Dr. Amarjit S. Marwah has received the Bhagat Singh Thind
Community Empowerment Award this year. Marwah is widely
known for his service and leadership to the Sikh community.
Whether it was establishing the first Gurdwara in Southern
California, working with public service organizations like
the Rotary Club, or supporting disadvantaged individuals
in South Asia, he has demonstrated the Sikh spirit of seva
Additionally, Dr. Marwah has a remarkable life story that
allows him great perspective of Sikh American history as
he served as a campaign manager of Dr. Dalip Singh Saund’s
successful US Congress election campaign in 1957, and his
decades of engagement with civic and political leaders in
America have positively shaped the landscape for Sikh Americans
across the country. In addition to his many professional
accolades, Dr. Marwah has served on the board of the Los
Angeles World Affairs Council, chaired the Hollywood Arts
Commission and the Los Angeles/Mumbai (Bombay) Sister Cities,
and was president of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission.
2010 Bhagat Singh Thind Community Empowerment Award has
been awarded to K.P.Singh. An active member of the Indianapolis
community since 1967, Mr. Singh is an accomplished advocate
and supporter of historic preservation, cultural diversity,
and the importance of arts to life and human spirit.
For his contributions he most recently received the Sarah Lewis Lifetime Achievement award from the United Way of Indiana. Mr. Singh is an accomplished artist, writer, and speaker.
as the Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force (SMART) in
1996, SALDEF is a national non-profit civil rights and educational
organization. They empower Sikh Americans through legal
assistance, educational outreach, legislative advocacy,
and media relations. Each year the Bhagat Singh Thind Community
Empowerment Award recognizes a deserving American Sikh that
has contributed to the Sikh spirit and tradition of selfless
Bhagat Singh Community Empowerment Award recognizes contributions
by a Sikh in keeping with the Sikh spirit and tradition
of seva (selfless service). American soldier, scholar, and
award is named in honor of Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind (1892
- 1967), a pioneering Sikh.
Dr. Thind was born in Punjab and came to America in 1913.
A year later, he was paying his way through the University
of California at Berkeley by working in an Oregon lumber
mill during summer vacations. When America entered World
War I, he joined the US Army. He was honorably discharged
in 1918 and in 1920 applied for US citizenship from the
state of Oregon. Since several applicants from India had
thus far been granted US citizenship, Dr. Thind was also
approved by the district court. A naturalization examiner,
however, appealed this court's decision and his case eventually
made it up to the US Supreme Court.
America's highest court denied his petition in a landmark
ruling declaring him a "nonwhite Caucasian", ineligible
for citizenship (United States vs. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261
US 204). Ironically, Dr. Thind applied for and received
US citizenship through the state of New York within a few
years of being turned down by the US Supreme Court.
Thind remained in the US, completed his PhD, and authored
15 books on various subjects. He delivered lectures on metaphysics
across the nation basing his lessons on Sikh philosophy.
Dr. Thind enriched his teaching with references to the scripture
of several religions and the work of Emerson, Whitman, and
Thoreau. He also campaigned actively for the independence
of India from the British Empire.
the SALDEF website.
Bhagat Singh Thind Community Empowerment Award
Sardar Ujagar Singh
Director, Camp Chardi Kala
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SALDEF Celebrates Achievements of Sikh Americans and Civil Rights Leaders at 2007 Civil Rights Awards Banquet
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