First Indian American Congressman visits Singapore in 1957

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Dalip Singh Saund

Dalip Singh Saund, a former judge who became the first Asian American to be elected to the US Congress, had visited Singapore soon after creating history by winning a seat in the US legislature in 1957.

“The Singapore Indian Association will hold a cocktail party in honour of the visiting American Congressman, Mr. Dalip Singh Saund, at its club house in Balestier Road at 7.15 p.m. tomorrow. Before the party, Mr. Dalip Singh will speak at a public meeting at the Club,” reported The Straits Times (11 November 1957).

Saund, who was born In Amritsar in 1899, had studied at University of Punjab. In 1920, he came to the US to attend the University of California and graduated in 1922 receiving M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

After obtaining a PhD in Mathematics, he had to settle as a farmer as he could not get a teaching job as he was not a US citizen. That came in 1949.

Back then, the Sikhs in the US were referred to as Hindus. In an interview on a television programme, Saund also refers to himself as Hindu.

“Judge Saund, you are the only Hindu and the only Asian ever to have sat in the Congress of the United States,” says the commentator. See here.

“Everyone thought I had no chance. It was not possible for a Hindu to be elected judge,” Dalip replies.

Until today, Dalip remains the only Sikh to have been elected to the US Congress. He was reelected twice, in 1958 and 1960. While campaigning for a fourth term in 1962, he suffered a debilitating stroke and became incapacitated.

(For a more complete history of Congressman Dalip, see here).

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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