WASHINGTON, JULY 27, 2004
A bill seeking to unveil a portrait of former Indian American congressman
in the US Capitol building has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
Saund is the only Indian American to have been elected to the House
of Representatives - 48 years ago.
US Congressman Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, introduced
the bill, which said: "Congressman Dilip Singh Saund created history
when he was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1956, becoming
the first Indian American and first Asian American ever elected to Congress.
"His story serves as an inspiration to the Indian American community
and reflects the achievement of the American Dream."
Wilson, who is also co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and
Indian Americans, said: "I recently led an Indian American constituent
family, who live in Bluffton, South Carolina, through the Capitol Building
"Their in-laws were visiting from Pune, India, and the family
enjoyed seeing the statues and portraits inside the Capitol. In the
future, I would like Indian Americans to see a portrait of Congressman
Saund when they visit Capitol Hill."
The resolution said: "With Bobby Jindal poised to be the next
Indian American elected to Congress, and the first ever Republican,
it is appropriate to honour Congressman Saund with a portrait for his
historic election in 1956
Saund was born in 1899 in Chhajulwadi, Punjab, and immigrated into
the US to study at the University of California, Berkeley. He received
his PhD in mathematics in 1924 and served as the national president
of the Hindustan Association of America while he was still a student.
He was a very successful farmer for nearly 30 years in Imperial Valley,
California. In 1946, he was instrumental in ending restrictions that
prohibited the naturalisation of immigrants from India. In 1952, he
was elected justice of peace in Westmoreland, California, becoming one
of the first Asian Americans ever elected to public office.
He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1956, becoming the
first ever native of India to be elected to the US Congress
In 1957, Saund visited India as a member of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee and he was given a hero's welcome wherever he went in India.
He overcame many obstacles to become a US citizen and a member of Congress
and he continues to serve as a role model and inspiration for the Indian
In view of this, Saund's portrait should be displayed in an appropriate
place in the US Capitol or in a House office building, Wilson's resolution