Dalip Singh Saund
Dalip Singh Saund (September 20, 1899 – April 22, 1973) was an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives. He served the 29th District of California from January 3, 1957 to January 3, 1963. He was the first Sikh American, the first Asian American, the first Indian American and the first member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to Congress.
|Dalip Singh Saund|
Painting on canvas of Saund
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California’s 29th Congressional district
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1963
|Preceded by||John J. Phillips|
|Succeeded by||George Brown, Jr.|
|Born||September 20, 1899
Chhajulwadi, Punjab, India
|Died||April 22, 1973 (aged 73)
|Children||Dalip Singh Saund Jr., Julie Saund, Ellie Saund|
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley|
Born in Chhajulwadi, Punjab, India, to a Sikh family, he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Punjab in 1919.
He immigrated to the United States (via Ellis Island) originally to study agriculture at the University of California, Berkeley. While at the university, he obtained a master’s degree (1922) and a PhD (1924), both in mathematics. He thereafter remained in the United States, becoming a successful farmer.
Later, he campaigned to allow “Hindus”, as all people of South Asian descent were called at that time, to become naturalized citizens. After the Luce-Celler Act was passed in 1946, he applied for naturalization and became an American citizen in 1949. He ran for election in 1950 as a Justice of the Peace for Westmoreland township, California, and won the election, but his election was thrown out as he had been a citizen for less than a year. He later ran again for the same post and won.
In November 1955, he announced his campaign to run for the House of Representatives as a Democrat and won an election for an open seat against a famous Republican aviator, Jacqueline Cochran. He was re-elected twice, becoming the first Sikh American, the first Asian American, the first Indian American and first member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to Congress.
In May 1962, Saund suffered a severe stroke which left him unable to speak or walk without assistance. He was defeated for reelection in November 1962 by Republican Patrick Martin by a 56% to 44% margin.
- My Mother India. Stockton, California: Pacific coast Khalsa Diwan society (Sikh temple). c. 1930. p. 218. LCCN 30013748. OCLC 3401226. LCC DS421 .S25 OCLC 253315388
- Congressman From India. New York: Dutton. 1960. p. 192. LCCN 60012293. OCLC 1098264. LCC E748.S28 A3
- Gandhi, the man and his message. n.p. n.d. p. 14. OCLC 20750572.