Pioneer Asian Indian
Immigration to the Pacific Coast


Chronology of Immigration

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1897   First Sikhs, Canada Kesar Singh stamp4

1899  Sikhs Allowed to Land in S.F   

1904  Guru Granth Sahib Ji   

1906  Diwan Singh and Dhana Singh Poonian arrive in U.S.

1906  Khalsa Diwan Society Established    

1906-1922  Astoria, Oregon--"Hindu Alley"   

1907  Anti-Hindu Riot, Bellingham, Washington   

1908  Vancouver, B.C. First Gurdwara

1908  Moving Hindu Colony to British Honduras?

1909  The Awakening of the Sikhs.

1911  Holt, California - Gurdwara Property

1911  First Sikh Prayer-Guru Granth

1912  Stockton Gurdwara property   

1912  Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society  

1913   Alien Land Law, State of California

1913  Sikh wrestling prowess, March, 1913. Astoria, Oregon

1913  Gadar first meeting, Astoria, April, 1913.

1914  Komagata Maru arrives in Vancouver, B.C.

1914  Komagata Maru departs to India

1915  Stockton Gurdwara First Permanent structure 

1915  Dedication of Stockton Gurdwara, transcript of 1915 news item 

1917  Asian Barred Zone and Literacy Test

1918 Ottowa Plans to Recognize Paldi, Set Up Sikh Museum

1921  Hazing of Hindus [unwind turbans]

1923  Bhagat Singh Thind case. U.S. vs Thind 261 US 204(1923).

1924-1997 First Facts Yuba City - Sutter Area

1925   The Pahkar Singh Murders: A Punjabi Response to California's Alien Land Law -
              Karen Leonard.   Amerasia 11:1 (1984), 75-87

1929  Stockton California Gurdwara, new structure built

1946   Luce-Cellar Act

1948  El Centro California Gurdwara established.

1956  Dalip Singh Saund elected member of Congress  

1960   Narinder Singh Kapany--Widely acknowledged as the father of Fiber-Optics

1965-... Dr. Bruce LaBrack's Study of South Asian Immigrants. The Indian community increased, especially the Sikhs, between 1965-75.

1968   Har Gobind Khorana receives Nobel Laureate in Medicine:

             For their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein             synthesis

1993- First turbaned Sikh elected in Canadian Parliament.

1994  Prabhu-Poonam Goel & Rekhi Grant to Benefit Girls' Education in India

1998   Amartya Sen received the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Economics:
             For his contribution to welfare economics.   

1998  Founding of First Sikh Preschool in Northern California  - Yuba City, California

1999  Sikh Canadian stamp released

2000  Dosanjh is British Columbia Premier, Feb 21, 2000-June 2001

2000  Immigration from India to the U.S. from 1820 to 2000

2000  Population census

2001  Sikh Leaders meet President Bush

2002 Desshpande Gives $20M to MIT. India-West Jan. 11, 2002 page 1

Asian-Indian (Indo-Americans) Contributions
For future reference, contributions by Indio-Americans please search the database ETHNIC NEWSWATCH. This database covers India-West, India Abroad and other newpapers.

2002  Canadian Prime Minister gives Abbotsford, British Columbia Sikh Temple heritage status

2003 First Indian in the US Army Killed in Iraq

2004 "Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab" at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

2004 "Mohini Bhardwaj" An Indian American girl in the U.S. Olympic Team
Please visit for full article.

2004 "White House marks 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib"

2004 Second Indian-American elected to Congress, Bobby Jindal


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First Sikhs, Canada

The first Sikhs who visited Canada were the soldiers of the British Army (the Sikh Lancers and Infantry). They passed through Canada ( traveling by train from Montreal to Vancouver) on their way back to India, after participating in the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Queen Victoria in London, England, in 1897. On their way back from Canada to India, they met other British Army Sikh soldiers in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore and told them about the opportunities in Canada, before going back to Punjab, India. A monument has been erected to their honor at the GURDWARA SAHIB, at 8000 Ross Street Vancouver B.C.
(Source: Khalsa Diwan Society - Canada)
Kesar Singh Book

Sikhs Allowed to Land in San Francisco

The four Sikhs who arrived on the Nippon Maru the other day were permitted yesterday to land by the immigration officials. The quartet formed the most picturesque group that has been seen on the Pacific Mall dock for many a day. One of them, Bakkshlled [sic] Singh, speaks English with fluency, the others just a little. They are all fine-looking men, Bakkshlled Singh in particular being a marvel of physical beauty. He stands 6 feet 2 inches and is built in proportion. His companions-Bood [sic] Singh, Variam [sic] Singh and Sohava Singh-are not quite so big. All of them have been soldiers and policemen in China. They were in the Royal Artillery, and the tall one with the unpronounceable name was a police sergeant in Hong Kong prior to coming to this country. They hope to make their fortunes here and return to their homes in the Lahore district, which they left some twenty years ago.
--San Francisco Chronicle April 6, 1899, p.10.

Guru Granth Sahib Ji

Bhai Arjan Singh of village Malak, Dist. Ludhiana (Punjab) was the first Sikh to bring the GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI (the holy scripture of the Sikhs) to Vancouver. And then the Sikhs started to congregate regularly for worship, using their houses for this purpose. (Source: Khalsa Diwan Society, British Columbia)

Dhana Singh Poonian came to California in 1906. He eventually settled in Loomis, California, where he established the Poonian Nursery in 1911. In 1923 Poonian returned to India to marry Raj Kaur, his brother's widow. He brought her and her two sons back to California. Raj Kaur Poonian's son Paritem married Janie Diwan, the daughter of a successful Arizona farmer, Diwan Singh.

Diwan Singh immigrated to America in 1906 and by the 1940s, farmed large tracts of farm land in Arizona.

"Arizona has many large cotton farms. But many of the farmers started on a small scale. Diwan Singh was one of the more colorful pioneers. Born in India, he immigrated to America in 1906. Singh was a common laborer when he drifted into Casa Grande in 1924. He wanted to farm but was penniless. The only land he could get had hard, alkali soil. But with a horse and a mule he plowed 80 acres and planted cotton. Singh did well. In 1932 he was able to buy the first Caterpillar tractor in the Casa Grande area. By the 1940s he was farming 9,000 acres of land." (Arizona's Heritage (high school textbook), 1983.)

In 1906, the first Sikh organization in Canada, Khalsa Diwan Society was established.
(Source: Khalsa Diwan Society - Canada)

The Khalsa Diwan Society
March 13, 1909
Vancouver, Canada

We, Sewa Singh of Hepas Mill, Vancouver British Columbia and Bhola Singh of Vancouver in the said Province, Do Declare That:

  1. The intended corporate name of this society is The Khalsa Diwan Society.
  2. The following are to be first trustees or managing officers of the Society:
    Sewa Singh - President
    Bhag Singh - First Secretary and Treasurer
    Bhola Singh - Second Secretary and accountant.
  3. The above named officers together with Bishan Singh and Bhola Singh, junior, shall constitute the executive committee of the Society until the first general meeting of the Society shall be held.
  4. The annual general meeting of the Society shall be held on the first Sunday of April in each year or at such other time as may be decided by a majority vote of the members present at any ordinary meeting.
  5. At the annual general meeting an Executive Committee consisting of five members shall be elected from the members of the Society and three of the members of the Executive Committee shall be elected as President, First Secretary and Treasurer, and Second Secretary and Accountant and shall be the trustees or managing officers of the Society in manner provided by the By-laws of the Society.
  6. The Executive Committee shall appoint any additional officers that may be required and shall appoint any sub-committees.
  7. The management of the affairs of the Society except as hereinafter specifically excepted, shall be vested in the Executive Committee who in addition to all other powers may exercise all such powers and do all such acts or things as may be exercised or done by the Society subject however to the By-laws and subjects also to any regulations from time to time made by the members of the society at any ordinary meeting in the manner provided by the By-laws.
  8. The Society may be dissolved by resolution of a general meeting supported by the vote of a majority of the members of the Society present at the meeting.
  9. The objects of the Society are:

    •  To appoint ministers of the Sikh Religion to officiate in the Province of British Columbia and elsewhere.
    •  To appoint missionaries of the Sikh Religion for the purpose of attending to scattered communities of Sikhs both in the Province of British Columbia and elsewhere.
    •  To manage the affairs of the Sikh Temple now situated at 1866 Second Ave West, Vancouver.

