Dalip Singh Saund (September 20, 1899-April 22, 1973) was a member of the United States House of Representatives. He served the 29th district of the state of California from January 3, 1957-January 3, 1963. He was the first Asian American, Indian American and Sikh American member of the US Congress.
Born in Chhajulwadi, Punjab,India, to a Sikh family of Tarkhan origins, he received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Punjab in 1919.
He emigrated to America, originally to study agriculture at the University of California at Berkeley. While at the university, he earned two degrees in mathematics, a master's degree (1922) and a Ph.D. (1924). He thereafter remained in the United States, becoming a successful farmer.
Later, he campaigned to allow "Hindoos," as all people of South Asian descent were called at that time - though many of them Sikhs and Muslims, 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 Republican aviator Jacqueline Odlum. He was re-elected twice, becoming the first Asian American and Indian American member of Congress. In May 1962, he suffered a severe stroke which left him unable to speak at all, or walk without assistance, thus ending his congressional career.
References Biography with picture PBS special "Roots in the Sand"