David Rai on His Punjabi-Mexican Heritage

By • Aug 9th, 2012
Category: Diaspora, Featured, India, Life

Lal David Rai Photo credit: Leela Rai“I am an American-Punjabi-Hispanic,” is how Lal David Rai, a second generation Punjabi-Mexican describes himself. Meet David, a 3rd generation farmer from Yuba City, Sutter County in Northern California.  He comfortably straddles all 3 cultures.

Over 100 years ago David’s paternal grandfather moved from Punjab in India to the USA and eventually settled down in Arizona. David’s mother Mary Singh Rai moved to Yuba City, where she married and settled down to raise a family. David’s grandfather and father were Sikhs.

David grew up straddling 3 different cultures: American, Punjabi and Mexican. At home his parent’s spoke Mexican, which is how the early Punjabi immigrants referred to Spanish, as well as Punjabi and English. Growing up in Yuba City David went to a Catholic Church and the Stockton Gurudwara, which is the oldest gurudwara in the US.

Photo credit: Leela Rai

Related Links:

David Rai: A Farmer’s View on Shortage of Food (podcast)

Dave Teja of Yuba City (podcast)

Desis in California - Dave Teja (video)

Desis in California: Prof. Karen Leonard



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