SIGNED AND DECLARED by the said Sewa Singh at Vancouver in the Province) Sewa Singh of British Columbia this 13 th day of March 1909.
J.N Ellis
A commissioner for taking affidavits within British Columbia

SIGNED AND DECLARED by the said Bhola Singh at Vancouver in the Province) Bhola Singh of British Columbia this 13 th day of March 1909 before me.
J.N Ellis
A commissioner for taking affidavits within British Columbia

I hereby certify that the foregoing Declaration appears to me in conformity with the provisions of the Benevolent Societies Act
S.Y. Wootten
Registrar-General of Titles

The general meeting of the members of the Khalsa Diwan Society held at Fraser Mills on the 7 th day of February 1915, unanimously passed, adapting and accepting the said By-laws, Rules and Regulations.

Original copy of the objects was filed and registered on the 23 rd day of February 1915 under the signature of H.G Garret, Registrar of Companies.


  1. The Objects of the Society are:
    • To appoint ministers of the Sikh Religion to officiate in the Province of British Columbia and elsewhere.
    • To appoint missionaries of the Sikh Religion for the purpose of attending to scattered communities of Sikhs, both in the province of British Columbia and elsewhere.
  2. The management of the affairs of the Society, except as hereinafter specifically excepted, shall be vested in the Executive Committee which in addition to all other powers may exercise all such powers and do all such acts or things as may be exercised or done above by the Society subject, however, to the By-laws and subjects also to any regulations from time to time made by the members of the Society at any ordinary meeting in the manner provided by the By-laws.
  3. The members and officers of such Society may from time to time established and maintain any number of branches thereof, to promote the objects herein set forth, which branches shall be established and maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Benevolent Societies Act', R.S.B.C. 1911 and Amending Acts
  4. The members of the society, or branch society, may, in the name of the Society, acquire and take by purchase, donation, devise, or otherwise, and hold for the use of the members of the society or branch society, and according to its by-laws, rules and regulations, all kinds of personal and also real property in this Province; and the same or any part thereof, from time to time may sell or exchange, mortgage, lease, let or otherwise dispose of, and with the proceeds arising there from may from time to time acquire other lands, tenants, and hereditaments and other property, either real or personal.
  5. The Society, or branch society, shall have and keep a common seal, and may change and alter the same at their will, and pleasure, and by its name or designation, shall have continued succession, and may contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer unto, in all courts and places, and in all actions, suits, complaints matters, and causes whatsoever.
  6. The members of the Society or branches thereof may:
    • Nominate, elect, or appoint some of their members as directors, treasurers, secretaries, or other officers for conducting the business, discipline and management of the society or branch society, or any property belonging to the same.
    • Make By-laws, rules and regulations for the management and conduct of the property and business of the Society or any branches thereof; and may alter, amend, or rescind the same: Provided always that such By-laws, rules or regulations shall be in accordance with the declarations filed in the office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, and shall not contain anything in violation of law or be directed to the furtherance of any seditious or illegal objects whatsoever.
  7. (1) Two copies of the by-laws, rules and regulations of the Society, made from time to time, or any amendments thereto, shall be filed in the office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies.
    (2) A copy of the rules, by-laws, and regulations of the Society, shall be delivered by the Society to every person on demand, on payment of a sum not exceeding twenty-five cents.
  8. A person under the age of twenty-one years old, elected or admitted as a member of the Society, or appointed to any office therein, shall be liable to the payment or fees or otherwise under the rules of the Society as if he were full of age.
  9. No member of the Society, or branches thereof, shall, in his individual capacity, be liable for any debt or liability of the society, or branch thereof, or union of such, of which he is member.


  1. The Annual General Meeting of the Society shall be held of the First Sunday of April in each year, or at such other time as may be decided by a majority vote of the members at any ordinary meeting, but at the time not more than fifteen months after the holding of the last preceding annual meeting.
  2. All meetings of members shall be held at such place in the Province of British Columbia, as may be decided upon by the Executive Committee and designated in the notice calling such meeting.
  3. Seven day's notice at least (exclusive of the day on which the notice is served on deemed to be served, but inclusive of the day for which notice is given) specifying the place, the day and the hour of meeting, and, in case of special business, the general nature of that business shall be given in manner hereinafter mentioned, or in such other manner (if any) as may be prescribed by the Society in general meeting, to such persons as are, under the regulations of the society, entitled to receive such notices from the Society; but the non-receipt of the notice by any member shall not invalidate the proceedings at any general meetings.
  4. No business shall be transacted at any general meeting unless a quorum of members is present at the time when the meeting proceeds to business; save as herein otherwise provided twenty-five members, personally present, shall be a quorum.
  5. If, within half an hour from the time appointed for the meeting a quorum not present, the meeting if convened upon the requisition of members shall be dissolved; in any other case it shall stand adjourned to the same day in the next week at the same time and place, and, if at the adjourned meeting a quorum is not present within half an hour from the time appointed for the meeting, the members present shall be a quorum.
  6. If the President of the Society is not present within fifteen minutes after the time appointed for holding the meeting, or is unwilling to act as Chairman of such meeting, the members present shall choose some one member of the Executive Committee to be Chairman.
  7. The Chairman of the Meeting may, with the consent of any meeting at which a quorum is present (and shall, if so directed by the meeting) adjourn the meeting from time to time and from place to place, but no business shall be transacted at the adjourned meeting other than the business left unfinished at the meeting from which the adjournment took place. When a meeting is adjourned for ten days or more, notice of the adjourned meeting as in the case of an original meeting. Save as aforesaid, it shall not be necessary to give any notice of an adjournment or of the business to be transacted at an adjourned meeting.
  8. At any general meeting a resolution put to the vote of the meeting shall be decided on a show of hands, unless a poll is (before or on the declaration of the result of the show of hands) demanded by at least three members, and unless a poll is so demanded, a declaration by the chairman that a resolution has, on a show of hands, been carried, or carried unanimously, or by a particular majority, or lost, and an entry to that effect in the book of the proceedings of the Society, shall be conclusive evidence of the fact, without proof of the number of proportion of votes recorded in favor of, or against, that resolution.
  9. If a poll is demanded it shall be taken in such a manner as the chairman directs, and the result of the poll shall be deemed to be the resolution of the meeting at which the poll was demanded.
  10. In the case of an equality of votes, whether on a show of hands or on a poll, the chairman if the meeting at which the show of hands takes place, or at which the poll is demanded shall be entitled to a second or casting vote.
  11. A poll demanded on the election of a chairman, or on a question of adjournment, shall be taken forthwith. A poll demanded on any other question shall be taken at such time as the chairman of the meeting directs.


  1. On a show of hands, every active member present in person shall have one vote. On a poll every active member shall have one vote for each share of which he is the holder.
  2. On a poll votes may be given either personally or by proxy.
  3. The instrument appointing a proxy shall be in writing under the hand of the appointer or his attorney, duly authorized in writing. No person shall act as a proxy unless he is entitled in his own behalf to the present and vote at the meeting at which he acts as proxy.


