Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dalip Singh Saund

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, here is some more information about some famous Asian Americans that you might not know much about.

Dalip Singh Saund was the first Asian American, the first Indian American, the first Sikh-American and the first member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to the United States Congress.

Saund was born on September 20, 1899, and died on April 22, 1973.

Saund persuaded his family to support his plan of studying food canning in America and then returning to India to start a canning industry. During summers, he worked at different canneries. He got a doctorate degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.

His career options were limited because of the anti-immigrant feelings at the time so he worked for twenty years in farming. He was a lettuce farmer and a distributor of chemical fertilizer. During this time, he fought laws that discriminated against Indians. He and other Indians earned the right to become US citizens in 1949. A year later he was elected judge of Justice Court but was denied the seat because he was not a citizen for one year when elected. In 1952, he was elected to the same court and stayed there for 5 years. Saund served three terms in the House of Representatives and worked to improve US-Asian relations.

Saund wrote a book called “My Mother India” which he hoped would help end the British Empire’s occupation of India. His book addressed India’s caste system and answered questions regarding the cultural and political problems of India.

He suffered a stroke in his fourth term on an airplane flight and left him unable to speak or walk. He was moved from a hospital in Maryland to California and ten years later, he suffered his second stroke and died.

No comments: