2446 Reddie Dr, Suite 14,
February 8, 2005
Washington - Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) welcomed the voting by the U.S. House of Representatives to honor Dalip Singh Saund by naming a California post office after the late Sikh American congressman. He was first Asian American member of the U.S. Congress who represented California. Mr. Saund, originally from India, served as congressman from 1956 to 1962.
Congressman Darrell Issa and Congressman Bobby Jindal sponsored the Bill and the bill was passed 410-0. The Dalip Singh Saund Post Office Building Designation Act would designate the United States Postal office at 30777 Rancho California Road in Temecula, California, as the Dalip Singh Saund Post Office Building.
“Honor to Mr. Saund is a matter of special pride for Sikh s in the U.S. His life, struggle and success continue to inspire the American Sikh s to work hard to create a place of respect and admiration for their community. He is not only a symbol of hope and inspiration for all South Asians, but he is the most loved and remembered leader in California,” said Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Washington based Sikh Council on Religion and Education.
Dr Singh added, “This is particularly important for Sikhs during these times when we have faced prejudice in the wake of the tragedy of 9/11. Sikhs have contributed in American life from last 100 years and we are determined to be involved in the affairs of our country.”
Born in 1899 in the village of Chhajalwadi in Punjab, Mr. Saund came to the United States in 1920. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley and received his Masters and Doctorate degrees. He faced discrimination as South Asians were allowed to work only in the field of agriculture. Despite his high educational qualifications, he worked in the field as a farmer. Indians were also not eligible for U.S. citizenship. Despite all hurdles Mr. Saund continued to struggle for better status for Indians and all other Asians. He became an American citizen in 1949 after an amendment to the law. In 1956, he was elected to Congress and served three terms.
Congressman Jindal praised Saund by saying, “Dalip Saund's story is one of determination and true accomplishment. He personifies the idea that every person can, through hard work and dedication, achieve amazing heights.” Congressman Issa said, "This Act of Congress will preserve Congressman Saund's legacy and honor the success of all immigrants from India and their accomplishments."
Despite the racism that he faced, Saund was determined to struggle for better immigration rights and to end racial discrimination. In Mr. Saund's own words, “One day, just three days before the election, a prominent citizen who was opposing me bitterly saw me one morning in the town restaurant. There must have been some fifty people in there having their breakfast when he came up to me and said in a loud voice: “Doc, tell us, if you're elected, will you furnish the turbans, or will we have to buy them ourselves in order to come to your court?” “My friend,” I answered, “you know me for a tolerant man. I don't care what a man has on top of his head. All I'm interested in is what he's got inside of it.”
SCORE represents Sikh issues in the U.S. Congress and the White House and raises the concerns of the community in various forums.