  1. At the Annual General Meeting an executive committee consisting of five members shall be elected from the members of the Society and three of the members of the Executive Committee shall be elected as President, First Secretary and Treasurer and Second Secretary and Accountant, and shall be the Trustees or Managing Officers of the Society in the manner provided by the By-laws of the Society.
  2. The Executive Committee shall appoint any additional officers that may be required and named by the members at the annual general meeting, but such additional officers shall not exceed fifteen in number, and when so appointed shall be part of the Executive Committee which equals powers with the other members of such Committee to act in all matters which come within the special jurisdiction of the Executive Committee or the members thereof, as such:-
  3. The Executive Committee may appoint sub-committees for any purpose and in whatsoever manner they may think fit.
  4. The remuneration of the President or other offices or committeemen shall from time to time be determined by the Society in a general meeting.
  5. The qualifications of any officer or committeemen shall be that he be an active member, a true Sikh, an honest, upright man of temperate habits, and faithful to his countrymen, AND SHOULD the Society in general meeting deem any member of the Executive or a sub-committee, unfit, for any reason, to hold office, it may require such Committeeman to vacate his office as such, upon a three fourths majority votes of the members present who are entitled to vote, and the Society may in the same manner can appoint a new member of any Committee if his office becomes vacant for any reason whatsoever.
  6. Any temple owned or controlled by the Society shall have five members for its management, which five members shall be appointed a subcommittee by the Executive Committee, and shall be selected from amongst the members who may be directly connected with such temple, and the Executive Committee , in making such appointments shall have regard to the desires and wishes of the majority of the members directly connected with such Temple.
  7. The Sub-Committee in the next preceding rule mentioned shall give a full and true account at least once in every three months, to the Executive Committee at Vancouver, of the affairs of the temple under the special jurisdiction of such sub-Comiitee, and the Executive Committee may at any time investigate or cause to be investigated , the affairs of such Sub-Commiitte and such Temple, whenever the said Executive Committee may think fit.
  8. No one, except a member of the executive committee, or of the respective sub-committees shall have any right to render or hold the Society or any branch or sub-Committee thereof liable for any disbursements or debts made or incurred by him without the consent of the Executive Committee , or a member thereof.
  9. No intoxicated, rowdy or disorderly person shall be permitted to enter any Sikh Temple controlled by this Society and the Executive or Su-Committee or any member thereof may take whatever steps it or he may think proper, to prevent such person entering such Temple, or if already entered. To eject such person or any person who is not a member of the Society.
  10. No member other than a member of the Executive Committee or Sub-Committee in charge of a temple shall be entitled to address any meeting or make any speech in such Temple, unless specially requested so to do by the Chairman of such meeting, or unless he first submits to the Secretary a request in writing that he be permitted to speak, and receive a written consent signed by the Secretary or Chairman granting him such permission.
  11. The treasurer shall not keep more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) cash on hand at any one time, but shall deposit any surplus in a Chartered Bank to the Credit of the Society and the funds in the hands of the various Sub-Committees, after paying current expenses, shall be handled over to the Treasurer of the Society's at Vancouver at least once every two weeks.
  12. All cheques, notes, bills of exchange, shall require the signatures of at least two of the following officers, that is to say: the President, Secretary, Treasurer and Accountant.
  13. The seal of the Society shall not be affixed to any instrument except by the authority of a resolution of the Executive Committee, and in the presence of at least two committeemen and Secretary of such other person as the Executive Committee may appoint for the purpose; and these two committeemen and Secretary of such other person as aforesaid shall sign every instrument to which the seal of the company is so affixed in their presence.
  14. The executive Committee is hereby empowered to form a Sub-Committee in India, and although, such sub-committee shall not be deemed part of this Society, the Executive Committee shall take cognizance and give consideration to the wishes of such Sub-committee.
  15. The Executive committee is to hold its meetings every three months at 1866 Second Avenue West, in the city of Vancouver, or at such other place as such Committee may from time to time agree upon.
  16. Five members of the Executive Committee and three of a Sub-Committee shall form a quorum.
  17. Any member of any committee may withdraw there from on giving thirty days' notice in writing to this Society.
  18. If at any time the members of any other Temple outside of this Temple in Vancouver, 1866 Second Avenue, West, desire to come under the jurisdiction and management of this Society, they must agree to give over all the property of and proceeds from their temple to this Society.
  19. The committee shall have the authority in case they deem it advisable, to sell, mortgage or dispose of any property belonging to the Society or Temple, and to call upon the holder Trustee or person or persons in whose name the legal title thereof is, or is registered to convey the same to the purchaser or purchasers thereof.
  20. The Society may be dissolved by resolution of a General Meeting supported by the vote of a majority of the members of the Society present in the meeting.

THIS IS TO CERTIFY that at a General Meeting of the Members of the KHALSA DIWAN SOCIETY, held at Fraser Mills, at or near New Westminster, B.C., on the 7 th day if February, 1915, pursuant to the notice duly given to the members in that behalf, the foregoing By-laws, Rules and Regulations, were audibly and publicly read over to the members present at said meeting and having fully discussed and considered the same, a resolution of the members of the Society was unanimously passed, adopting and accepting the said By-laws, Rules and Regulations, as the By-laws, Rules and Regulations of the said Society. DATED at Vancouver, B.C. this 12 th day of February, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifteen.

Khalsa Diwan Society Jan 14, 1932


"Hindu Alley" Men Were Peaceable (1906-1922)

For more than 15 years Astoria had a Hindu Alley, a block of houses on Birch Street near the old Hammond Mill in Alderbrook.

Hindu Alley
Contemporary photo of "Hindu Alley", Astoria (Photo by T.S.Sibia, 1999) Old-time Astorians estimate that there may have been nearly 100 Hindus from India among the 600 employees of different nationalities working for the mill, which burned Sept. 11, 1922, before the great Astoria fire in December of that year. There were also Greek, Japanese, and Arab workers. The Mohammedan Arabs and the Hindus were often confused.

Mention the Hindus to an old-timer, and the immediate response is, "Yes, I remember them. They all wore white turbans. They were tall men. They were good wrestlers." But beyond that very little is commonly known about the Hindus, because, as most of the immigrant groups in the early days, they kept to themselves.

No one could know exactly when the Hindus came to Astoria, but from piecing together the information from about 20 old-time Astorians interviewed, this reporter has concluded that they probably came in 1906.

According to Cecil Moberg, who grew up in Alderbrook, there were 12 bunk houses along the waterfront between 51st and 52nd Streets on Birch where the most of Hindus lived. He said that about four men lived in each house.

Hattie Spencer said that 12 Hindus lived in the house behind her home at 4777 Cedar, renting it for a dollar each for a month.

For the "Hindu Alley," bunkhouses, there was a central cook house, said Chris Simonsen, where they ate Indian food. He remembers their making chupatti pancakes patting the dough between their hands. He also said that they would only buy live chickens, and only roosters, not hens. The other Hindus were all single men who came to work for the mill.

Although most were single men, Mrs. Spencer remembers hearing that "at one time there were two Hindu women dressed as men who worked at the mill for quite a while with the men, until they were found out." But that was all she knew. There were four children in the Hindu family. Moberg said that the two older boys, Kapur and Budha Singh, attended school with him.

"The boys had such beautiful white teeth," he remarked, recounting that one day the boys explained how they cared for their teeth: "They picked a willow twig from the swamp and used it to clean their teeth."

Feared Hindus

Many of the old-timers reported that as children, they were afraid of the Hindus.

"We thought they were terrible coming with their turbans," said Mrs. Spencer. "We were afraid of them at first. But my dad said, "They have to make a living as the rest of us. We are foreigners, too."

"As children, we were afraid of them because they were great big men," Moberg added.

Chris Simonsen, who lived across from the bunkhouses, remembers as a child throwing snowballs at Hindus, trying to knock off their turbans, in about 1910.

He also said that men would pick fights with the Hindus when they came home from town on the last street car in the evening. "For the most part, however, the Astoria community considered the Hindus "vastly interesting, and peaceable." "The Hindus kept to themselves and didn't interfere with the whites," said Mrs. Spencer.

Agile Wrestlers

The Hindus were most known for their prowess and agility in wrestling, back in the days when wrestling was "real honest-to-goodness wrestling," in Bill Wootton's words.

They would hold wrestling bouts in Rosenberg Hall, about 11th and Exchange.

"They were light-heavyweight champions," Wootton said. "They used scientific holds and used their science and ability to get in and out of the holds."

Although many immigrant groups who came to the United States came because they would work for cheap wages, that was not true of the Hindus.

Helmer Lindstrom of 4374 Cedar, remembers that the Hindus "never undercut wages" - they would never agree to work for less than the other employees.

According to Peters, they worked 10 hours a day, six days a week for 128 a week - at least during the period after he arrived in 1916.

For a discussion of the Gadar first meeting in Astoria in April, 1913, click.

