Dalip Singh Saund was the first Indian-Ameican elected to the US Congress in the 1950s. Originally from Punjab Saund came to the USA in 1920 to study mathematics and got a PhD from University of California at Berkeley. Instead of entering the world of academia, Saund switched directions and worked as a farmer in Southern California. The then immigration laws of American did not make it possible to become an American citizen. It was only after the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 that was he able to become an American citizen. Once he became an American citizen he started to took an active interest in public affairs and eventually ran for Congress and won the elections defeating aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran (R). He represented Imperial Valley in Southern California (1957-1963) and during his tenure as a Congressman he travelled widely, including India. He passed away in 1973.
Congressman Saund’s (D) contribution was recognized and honored by the San Jose City Council during the annual Sikh Appreciation month, which falls in November. Here is a short video of the ceremony at San Jose City Council with mayor Chuck Reed, Councilman Ash Kalra (D) and Dr. Eric Saund, grandson of Congressman Saund.
As part of the celebration Councilman Kalra’s office organized a screening of a new documentary of Congressman Saund called “Dalip Singh Saund: His Life, His Legacy.” Produced by Samantha Cheng, the film is part of a program to create awareness of the political contributions made by Asian-American members of the community.