Dalip Singh Saund

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Dalip Singh Saund
Dalip Singh Saund.jpg
Painting on canvas of Saund
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th Congressional district
In office
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1963
Preceded by John J. Phillips
Succeeded by George Brown, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1899-09-20)September 20, 1899
Chhajulwadi, Punjab, India
Died April 22, 1973(1973-04-22) (aged 73)
Hollywood, California
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marian Saund
Children Dalip Singh Saund Jr., Julie Saund, Ellie Saund
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Religion Sikhism

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.


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.[1]

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.[2]

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.

Publications authored[edit]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Dalip Singh Saund among Asian American trailblazers: Obama". The Times Of India. May 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ He is to date the only member with Sikh heritage to have served in Congress, though Congressman Martin Hoke (R-OH) lived as a Sikh for a period of time in the 1970s.
  3. ^ This book was written as a critique to the sensational Mother India, by Katherine Mayo, which argued against Indian self-rule. See: Tisdale, Sara (December 19, 2008). "Breaking Barriers: Congressman Dalip Singh Saund". Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John J. Phillips
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th congressional district

Succeeded by
George Brown, Jr.