SOURCE: The Daily Astorian. Astoria, Oregon Centennial,
1873-1973 Edition. April 26, 1973: 9B.

Turbans: Filmed in Astoria, About Astoria
ASTORIA REVISITED And Autobiographical Note
By Ms..Kartar Dhillon
Hindus Uppertown
Journey To India By Ms.Kartar Dhillon

The Parrots Beak. By Ms.Kartar Dhillon

Witness to the Gadar Era . Interviews with Ms. Kartar Dhillon

Photographs of Kartar Dhillon's family


"On September 4, 1907, a mob of about 500 men assaulted boarding houses and mills, forcefully expelling Hindus from Bellingham (Washington)in what is now known as the Anti-Hindu Riot.

It began as an attack on two East Indian workers on C Street and turned into a rock-throwing lynching, to 'scare them so badly that they will not crowd white labour out of the mills.' The small police force was overpowered. The next day about 300 Hindus fled Bellingham in fear.

The press, some civic leaders and churches denounced the riots. Threats were later made to other groups, though no major riots occurred."

Picture Diagram: "This is the type of man driven from this city as the result of last night's demonstration by a mob of 300 men and boys." (5 o/clock extra, Sept. 5, 1907: p. 1&3)

"Driven From Town: ...recreation of an illustration that appeared in a local newspaper shortly after the Anti-Hindu Riot of Sept. 4, 1907. The day after the riot, about 300 Hindus fled Bellingham." (Source: Morning Reveille (Bellingham, Washington), January 27, 1999) SOURCE OF STORY: Bellingham Herald (January 27, 1999) Reprinted from: The Reveille & Chris Wolf

Asian American Curriculum And Research Project
Source Title / Description PDF Date
Public Disgrace, Bellingham Herald Editorial on riotchrono.html icon-web 9/5/1907
Hyatt, letter Business letter on riot from Bellingham Bay Co. Land Agent icon-web
Dens of Dirt, Bellingham Herald on East Indians and their antagonists including labor. icon-web 9/6/1907
Hindus have Left us, Bellingham Herald Departure of East Indians and reactions of citizens. icon-web
A.W. Mangum, letter Opinion on riot in private letter from soil scientist residing in Bellingham icon-web 9/8/1907
Denunciation hurled from pulpits, Bellingham Herald Sermons of ministers on the riot icon-web 9/9/1907
Rev. Wark, Bellingham Herald Clergyman’s column responding to the riot and need for toleration. icon-web 9/14/1907
Irwin, Collier's Bellingham riot story embedded in series on the Japanese on the Pacific Coast. icon-web 10/12/1907
— 100 years after riot coverage: our apology
— Sept. 2, 2007 - 1907 Bellingham mob forced East Indian workers from town
— Sept. 2, 2007 - City, county will mark 'day of healing' Tuesday
— Sept. 3, 2007 - 1907 Bellingham riot sparked other actions against immigrants
— Sept. 3, 2007 - New Sikh arrivals feel welcomed.
    Local temple members will mark 100th anniversary of Bellingham 'Hindu' riots
— Sept. 3, 2007 - Immigrants often face animosity, historians say

East Indians in the Northwest
Source Title / Description PDF Date
Scheffauer, The Forum “Tide of Turbans,” article on the wave of East Indian immigration. icon-web 1910
East Indians in Everett, WA     11/4/1907

Western Washington University
Paul Englesberg
Asian American Curriculum and Research Project
Western Washington University, MS 9090
Bellingham, WA 98225-9090
Phone (360) 650-2091
Email: [email protected]

Asian American Curriculum & Research Project

The Asian American Curriculum and Research Project, based at Western Washington University, provides instructional and resource materials for teachers and students, grades 4-12, on the experiences of immigrants from Asia and Asian Americans in the Pacific Northwest with a central focus on the incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry (Nikkei) during World War II. Through the collaboration of teachers, community members, scholars, museum educators, and archivists, and community organizations, the project will create materials for dissemination to schools throughout the state and the Pacific Northwest region.

home-photographs home-documents home-lessons
  • Coming Soon...
Western Washington University


OTHER ORIGINAL SOURCES FROM: Morning Reveille & The Evening American (Bellingham, Washington)

"Hindus are leaving city" (Sept. 6, 1907: p. 1&2)

"Hindus driven from the city" (Sept. 5, 1907: p. 1&2)

"Mob Raids Hindus & Drives Them From City" (Sept. 5, 1907: p. 1&3)


Hallberg, Gerald M. "Bellingham, Washington's Anti-Hindu Riot." Journal of the West. Vol(12)1: 163-75. 1973. (also reprinted in The Northwest Mosaic. edited by Halseth. J.A. Pruett Pub., Boulder, Colorado. 1977.pp. 140-155).


Vancouver, B.C. First Gurdwara (Temple) 1908

On January 19, 1908, the first Gurdwara Sahib in Canada was officially opened at 1866 West Second Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. Bhai Balwant Singh Ji was honored to be the first GRANTHI. The Gurdwara Sahib served the greater Vancouver Sikh community until a new Gurdwara was built and occupied on April 25, 1970 at a different site. The first Gurwara property was sold for $100,000 to build the bigger, present, Gurdwara. It was very unfortunate to lose the earlier historic Sikh monument. (Source: Khalasa Diwan Society, British Columbia)


Moving Hindu Colony to British Honduras?

The government of Canada hatched a conspiracy to please the Asiatic Exclusion League and to keep Canada white. The first step the government of Canada took was to pass "an order in council" on January 8, 1908, to ban the entry of Indians into Canada: "All immigrants seeking entry must come to Canada by continuous journey and through tickets from the country of their birth or nationality or citizenship." Now the government of Canada took the second step and suggested that Indians should voluntarily accept to leave Canada and settle in another British colony-- British Honduras. J.B. Harken, interior minister of the federal government, was authorized to make arrangements for all Indian residents of British Columbia to be sent to British Honduras. The meeting was arranged by William Hopkinson, who was born in India of an English father and a Punjabi mother. He knew a bit of Punjabi and could speak Urdu. Bhai Bhag Singh, president of the Khalsa Diwan Society and Bhai Balwant Singh, priest of the Sikh Temple, were approached by Hopkinson. They could not refuse meeting Harkin. Their meeting was held on October 18, 1908. They were forced to send a deputation of two Sikhs, Bhai Sham Singh and Bhai Nagar Singh, to British Honduras with Harkin and Hopkinson. The deputation reached British Honduras on October 25, 1908, and returned on November 7, 1908. In November a congregation was held at the Sikh temple. The temple was not only the place for worship, it was also the headquarters of the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim laborers. It was the residence and the feeding place for the sick and unemployment laborers from India. The hall of the temple was full. Bhai Sham Singh and Bhai Nagar Singh presented their report. The summary of the report is as follows: "The climate of Honduras is not sustainable. Monthly wages are much lower. Fresh water and milk are not available. Sea water is used for washing and bathing. Lots of mosquitoes, flies and many diseases. Labor is contractual. Some Indians working as contractual laborers are having a miserable life. We were asked to accept a bribe of $3,000 to make a report in favor of settling in British Honduras." The congregation passed a unanimous resolution refusing to go to British Honduras...The result was that on November 23, 1908. J.B. Harkin had to inform the government to the effect that the Sikh delegation was against sending any Sikhs to British Honduras. William Hopkinson did not cease his efforts and the government of British Honduras, Colonel E. John Swayne, was invited to British Columbia to convince Sikhs to go to British Honduras. Colonel Swayne had served in India and knew Punjabi and Urdu. He offered $20 a month and a pension of $10 a month after 10 years' service but still he could not find even one Indian willing to go to British Honduras. Later in December 1908 the government of Canada issued a statement that no Indian was to be sent to British Honduras by force. The question of sending Indians to British Honduras was closed forever.

Source: MEHFIL: The Magazine for Today's Indo-Canadian. December 1997, pages 29 and 76.

1909 THE AWAKENING OF THE SIKHS They refuse to wear medals and titles of slavery.

"The Sikh soldiery is known as the backbone of the British Empire in India. It is gratifying to know that the Sikhs are awakening to the sense that they are nothing better than slaves, and are serving the British Government to put our mother country in perpetual slavery. The religion of the Sikhs is to help the downtrodden and crush tyrants.

