Ranj Dhaliwal is the acclaimed author of the best-selling novels Daaku and Daaku: The Gangster’s Life, the first works of fiction to tackle the issue of Indo-Canadian gangs in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. Daaku is widely praised for its unique insights into the Indo-Canadian gang culture.
“What people attending the Daaku launch…wouldn’t have known is that Ranj Dhaliwal was on his way to becoming — in addition to an important writer from the area — an important elected community leader.” – Walrus Magazine.
Concerned with the increasing number of gang-related deaths in the Indo-Canadian community and seeing the drug and gang world claim some of his friends and acquaintances, Dhaliwal wrote Daaku in his late twenties to raise awareness about the issues facing youth. In 2011, Dhaliwal released Daaku: The Gangster’s Life as the second installment in the Daaku series novels. “The gangster lifestyle is appealing and youth are drawn to the money, power, girls and glamour of the lifestyle,” says Dhaliwal. “But nobody has shown them the grim reality of that life, the risk of death, the possibility of wasting away in prison.”
“For some, he has come to represent a possible future. Here is someone whom colleagues describe as a “sharp dresser,” who…espouses the egalitarian and ecumenical ideals of his faith. A man who is committed to social justice and the environment (he works by day as a Paralegal …), whose identity is yet embedded in a conservative interpretation of Sikhism.” – Walrus Magazine.
“Ranj! Thank you for your powerful and beautifully written book!” – Bif Naked, Juno Award-winning, multi-platinum record selling, rock singer and actress.
“I am proud of what you are doing for the younger generation now. Keep up the great work and I hope to support these efforts even more in the near future.” – Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
Dhaliwal continues to be heavily involved in community and political activism and is often called upon locally and nationally to comment on gang activity in the news, including CBC, CTV, Global, Omni, News 1130 Radio, CKNW, and numerous newspapers and magazines. He has worked alongside police speaking to officers about gangs; has lectured on organized crime in high schools and at universities; and has presented at parenting groups. A leader in the community and a role model for youth, Dhaliwal encourages open dialogue between parents and their children.
“I would like to take this opportunity to both thank you and congratulate you on the important contribution you continue to make not only to the Surrey community, but across British Columbia, through your books, presentations and awareness-raising initiatives.” – Hon. Jasbir Sandhu, Member of Parliament (2011 – 2015).
“One of the most inspirational quotes I know is, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” by Mahatma Gandhi. Ranj, you embody that ideal. Your work to rid our community of the scourge of gang activity and influence, especially among our young people, is truly magnificent. Keep this up!” – Tom Gill, City of Surrey Councillor.
Dhaliwal has been featured in newspapers and magazines such as The National Post, Globe and Mail, Maclean’s Magazine, Quill and Quire Magazine, Darpan Magazine, Indi Magazine, Mehfil Magazine, The Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Surrey Leader, Delta Now, 24 Hours News, Metro Newspaper among many others.
“[Ranj is a] Great role model for kids staying out of gangs.” – Hon. Kevin Falcon, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier of British Columbia.
“Through your writing and presentations youth can learn about the realities of this lifestyle and look for more positive future opportunities.” – Hon. Jasbir Sandhu, Member of Parliament (2011 – 2015).
“His [Ranj’s] skills and knowledge have been very helpful to our organization” – Harbans Kandola, (former) President, Virsa.
“Ranj, I am well aware of your great work with youth in our community. Thanks for all you do!” – Bruce Hayne, City of Surrey Councillor.
An experienced and dynamic public speaker, Dhaliwal was elected Vice-President of the Sikh Youth slate in the Surrey Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara election in 2008. He later stepped down to focus on making more tangible contributions to at-risk youth organizations, but continues to be involved in different capacities. Dhaliwal is part of a group who coordinates Sikh programs for youth and has been responsible for bringing Sikh leaders from India to tour various Sikh temples.
“Your ongoing commitment to increasing awareness regarding the issue of life within Indo-Canadian gangs in the Lower Mainland, through two novels and countless community events and presentations, demonstrates an overwhelming dedication to community service, as well as improving the lives of others.” – Hon. Jasbir Sandhu, Member of Parliament (2011 – 2015).
Because of his active involvement in the community, Ranj has been called upon from time-to-time to mediate conflicts, which has allowed him to gain a better perspective of the Punjabi culture and language. Ranj’s volunteer work with parenting and youth groups greatly benefits from his community involvement in having open and fair public communications.
