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Punjabi Immigration in America on TV Channel

Los Angeles, Oct 31, 2009

JUS Punjabi, a cable and satellite TV network will be airing a series of episodes on Punjabis in America starting on Saturday at 7:00 PM (Eastern), November 14, 2009, to be repeated on Sunday at 1:00 AM (Eastern). The TV channels in the US for the airing are as follows:

Channel 248 on Cablevision
Channel 573 on Time Warner Cable
Channel 809 on DISH Network (Free preview from Oct 28 to Nov 11)
Channel 1757on Verizon FiOS TV

The five episodes include:

1. Start of Punjabi immigration with the arrival of four retired Sikh soldiers coming from Hong Kong and landing in San Francisco in 1899 and coming of about 2000 more from 1899 to 1907 . Encountering unimagined hardships and racial prejudice in finding jobs in the new country. Attracting wrath of labor unions which tried to force employers to fire Indians from laboring jobs and when they failed, they took law unto their own hands by beating the Punjabis, looting their belongings and forcing all 250 to leave the city of Bellingham for good. Similar incidents repeated in some other cities.

2. Pressure of labor unions on elected officials to legally stop immigration as their continued arrival was leading to lower standard of living. Eventually they succeeded in getting the law passed in 1917 barring all Punjabis/Indians to come to the US legally. Punjabis/Indians attributed their plight in America to their being citizens of slave India, so they formed an association what is commonly known as Gadar Party to free India by the force of arms from the British colonial rule. As many as 6000-8000 from America, Canada and other countries left for India to fight against the British rule while Britain was fighting World War I. Germany had given money, arms and ships for transportation of arms, etc. to Indians. Unfortunately, on reaching India, many were arrested and jailed and several were imprisoned in America.

3. Without American citizenship, Punjabis could not buy land or homes. Some did get US citizenship but US Supreme court in 1923 revoked their citizenship. Many had to sell their property at throw away prices, some went back to India in frustration, a few committed suicides.

4. Struggle to regain US citizenship. US Congress gave citizenship rights to 100 Indians annually starting in 1946 but a new phase of immigration from India started with liberalization of immigration laws in 1967.

5. New waves of Punjabi arrival began since the liberalization of immigration laws. Today, there are over 800,000 Punjabis in the US. They have made enormous contributions to the country of their adoption and country of their birth.

Watch the series at the channels given above and record for future reference.

The interviewee in the series is Inder Singh who regularly writes and speaks on Indian Diaspora in conferences in the US and India. He is currently chairman of Indian American Heritage Foundation. He has been involved with the Indian community at local to global level. He is the chairman of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and was president of GOPIO from 2004-2009. He has been president of National Federation of Indian American Associations(NFIA) from 1988-92, chairman from 1992-96 and was founding president of Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) in Southern California.







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Inder Singh