On October 3rd, 1909, a very interesting incident took place in Sikh theTemple of Vancouver, B.C., Canada. One Sardar Natha Singh stood up before the assembly and humbly pleaded for the deplorable condition of our countrymen in India and other parts of the world, especially in the British colonies. In conclusion he presented a resolution to the following effect:
"Resolved that no member of the Executive Committee of the Sikh Temple should wear any kind of medals, buttons, uniforms or insignia which may signify that the position of the party wearing the aritcle is nothing but a slave to the British supremacy."
"He clearly argued that the medals they wore signify that they fought for the British as mercenaries against the cause of our fellow-countrymen, or some free people. The medals acquired by serving in the British army ought to be regarded as medals for slavery. The audience solemnly and unanimously accepted the proposal. Sardar Gharib Singh, a member of the committee of the Sikh Temple, and formerly sepoy 2760 in the Fouteenth Sikh Regiment, who wentto China during the Boxer trouble and acquired a medal for chivalry, took off his medal and declared that he should not wear any medal or uniforn acknowledging supremacy of the British.

Later on Sardar Bhag Singh, the Secretary of the Khalsa Divan, who served the Tenth Bengal Lancer Regiment for over five years, made a bonfire with his certificate of honourable discharge. The above incidents are a few of the many genuine proofs of the awakening of the Sikhs. Coming in contact with free people and instituitions of free nations, some of the Sikhs, thought labourers in the North American Continent, have assimilated the idea of liberty and trampled the medals of slavery. There is in this a lesson for the so-called educated people of India and their moderate leaders."

Political Trouble in India, 1907-1917. By James Cambell Ker*. Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing, India1917, pp. 229-230. [*ofthe IndianCivil Service from 1907 to 1913 Personal Assistant to the Director of Criminal Intelligence]. Cover had been stamped "Confidential".

Holt, California

There were no organized societies of Sikhs in the United States until 1910. In 1911, Sardar Basakha Singh and Jawala Singh arranged for a meeting to take place in Holt, near Stockton, to form a Sikhs Unit. A committee was appointed to raise money for the construction of a temple.

First Sikh Prayer - Guru Granth

Stockton (California) Gurdwara, (Temple)

The land was purchased on South Grant Street in September, 1912. The small frame house already standing on this lot was used as a Gurdwara (temple). Guru Granth Sahib was installed and Gurdwara started in 1912. Also in 1912 the Sikh religious flag - Nishan Sahib hoisted for the first time. Baba Vasakha Singh and Baba Jawala Singh Thathian (Amritsar) were the first Granthies.

WRESTLING (March 1913)

"Dodan Singh the Hindu and Eddie O'Connell will not meet in a wrestling match here on the evening of March 28. The lid was suddenly clamped on the proposition yesterday when Sheriff Burns notified the manager of the Hindu that O'Connell would not be permitted to wrestle in this city. The sheriff takes this stand because he thinks that the Portland wrestler is not on the square and while he does not object to a good clean wrestling match, his faith in O'Connell appears to be exceedingly limited."

SOURCE: The Daily Astorian. Column: "Water Under the Bridge" compiled by Bonnie Oathes of March 16, 1988 dated 75 years ago.


"According to Bill Wootton, the Hindus were most known for their prowess and agility in wrestling, back in the days when wrestling was "real honest-to-goodness wrestling." They were light heavyweight champions. They used scientific holds and used their science and ability to get in and out of the holds."

SOURCE: The Daily Astorian. Oregon Centennial,1873-1973. April 26,1973. (p.913)

1913 Alien Land Law, State of California
This law, the first in California, prevented "aliens ineligible for citizenship" (Chinese and Japanese) from owning property in California. Though intended primarily to block Japanese immigrant farming. The law also afected immigrants from India.


April 23, 1913 - Gadar Party first meeting. First Revolt Against the British to Free India

The first meeting of the party was held on April 23, 1913 in Astoria, Oregon, (U.S.A.) The meeting was held in the Finnish Socialist Hall.

Astoria Oregon

Finnish Socialist Hall

(source of photos:

Finnish American Historical Society of the West. The Theater Finns. Walter Mattila, editor. Portland, Oregon. Finnish American Historical Society of the West. Publication v. 7, no. 2, 1972, p. 2 and 7.)

(source: Liisa Penner, curator, Clatsop County Historial Society).
According to writer Khuswant Singh, this was the first revolt against the British to free India. He also noted that "although nine out of ten of the rank and file of the Ghadar Party were Sikhs and the centres of their activities were Sikh temples, since most of them, were illiterate, most of the leaders were educated Hindus or Muslims. This saved the Ghadar from becoming a militant Sikh movement. In fact, it contributed - not a little - to make the Ghadar the most powerful terrorist movement in the history of India's freedom movement as well as the first one to rise above communal considerations."
(Source: Singh, Khuswant. GHADAR 1915. India's first armed revolution. New Delhi: R&K Publishing House, 1966)

May 23, 1914 Komagata Maru arrives in Vancouver, B.C.

July 23, 1914 Komagata Maru departs Vancouver, B.C. and returns to India.

Stockton. First Gurdwara Building

November 21, 1915 the first of two Gurdwara buildings was finished and dedicated on South Grant Street. Bhola Singh was the priest, Dharam Singh, President and B. S. Inder, Secretary. This original Stockton Temple - a two story wooden structure was the first Indian religious building in the United States. It was designed by W. B. Thomas of Stockton and built by A. J. McPhee for about $3,000. The original small house was not torn down, but has since been used by the residence of the Granthi. On the opening day one of the members, Nand Singh told the Stockton Record that

" the Gurdwara maintains a free dinner room in connection with its temple." He continued: We do not permit our people to become charges on public charityIf a man is hungry and out of funds we feed him. Our dining room is open at all hours of the day and is closed only for a few hours during the night. The unfortunate hungry American will be as welcome as our own people."


Dedication of Stockton Gurdwara

go go to for a transcript of the article which appeared in the Stockton Record for November 22, 1915, which reported on the dedication of the 1915 Temple.

The principal place of business of the Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan was in Berkeley until October 1, 1917, when its location was moved to Stockton.

NewsPaperClip1. NewsPaperClip2.

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1917 Asian Barred Zone and Literacy Test
This zone, created by Congress on February 5, 1917, extended the Chinese Exclusion Act to all other Asians (with the exception of citizens of the Philippines and Guam, who were under American jurisdiction). The act also imposed a literacy test on immigrants, so that only those who could already read and write English would be admitted. The act passed over the veto of President Woodrow Wilson.

Ottowa Plans to Recognize Paldi, Set Up Sikh Museum
By Kulvinder Kular
Under a major initiative planned by the federal government to further recognize the contribution of immigrant Sikhs in Canada, the first limber mill owned by the community at Paldi on Vancouver Island in the early 20th century will be declared as a national historic site so as to preserve it for posterity as a symbol of Canadian diversity and recognition of its rich heritage. Disclosing this, Minister of Canadian Heritage Sheila Copps told The Link that the Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal and she were working on this project and would be forwarding the application to the selection committee which is scheduled to meet in November next. And getting the approval from a committee of her department should not be a problem... According to records, the Mayo Lumber Mill at Paldi on the Island was set up in 1918 with Mayo Singh and Duman Singh, both hailing from Paldi village in Punjab^s Hoshiapur district, as major shareholders. It had Indian immigrants as workers. The mill was gutted in 1934 but was restarted by Mayo Singh the following year when another shareholder Kapoor Singh parted the company to set up his own sawmill. According to Sheila Copps, Ottowa came out with its special historic sites program two years ago and had already issued a stamp to mark the arrival Sikhs in Canada. Explaining the objective behind this, she said the global thinking has drastically changed at the onset of the 21st century.Some people are fighting for protecting the biodiversity of animal species. To me it is more important to save human diversity. We are losing two languages around the world every month. This should not be happening...

