with the ‘Shiromani Sahitkar’ award by the Punjab Government in India. His short story books are included in the teaching programs being taught in the Univerities of Punjab and Haryana in India.