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DALIP SINGH SAUND: the first NRI U.S. Congressman, 1956 from 29th. congressional district California


The first NRI U.S. Congressman, 1956 from 29th. congressional district California

PALATINE, IL, May 9, 2007
Rajinder Singh Mago

Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago (PCS) and the Sikh religious Society (SRS) collaborated to host the Organization of Chinese Americans, Inc. (OCA-Chicago) to release a Book Mark featuring Dr. Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian American U.S. Congressman (elected in 1956 from 29th. congressional district California), among other notable Top Ten Asian Pacific American Achievers. It was OCA-Chicago’s Tenth Anniversary of the APA Heritage Month Book Mark Project.

Congressman Saund was born in 1899 in Punjab, India in a Sikh family. He came to US in 1920 and completed PHD in mathematics from Berkley. He lived through many discriminatory practices prevalent in US at that time, but eventually with his hard work and optimism succeeded in becoming the first US Congressman of color. He served from Jan 3, 1957 to Jan 3 1963. He died in 1973.

A large size bookmark was unveiled on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at the Sikh Gurdwara, Sikh Religious Society in Palatine, Illinois. The event was presented in collaboration with the Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago.

Nancy Loo, FOX Chicago TV news anchor, emceed this event. Palatine Mayor Rita Mullin also attended along with several Asian American leaders of Chicago. Harvind Kaur Singh spoke about the life of Congressman Saund. A picture of Golden Temple was presented to Nancy Loo by the SRS president Raghvinder Singh Mahal, Bhai Mohinder Singh and the PCS president Bhinder Singh Pamma. Nancy Loo mentioned her participation at this event, thanked the community and proudly displayed the picture gift during her newscasts on TV channel 32.

Project funding for the bookmark was provided by FOX CHICAGO TV. Fifteen thousand bookmarks are being distributed throughout Chicagoland via community outlets, stores, libraries and schools. They are available from PCS, and at the 2007 Asian American Festival, scheduled for May 21-25, 2007 in Daley Plaza. Bookmarks are available at no charge to the public, while supplies last.

"We thank the Sikh Religious Society, in collaboration with the Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, for serving as the venue host for our very first Suburban Release Ceremony," said Nicole Lee Acting President of OCA-Chicago.

A short documentary film on Dalip Singh Saund produced by Harvind Kaur Singh was also screened in the lobby of the Gurudwara in Palatine, where an exhibits booth and a Voter registration booth coordinated by Thakar Singh Basati was also setup.

"PCS team is proud to be a part of organizing this event," said Bhinder Singh Pamma PCS President.

"This event will create awareness and pride among our next generation that Dalip Singh Saund a pioneer Congressman was one of us," said Rajinder Singh Mago.

Sadhu Singh Rikhiraj of the Sikh Religious Society and Mohinderjit Singh Saini of Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago thanked Nancy Loo and other Asian American guests.

"PCS means to encourage our community members to participate more in mainstream events," said Mohinderjit Singh Saini member Zoning Board of Appeals village of Palatine.

Rajinder Singh Mago managed the release program at the Gurudwara stage. ENERI Communications created the bookmark project. The bookmark was designed by Hon Bannapradist.

The PCS event organizing team included Bhinder Singh Pamma, Sunny Kular, Parminder Singh Ghotra, Onkar Singh Sangha, Thakar Singh Basati, Harleen Kaur Saini, Sukhi Basati, Harkirat Singh Sandhu, Mohinderjit Singh Saini and Rajinder Singh Mago.

Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago is a not-for-profit 501C-3 community organization devoted to promoting Punjabi culture, language, performing arts, sports, good citizenship, and healthy life style in metropolitan Chicago area.