The Link Newspaper Saturday July 28, 2001
Additional Information: Paldi Remembered - 50 Years in the Life of a Vancouver Island Logging Town by John Mayo 1931-., Publisher: Duncan, B.C.:Paldi History Committee, c.1997 (1998 printing)


Hazing of Hindu Students [unwind turbans]

"Seniors Rescue Hindus from U.C. Hazing Crowd
Fight Comes When Effort Made by Sophomores to Unwind Turbans"

"Berkely, August 15 [1921] - Members of the sophomore class of the University of Claifornia who engaged today in upholding the tradition of the university anent the hazing of freshmen, faced a real problem this afternoon in the form of three Hindu scholars. The three were captured and lined up for hazing, after which a consultation of sophomores was held.

Finally it was decided to make them take off their shoes and wade in chemistry pond, explaining to them that they were "bathing their feet turbans to solve the mystery of whin the university's sacred pool." Then it was decided to unwind theirat might be underneath. To this, however, the Hindus objected and showed fight. The three finally freed themselves from their captors and ran frantically for the president's office with the intention of calling the office of the British consulate at San Francisco for protection. But they were overhauled by members of the senior class, who restored the peace.
The three are said to be graduates of Oxford University and are here to take post-graduate work."
San Francisco Chronicle 8/16/21 6:2

The Pahkar Singh Murders: A Punjabi Response to California's Alien Land Law
The year after the Alien Land Law took effect, a dramatic murder case in the Imperial Valley illustrated the difficulties this law posed for Punjabi and other Asian farmers. Headlines of 2 April 1925 announced "Hindu Murders 2 in Rage -- Attacks 3rd." The article told of how a fortune in lettuce grown by Pahkar Singh on a field he had leased by verbal agreement had been taken from him by two Anglo agents of a shipping company.
Karen Leonard.. Amerasia.
11:1 (1984): 75-87.


New Gurdwara

In 1929 a new Gurdwara was built on the enlarged foundation of the old building. The old wooden building was moved to a place near the small frame house. The new brick structure was built at the cost of $35,000. It was dedicated on January 7, 1930.

Sources: Stockton Record, Nov. 22, 1915, p.5; Stockton Record, Aug. 3, 1915,p.4;Stockton Record, Dec. 3, 1932, p.16;Wood in Bibliography;Walker in bibliography; Harbhajan S. Shergill, Lodi, California, Personal communication

 1946 Luce-Cellar Act
In this act, passed on July 2, 1946, the right to become naturalized ciziens was extended to Filipinos and Asian Indians. The immigration quota was set at 100 people per year.

1948 El Centro (California) Gurdwara estalished.

El Centro Gurdwara was established in 1948. It had originally been a Japanese temple. World War II dealt a death blow to the Japanese community in the Imperial Valley, and shortly after the war the community leaders decided to sell the temple. The Sikh community bought the temple from the Japense and converted it into a Gurdwara. The buying price, according to an informant, was 18,000 dollars. The framehouse had been used as a kitchen and dining hall also on these occasions until 1954, when a large dining hall was built at a cost of about 18,000 dollars.

Source: Chakravorti, Robindra Chandra. The Sikhs of El Centro: a social integration. Dissertation: University of Minnesota, 1968.


Dalip Singh Saund elected member of Congress.

Dalip Singh Saund was elected a member of the Congress from the 29th Congressional District in California in 1956, "the first Democrat to be elected from his district of Westmorland, California, and the first person of Asian extraction ever elected to Congress in the history of the United States." Saund, who had come to the United States as a student, received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1924, but he could not get himself a job commensurate with this academic degree because of the prejudice and discrimination against Asians in California prevalent at the time. He wrote:

"I was aware of the considerable prejudice against the people of Asia in California and knew that few opportunities existed for me or people of my nationality in the state at the time. I was not a citizen and could not become one. The only way Indians in California could make a living was to join with others who had settled in various parts of the state as farmers. I had met a few Indians from Imperial Valley who had done very well, and so in the summer of 1925 I decided to go to the southern California desert valley and make my living as a farmer."

[Saund, D.S., Congressman from India (New York: E.P. Dutton & co., 1960) p45]

For the text of Congressman Saund's biography and photo, go to Dalip S. Saund, The First Asian in U.S. Congress.

For more articles on Dalip S. Saund click on article of interest:

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Dr. Bruce LaBrack's Study of South Asian Immigrants

The pattern of immigration from South Asian countries has changed since 1965. For example, where once Sikh immigration predominated from India before that year, immigration from other parts of India became more widespread and settlement more diverse to countries of destination. As Dr. Labrack (1) observed in his work, "South Asians", in Our Cultural Heritage: A Guide to America's Principal Ethnic Groups. Greenwood Press, 1997, pp. (with permission)-- For a full account and bibliography go togo

(1)Dr.Bruce LaBrack is Professor of Anthropology, School of International Studies,University of the Pacific, Stockton, California.



First turbaned Sikh elected to Canadian Parliament

Gurbax Singh Malhi   

under constructionUnder construction

Gurbax Singh Malhi is the first turbaned Sikh elected to Canada's House of Commons/Chambre des Communes, Ottawa, continuously since 1993. He was re-elected for a new term in 2001. Biography  right_arrow

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(by Richard Springer: India-West Staff Reporter). (Reproduced with permission of publishers of India-West.)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Silicon Valley entrepreneur Kanwal Rekhi has made a $1 million donation for this year and has pledged to donate $1 million dollars for each of the next four years to the Santa Clara, Calif. -based Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit organization that assists disadvantaged students in India.

Rekhi, whose family fled Pakistan and settled in Kanpur after Partition, told India-West Jan. 21 that he has imposed only one condition for his bequest, in the form of stock and worth $5 million over five years.

"I want the focus to be on education of girls. That's how you can leverage education for the whole family," said Rekhi, the current president of The IndUS Entrepreneur.

"If you educate a boy, you have educated a person. If you educate a girl, you educate a family down the road."

FFE was founded in 1994 by private venture capitalist and entrepreneur Prabhu Goel and his wife, Poonam.

Goel was the founder of Gateway Design Automation, which was acquired by Cadence Design Systems in 1989 for about $80 million.

Until Rekhi's contribution, the Goels have been the "only source of funding" for the foundation, FFE president Venktesh Shukla told India-West.

"We have never done any fundraisers and are all volunteers," he said, adding that all funds contributed by the Goels have gone entirely to students, in contrast to the situation at some other nonprofit groups where fundraising and administrative costs eat up as much as 70 percent of donations.

Shukla, the founder and chief executive officer of Everypath, a company in the business of developing solutions for wireless access to the Internet, said that FFE has awarded about 1,800 scholarships totaling about $800,000.

The Goels have agreed to donate up to $10 million, which is being made available "as soon as we need the money," Shukla said.

Rekhi's gift, by contrast, "will allow us to scale up," he said. "The sheer magnitude of this donation enables the foundation to think differently about the scope of its activities," he said.

"So far we had been content to grow the number of scholarships awarded by the usual 100-200 percent every year. We considered ourselves successful in our mission as we scaled up to grant more than 1,000 scholarships last year to deserving students in India," he said.

"The availability of this much money up front challenges us to expand our program much more aggressively. We welcome this challenge." Shukla said that the group will seek to establish an administrative office in Mumbai and possibly set up "regional offices" where volunters can be recruited. The India offices would then handle the paperwork and initial screening process of applicants, with the final awards being made by the Santa Clara-based parent group.

"We will also invest more in information technology and in developing a system to minimize the exchanging of pieces of paper between here and India," he said.

One thing that will remain the same is the focus on changing the future for talented and needy students in India. Many of the FFE recipients are now in Indian medical and engineering schools.

"As a businessman," said Goel, "I wanted to do something that had leverage. These students who complete degrees in medicine or engineering have a bigger impact on the environment from which they came than if they only completed high school."

Added Rekhi, "I wanted to do something to educate the poorest who don't have a chance to go to college without assistance and I wanted to support the foundation because there is a lot of volunteer support from the parents in the community."

Rekhi, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, received his master's in engineering from Michigan Technology University.

