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United States: Indians have arrived

Dalip Singh Saund created history when he was elected to the US Congress. Since then, the Indian American community has now progressed far into the country's political ethos.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2006 21:07 IST

Dalip Singh Saund created history when he was elected to the US Congress—one of the most powerful political bastions in the world. The late Saund was elected three times to the House from California, beginning in 1957.

Born in 1899, in Chhajulwadi, Punjab, Saund immigrated to the US, got a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1924, and was president of the Hindustan Association of America as a student there.

From the days of Saund, the Indian American community has now progressed far into the country's political ethos. Bobby Jindal is the only second Indian-American to be elected to the US Congress.

The earliest immigrants, mainly Sikhs from Punjab, came as farm labourers, between 1907 and 1924, eventually settling down on the West coast as landowning farmers.

Immigration from the subcontinent slackened considerably in the late 1920s owing to strict immigration laws, which practically banned further immigration from India.

The late 1960s saw a second wave of immigration. They were professionals, especially doctors, who were welcomed to fill in the shortage in the US caused by the Vietnam War.

The software boom of the 1990s, however, saw the largest number of immigrants from India to the US, and a fledgling population of 6,400 Indians prior to 1964, grew to nearly one million by the early 1990s and today stands at a little more than two million, 62,000 of which are students in universities across the US.

First Published: Jan 05, 2006 19:27 IST