April 19 - Fact of the Day: Dalip Singh Saund

Dalip Singh Saund was born in Amritsar, a city in the present day Punjab state of India. In 1919, he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Punjab and moved to California one year later, attending Berkeley and received a doctorate in mathematics. In the 1940s, he formed the Indian Association of America and worked with the Indian League of America to achieve Indian-American rights to citizenship. His work came to fruition when Truman signed the Luce-Cellar Act, permitting citizenship to Asian Indians, in 1946. Dalip Singh Saund finally gained citizenship in 1949. Active in the Democratic Party, he was selected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1952, 1956 and 1960. In 1950, Saund ran for judgeship and won, but could not serve because he had not been a citizen for a full year. Still, he did not give up and served as judge from 1952 until he became a congressman in 1957. He served three terms, but suffered a stroke while campaigning for a fourth and died, ending his career. Dalip Singh Saund not only helped win citizenship for Indians, but also inspired other Asian-Americans to pursue careers in politics, something that seemed impossible at the time.