He co-founded Excelan, which made add-on boards to connect desktop computers into local area networks. The company merged in 1989 with Novell, where Rekhi served as executive vice president and chief technology officer until he became a major venture capital investor, board member and mentor for start-up companies including Exodus Communications, CyberMedia, Xpede and many others.

For more information contact: Foundation For Excellence, 3065 Democracy Way, Santa Clara, CA 95054, tel: (408) 748-1771.


A Continuous Journey

In the fall of 1996 the Sutter Community Museum presented an exhibit A Continuous Journey commemorating Punjabi settlement in California. The text which follows was originally part of that exhibit. We appreciate the Museum allowing us to present those texts here. For a full account go togo

Founding of First Sikh Preschool in Northern California

Khalsa school ceremony

Bee photograph    Chris Crewell

Darshan Singh signals the end of religious ceremonies dedicating the Guru Ram Das Khalsa preschool. The new school is the first Sikh school in Northern California.

Sacramento Bee, March 9, 1998, Section B, 1 (with permission)

Khalsa school parents at opening

Bee photograph/Chris Crewell

Harpeet Bains of Yuba City, left, holds son Barron, 3, while Diljit Bains, center, and Nina Gill talk Sunday after a 72-hour prayer to bring good luck to the new Guru Ram Das Khalsa preschool in Yuba City.

Sacramento Bee, March 9, 1998, Section B, 1 (with permission) by Peter Hecht, Bee Staff Writer.


Sikhs Come Together to Celebrate Opening of Yuba City School

Yuba City - For members of the Sikh religious community in Sutter County and across the Sacramento region, the Guru Ram Das Khalsa preschool was a long held dream.

For years, many in the 10,000-member Sikh community had talked about opening a school to provide a multicultural education for their children, who were quickly assimilating into American society without learning the language, culture and history of their ancestors.

On Sunday, scores of Sikhs gathered to celebrate the opening of the first Sikh school in Northern California.

The Guru Ram Das Khalsa school, opened in converted offices at the Sikh Temples in Yuba City, will start as a preschool for children for ages 3 to 5. It will eventually expand to serve children in kindergarten through the third grade.

The church is building a permanent school on Lincoln Road in Yuba City.

"More than anything, we saw that with each generation, our youth was losing touch with their culture," said Diljit Bains, a real estate developer in the Yuba-Sutter region and a member of the board of trustees for the new school. "I think that culture needs to be put back into the schools to maintain it. "

On Sunday, as some the first 30 preschoolers excitedly cavorted on the playground, the proud adults dined on potato samosas, a carrot dessert and eggless cake.

For 72 straight hours prior to the celebration, members of the Sikh community had honored the school by praying in alternating shifts-reading from the Guru Granth Sahib, the 1,430-page collection of writing from Sikh holy masters.

Dr. Jasbir Kang, a Yuba City physician and another member of the school's board of trustees, said he is pleased that many of the children will be able to learn the native language-Punjabi-of their India-born parents. But he also said the school will have both Sikh and non-Sikh teachers to give pupils a multicultural experience.

"To be successful in America, you have to have a secular perspective-and at the same time be aware of your own religion and culture," Kang said. "We are not trying to isolate ourselves. We are adding to the beauty of ourselves. We are adding to the beauty of America. These kids are going to pick up the good from both cultures."

Source: Sacramento Bee Monday 3/9/1998 B1, B3, Col.1 (with permission)



One Hundred Years of Immigration to Canada    

Released April 19, 1999 by Canada Post, the new 46 cent stamp features a double-edged sword, a circle and two daggers in bright gold against a blue background representing the Khanda, which is to Sikhs what the cross represents to Christians and the Star of David to Jews.

Khanda is a metaphor of divine knowledge, its sharp edges cleaving truth from falsehood. Encircling the sword is the Chakra. Symbolizing God, it is a ring - a shape without beginning or end.

Designed by Stacy Zabolotney, the stamp is to commemorate 100 years of Sikhs in Canada. It was officially launched by Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada, Post chairman Andre Ouellet and Revenue Minister Harbans Singh Dhaliwal.

Mr. Dhaliwal said that "for 100 years, Sikhs have been an integral thread in Canada's mosaic. Their dream, my dream, has been to get the recognition they deserve for the the contribution they have made to building Canada. Well, it happened. Only in Canada, eh?"

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Feb. 21,2000 - It was a big day for Punjabis. One of them, Mr. Ujjal Dosanjh today became the Premier of British Columbia, a prosperous and important state [i.e. Province] of Canada.


There was thunderous applause when the results were announced. Mr. Dosanjh was present along with his wife Raminder Kaur Dosanjh, and three sons, Pavel, Assem and Ambar, to receive the standing ovation. Mr. Dosanjh told the delegates that the election of a once immigrant worker to such a high place showed the committment of the Canadian people.

He talked about his Punjabi background, the role of Ghaddarite freedom fighters and other political forces committed to social justice and human welfare. He promised to uphold these traditions.

Mr. Dosanjh will be sworn in as Prime Minister [i.e. Premier] by the Governor [i.e. Lieutenant Governor], Mr. G Gadown, in Victoria on Wednesday. Five days later he will announce his Cabinet.

From Komagata Maru
to Premier

Born in Dosanj Kalan village of Jalandhar district, Mr.Dosanjh belongs to a family of freedom fighters. Mr. Dosanjh, the first Indian to become a Premier of any Canadian state [i.e. Province], said: "My victory is a tribute to the freedom fighters of the Kamagata Maru. They set the pattern for us to fight for freedom and democracy. We salute all freedom fighters and those who cherish social and human values."

Asked how he felt as once he was an immigrant worker and how should people in India and Punjab in particular, think about his victory, Mr. Dosanjh said: "I remember my maternal grand father in Bahwa village of Hoshiarpur. He would take us on a wooden cart and tell us stories about Kamagatu Maru, the gurdwara reform movement and about Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru of the freedom movement. Something went deep and influenced my thinking. When I came to Canada after spending sometime in England, I worked hard to earn a living and then became a lawyer, I was always busy in the trade union movement and later the New Democratic Party. Our committment is to social democracy. I salute the country of my origin and my Punjab and the people."

"I migrated at the age of 17, but have never forgotten my roots. I have visited Punjab repeatedly and have tried to set up joint ventures with the help of my colleagues. I look forward to doing something tangible for Punjab. We can help in setting up joint ventures in several areas," he added.

Mr. Dosanjh said it was true that the first committment was to Canada and British Columbia, but India was there in his heart. "We strongly believe in the unity and prosperity of India, a modern secular democratic India committed to the welfare of its people. We want to see the land of our origin prosperous and any help would be an honour," he said.

Mr. Dosanjh is the 34th Prime Minister [i.e. Premier] of British Columbia, the state [Province] born in 1871. His wife Mrs. Raminder Kaur Dosanjh is working and his three sons are studying in universities. The entire family was there to recieve the applause after his election as leader of the New Democratic party.

SOURCE:Tribune India. Online editors. Feb. 22, 2000.

Immigration from India to the U.S. from 1820 to 2000

Number of Immigrants
1821 - 1830
1831 - 1840
1841 - 1850
1851 - 1860
1861 - 1870
1871 - 1880
1881 - 1890
1891 - 1900
1901 - 1910
1911 - 1920
1921 - 1930
1931 - 1940
1941 - 1950
1951 - 1960
1961 - 1970
1971 - 1980
1981 - 1990
1991 - 2000

India-born Population in U.S. Exceeds One Million
India-West, February 15, 2002. pg. A1

1. U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Annual Report, 2000 (Washington D.C., 2000). Pp. 7-9
2. India-West. Vol. 27 n.15. February 15, 2002. Los Angeles, CA. pp. A1,A42

2000 Population Census

Steps for how to access: 'Census 2000 Data for the State of California' for Asian-Indian population

1. Go to the following web address: *SEE BELOW

2. Underneath the 'Demographic Profile' table, click on the PDF version of the 'Profiles of General Demographic Characteristics: California'

3. To the left of the computer screen, you will see a list of cities and counties. Click on the city or county of your choice.

