WASHINGTON (TIP): A group of 14 lawmakers has requested the State of California to induct Dalip Singh Saund, the first Indian to be elected to Congress, into the California Hall of Fame. The group led by Ami Bera sent a letter to California Governor Jerry Brown describing Congressman Saund as “a trailblazer for human and civil rights and for the Asian- American community”.
“As we continue to work towards comprehensive immigration reform, the contributions that California Congressman Dalip Singh Saund made should be recognized by enshrining him in the California Hall of Fame,” lawmakers said in the letter. Dalip Singh Saund was the first Asian-American elected to Congress, serving in the 85th, 86th, and 87th Congresses. “He was the first Indian-American to serve in Congress and the first member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to the House,” the lawmakers wrote. “Dalip Singh Saund was born in a small village in India.
After immigrating to the United States in 1920 to study at the University of California, Berkeley Saund earned an M A and a Ph D in mathematics,” said the letter. “Upon graduating, he remained in the United States and became a farmer-growing lettuce in California’s Imperial Valley of California,” it said. “In 1953, Saund became a distributor of chemical fertilizer in Westmoreland,” said the letter. “Saund’s political career began in 1942 when he was elected President of India Association of America.
In this role, Saund raised funds to lobby for Congresswoman Claire Booth Luce’s bill for citizenship rights and to allow individuals of South Asian descent to become naturalized citizens,” it added. “After the passage of the Luce- Celler Act, Saund applied for and became a citizen in 1949. One year later he successful ran for election as a Justice of the Peace for Westmoreland Township,” the letter said. “In 1956 Saund successfully ran for the House of Representatives,” it said.
“Saund served a total of three terms in the House (January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1963), fighting for local and national interests,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. The letter added that Congressman Saund had opposed the closing of Corona Naval Hospital and championed a number of projects important to California including flood control, supplemental water for Southern California, and water rights for Imperial County farmers.`