Pioneer Indian-American historian Tejinder Singh Sibia, who documented the arrival of early Indian migrants to Canada and the US and their struggles, died in Sacramento at the weekend following a brief illness. He was 70.
Popularly known as Ted, he was the first Indian-American to document the history of the Gadar movement in California, the Komagata Maru and early Indian pioneers in America.
After his retirement as a librarian from the University of California at Davis, he devoted his time to chronicling the history of Gadar leaders and early Indian Sikh pioneers through his web site www.sikhpioneers.com. It became a rich reference material for research on the Indian diaspora.
Ted was able to procure rare pictures and documents from the forgotten families of the Indian pioneers in California.
"He will never be forgotten for his work on early Indian immigrants and their struggles. The greatest thing about him was that he did all this at his own expense. Sibia was such a wonderful person," said Jasbir Kang of the Punjabi American Heritage Society in Yuba City near here.
Kang, who worked with Sibia on community projects, said his organization would now complete his mission.
Inder Singh, president of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), said Sibia played an important role in reviving interest in the Gadar movement, which originated in California and later shook India.
"We worked together on Gadar projects, and I was looking forward to discussing another upcoming anniversary with him. His death is a big loss to the Indian-American community," Singh said.
Born at Killa Raipur in Punjab in Aug 1937, Ted came to the US in 1960 for his masters in horticulture from Kansas State.
After it, he earned masters in library science from Emporia State University and joined the University of California at Davis where he retired as head of the Research Library Unit for Biology & Agriculture at the Shield Library.