Sikh NRI, Saund is the only Indian American to have been elected to the House of Representatives - 48 years ago.
Will Indian American's portrait hang in Capitol building?



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 during votes.

"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 American community.

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 said