“You [Ranj] have a lot of potential to make a significant difference to our community and our country.” – Hon. Gurmant Grewal, Member of Parliament (1997 – 2005).
“Ranj Dhaliwal thanks for all your work on gang violence.” – Barinder Rasode, City of Surrey (former) Councillor.
“An expert on the province’s organized-crime issues … gang expert.” – Kamloops This Week.
Dhaliwal is also a social and environmental activist whose passion for justice had led him to a career as a Paralegal. With over 11 years in the legal field, Ranj has worked on some very important precedent setting cases in Canada. His knowledge isn’t limited to just Provincial laws as he has worked with all levels of court including the BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Canada, various federal boards, commissions and tribunals, and the departments and agencies of the Government of Canada. Ranj spent his time providing services in legal research, contract and document preparations, drafting constitutions and bylaws, incorporating Federal and Provincial companies and societies, among many other court and government related matters.
Besides being a lifelong student accumulating certificates in a vast array of areas, Ranj is an Electrician who works to find more economical and environmental methods of design and installation of electrical components to conserve energy in the industrial and commercial electrical industries.
“He [Ranj] is well-spoken and definitely not one to shy away from the limelight. Throughout many communities in BC, he has contributed his time and effort and is revered as a role-model for youth.” – Deanie Kolybabi, President/Owner of Panache Media Consultants. Also a Board Member for Fraser Health and Executive Director of Kla-How-Eya Aboriginal Centre.
“Way to go bro! I wish you all the success in the world my man. It takes a brave man to put words to paper and for you to expose yourself to all kinds scrutiny by good and bad people. I believe your books allow all young people to get a view of a world that if they walk in it could be a short stroll in life! Take care my friend and all the best to you and your family!” – Chief Gibby Jacob, elected and Hereditary Chief of the Squamish Nation; Executive Operating Officer of Intergovernmental Relations Natural Resources & Revenue, the economic arm of the Squamish Nation, and; Member of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Ranj has been on a literary writers’ panel as a judge for The Writer’s Union of Canada and has written for the Literary Review of Canada as a literary reviewer.
Dhaliwal lives in British Columbia, Canada with his wife and three sons.
Some reviews of Ranj Dhaliwal and his writing:
“The story focuses on the fast-paced action – who does what when and what happens because of it – that makes for an engrossing crime novel.” – The Now Newspaper
“Dhaliwal has broached some interesting and vital topics in the examination of gang mentality.” – Literary Review of Canada
“Edgy … a grimly realistic portrait of the West Coast gangster life and the flash-and- burn trajectory of those drawn to it”. — Vancouver Review
“Like Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster film, Goodfellas, Ruby is seduced at a young age by the glamour of being a bad boy.” – Quill and Quire
“Daaku is a scary peek into a subculture about which we know nothing, a tour of Vancouver suburbs as alien as Mars, and Dhaliwal makes it as believable as your own back yard.” – The Globe and Mail
“He [Ruby Pandher] ditches school and gravitates to Scarface-style gang life full of drugs, guns and babes.” – The Vancouver Sun
“… he [Ranj Dhaliwal] may remind some readers of S. E. Hinton, whose 1967 novel, The Outsiders, achieved a similarly skilful blend of what’s thrilling and what’s good for you.” – The Walrus Magazine
“Ranj Dhaliwal has turned a passion for the written word into a creative masterpiece.” – The Ubyssey
“Dhaliwal’s Daaku does away with any form of textured story telling; instead we are served up a cold, mean, and brutal story of lost youth, extreme violence, murders, rampages in the burbs, midnight meetings in school parking lots, a night life filled with low level crooks, drug lords, traffickers, snorting party animals, bouncers, police, shootings and a slew of young affluent attractive South Asian and Anglo Canadian women who are more than ready to slum it and party it down with the devil.” – Canadian Literature Journal
“This is an excellent novel about Indo-Canadian gangs.” – The Globe and Mail
“This social structure is dizzying and complex, yet Dhaliwal manages to juggle it plausibly and consistently.” – Literary Review of Canada
“Daaku holds the distinction of being the first novel ever written and published on the topic of Indo-Canadian gang violence.” – INDI Magazine