Kobre & Kim Honors Dalip Singh Saund for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 20, 2022

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Kobre & Kim is reflecting on the achievements of Asian Americans inside and outside of the legal industry. Today, we honor Dalip Singh Saund for his leadership and accomplishments working on behalf of Asian Americans.

Dalip Singh Saund, known to those around him as “Judge,” served as the first Asian American, the first Indian American, the first Sikh American and the first member of a non-Abrahamic faith to be elected to the United States Congress. Saund served as Representative for the 29th District of California from 1957 to 1963. Saund was born in British India and received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Punjab in 1919. While attending university, Saund was an active participant in the movement for an independent India led by Mohandas Gandhi, where he developed lessons in the power of nonviolence and civil disobedience that fueled his career.

Saund immigrated to the United States and received a master’s degree and PhD in mathematics and agriculture at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1930, Saund wrote a book in support of the Indian independence movement, My Mother India. Saund spoke to address injustices within India’s caste system, and later in his life, he campaigned to allow people of South Asian descent to become naturalized citizens of the United States. In 1950, Saund was elected as Justice of the Peace for Westmoreland Township, California. In 1955, Saund announced his campaign for the United States House of Representatives and was subsequently re-elected twice as a California Democrat.