4. Under the first Subject column, scroll down to the second subject which is Race.

5. Under the title Asian, you will see the subtitle Asian Indian. Next to that you will see the population number.

*For step number one, if you would like the census information for a different state, other than California, go to the last part of the address 'ca.html,' and change 'ca' to the two-letter initial of the state of your choice.

click to enlarge
photo taken by T.S. Sibia 8/22/02
click to enlarge
photo taken by T.S. Sibia 8/22/02
Prime Minister gave Abbotsford Sikh Temple heritage status
     Official heritage designation for the old Abbotsford Sikh Temple on South Fraser Way was conferred on July 31, 2002..
    Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps and B.C. MP were on hand at the old temple on South Fraser Way for the long-awaited heritage announcement.
    Built in 1911 by Indo-Canadians who worked at Abbotsford Lumber Company, the wood-frame structure was the second such structure built on the continent, city councillors were told when asked to support heritage designation. Ceremonies began at 1p.m.
    "We're very excited about it," Sangha said when the announcement was made last week.
    "We expect about a thousand people."
    The temple will be restored to its original condition, with a museum of Sikh history in the lower floor. The upper floor will be retained as a place of worship.
    The Canadian Prime Minister J-C designated Guru Nanak Gurdwara as a historic on Wednesday July 31st. This or the function was attended by Heritage Minister Sheila Copps and B.C. Liberal MP Herb Dhaliwal and about 3 Sikhs of British Columbia.

First Indian in the US Army killed in Iraq

Lt. General James Campbell attened funeral in Chandigarh

US Salutes Son of India:

Sikhs remember first Indian to die in Iraq:

U.S. Army Specialist Uday SIngh, a Sikh AMerican SOldier from Lake Forst Illinois, Died During Combat in Iraq:

2004 "Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab"

      The new exhibition "Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab" opens on July 24, 2004, at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition introduces visitors to the cultural and artistic history of the Sikhs. It presents Sikh artwork and artifacts produced from the eighteenth century to the present, including miniature paintings, armor and weaponry, traditional textiles and dress, coins, musical instruments, jewelry, sacred texts, and modern works of art. It also includes a scale model of the Darbar Sahib (so-called "Golden Temple"), a Sikh sacred space at Amritsar, India. Many of these objects are on loan from private collections and will be exhibited for the first time. This exhibition is organized by the Museum's Sikh Heritage Project, a research and outreach component of the Asian Cultural History Program, Department of Anthropology.

Exhibit Photos | Exhibit Slideshow

"Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab" at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, July 24, 2004

2004 "White House marks 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib"

Washington, August 20
Spiritually uplifting cries of ғBole So Nihal-Sat Sri Akal'' rented the White House as it marked 400th anniversary of the Guru Granth Sahib, the first Sikh event it celebrated in 100 years.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson welcomed the Sikhs by saying 'Bole So Nihal'' as the guests responded to the greeting with a loud 'Sat Sri Akal.

You have strengthened the USA and we can count on you to play an important role in making this country strong. Your religion was founded to bring justice, to defend the weak and oppose tyranny, Mr Thompson added.

'I congratulate you on the 400th anniversary of the Guru Granth Sahib on behalf of President Bush who has high regards for your community,'' A Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) statement quoted President George W. Bush's cabinet member Thompson as telling the community members on Wednesday.

Before attending a meeting with administration officials, Sikh religious and community leaders watch as President George W. Bush departs from the White House aboard Marine One on Wednesday.

Ten Sikhs were also invited by the White House in the morning to be present while President Bush was to leave for Minnesota for an election meeting.

President Bush waved at the Sikhs and greeted them with a thumbs up, a council member said.

A picture of the Sikhs waiving while President Bush's helicopter was leaving has been posted at the official website of the White House.

A commemorative coin depicting the White House on one side and the handwriting of Guru Arjan Dev, the compiler of the Sikh scripture, on the other was released and presented to Mr Thompson by Prof Darshan Singh.

A special booklet was also released describing the history and the message of the Sikh scripture and which traced the 100-year-old history of the Sikhs in the USA. UNI

Source: Tribune India 8/31/04.


Sikhs visiting the White House.
(Picture courtesy of Dr. J. S. Kang)

Official coin of the 400th Anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib
(Coin courtesy of Dr. J. S. Kang)
Translated in English on larger image

2004 Second Indian-American Elected to Congress


November 2, 2004

Bobby Jindal(R-Louisiana)
U.S. House of Representatives, Louisiana 1st Congressional District WON
with 78.3% (217,719) of the vote

Swati Dandekar (D-Iowa)
Iowa House of Representatives, District 36
WON with 54.4% (9,772) of the vote

Nikki Randhawa-Haley (R-South Carolina)
South Carolina House of Representatives, District 87
WON with 98.9% (14,420) of the vote

Shinku Sharma(Calif.)
Board Member, Saratoga Union School District (Santa Clara County) WON
with 25.5% (1,895) of the vote

Jagrup Sidhu(Calif.)
Council Member, Kerman City Council (Fresno County)
WON with 41.4% (937) of the vote

Harry Sidhu (Calif.)
Council Member, Anaheim City Council (Orange County)
WON with 18.3% (17,846) of the vote

Mital Gandhi(DC)
Advisory Neighborhood Commission of Northwest Washington
WON with 59.3% (303) of the vote

Rajendra Ratnesar(Calif.)
Member, Board of Directors, Eden Township Health Care District (Alameda County)
WON with 35.8% (35,794) of the vote

Sylvester Fernandez (R-New Jersey)
U.S. House of Representatives, New Jersey 6th Congressional District
Lost with 31.0% (69,389) of the vote

Jay Rao(R-North Carolina)
North Carolina Secretary of State
Lost with 42.9% (1,327,265) of the vote

Brian Jayakumar(D-New York)
New York State Senate, District 47
Lost with 31.5% (29,762) of the vote

Sid Das (D-New Hampshire)
New Hampshire House of Representatives, District 27 (Hillsboro County)
Lost with 2.6% (5,204) of the vote

Rano Singh(D-Arizona)
Arizona House of Representatives, District 6
Lost with 26.3% (19,195) of the vote (98.3% of Precincts Reporting)

Eduardo Bhatia (PPD-Puerto Rico)
Mayor of San Juan
Lost with 46.3% (89,916) of the vote

Lakhvir S. Ghag(Calif.)
Council Member, Live Oak City Council (Sutter County)
Lost with 23.5% (478) of the vote

Kash Gill (Calif.)
Council Member, City Council of Yuba City (Sutter County)
Lost with 17.4% (4,421) of the vote

George James(R- New Jersey)
Council Member, Borough of Westwood Council
Lost with 24.3% (2,245) of the vote (96% of Vote Reporting)

Gyan Kalwani(Calif.)
Council Member, Elk Grove City Council, District 5 (Sacramento County)
Lost with 12.9% (3,494) of the vote

Sheela Kini (Calif.)
Supervisor, County of San Francisco, District 7
Lost with 1.1% (249) of the vote

Deepka Lalwani(Calif.)
Council Member, Milpitas City Council (Santa Clara County)
Lost with 18.7% (3,429) of the vote

Tej Maan (Calif.)
Council Member, City Council of Yuba City (Sutter County)
Lost with 6.8% (1,730) of the vote

Narinder K. Mann(Calif.)
Council Member, Kerman City Council (Fresno County)
Lost with 22.4% (507) of the vote

Atul Mitra (Calif.)
Board Member, New Haven Unified School District (Alameda County) Lost
with 16.7% (5,452) of the vote

Jay R. Shah (Calif.)
Supervisor, County of San Francisco, District 2
Lost with 4.0% (1,020) of the vote

Shantu Shah (Oregon)
Board of Director (Position 1), of the Proposed Washington County Public
Utility District Lost with 13.2% (33,720) of the vote

Rakesh Sharma (Calif.)
Council Member, Fremont City Council (Alameda County)
Lost with 13.5% (11,263) of the vote

Paul Reuben Singh(Calif.)
Council Member, Live Oak City Council (Sutter County)
Lost with 16.2% (330) of the vote

* Election results are courtesy of the Indian American Leadership Initiative (IALI) and the Indian American Center for Political Awareness (IACPA)

(Source: Bicky Singh. November 2004.)

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