Senate Approves Post Office

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June 30, 2005

Washington , DC -The U.S. Senate, last night, unanimously voted to honor former Riverside and Imperial County Congressman Dalip Singh Saund by naming the U.S. Post Office at 30777 Rancho California Road in Temecula , California , in his honor.  Saund, a Sikh, was the first Asian American  and first Indian American member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represented California . Mr. Saund, originally from India , served as congressman from 1957 to 1962.

"The 'Dalip Singh Saund Post Office Building' will honor an American who followed his dream to the United States , broke barriers, and served as a representative of the people," said Congressman Darrell Issa who authored, H.R. 120, the legislation honoring Rep. Saund. "This Act of Congress will preserve Congressman Saund's legacy and honors the success of all immigrants from India and their accomplishments."

Born in the village of Chhajulwadi in India 's Punjab province in 1899, Dalip Saund came to the United States in 1920 to study at the University of California , Berkeley , where he earned a doctorate in mathematics. For nearly 30 years he was a successful farmer in Imperial Valley . During this time, Saund began fighting discriminatory laws against Indians.

“We thank the U.S. Senate and Congress for honoring the true hero of America . This is a great gift to the community on the Independence Day weekend. Honor to Mr. Saund is a matter of special pride for Sikh s in the U.S. His life, struggle and success continue to inspire the American Sikh s to work hard to create a place of respect and admiration for their community. He is not only a symbol of hope and inspiration for all South Asians but he is the most loved and remembered leader in California ,” said Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Washington based Sikh Council on Religion and Education.

President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

In 1949, he and other Indians finally earned the right to become U.S. citizens. In 1952, Saund was elected and served for four years as justice of the peace in Westmorland , California . Dalip Saund made history in 1956 when he became the first Asian elected to Congress. Dalip Saund was elected to the House of Representatives and represented the 29th congressional district during the Eighty-fifth and the two succeeding Congresses. Saund's political career was cut short when he suffered a stroke while campaigning for a fourth term.

"Dalip Saund's story is one of determination and true accomplishment," said Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-LA) who last November became only the second Indian-American elected to Congress. "He personifies the idea that every person can, through hard work and dedication, achieve amazing heights."

Dr Singh added, “This is particularly important for Sikhs during these times when we have faced prejudice in the wake of the tragedy of 9/11. Sikhs have contributed in American life from last 100 years and we are determined to be involved in the affairs of our country.”

Despite the racism that he faced, Saund was determined to struggle for better immigration rights and to end racial discrimination. In Mr. Saund's own words, “One day, just three days before the election, a prominent citizen who was opposing me bitterly saw me one morning in the town restaurant. There must have been some fifty people in there having their breakfast when he came up to me and said in a loud voice: “Doc, tell us, if you're elected, will you furnish the turbans or will we have to buy them ourselves in order to come to your court?” “My friend,” I answered, “you know me for a tolerant man. I don't care what a man has on top of his head. All I'm interested in is what he's got inside of it.”

SCORE represents Sikh issues in the U.S. Congress and the White House and raises the concerns of the community in various forums