Thind, Bhagat  Singh
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Time Period
10/3/1892  - 9/15/1967
Born in Punjab, Bhagat Singh Thind (1892-1967) came to America in 1913 and began studying at the University of California, Berkeley, the next year. During World War I, he joined the U.S. Army. The turban-wearing Sikh was often mistaken for a Hindu.

In 1920, Thind filed for U.S. citizenship, beginning a landmark legal battle that ended in the Supreme Court. In 1923, justices denied his case, ruling that Asian Indians were "aliens ineligible for citizenship."

The dampening effects of that decision were felt for decades. Although Congress passed a law allowing a path to citizenship in 1946, it took another two decades and the passage of new immigration laws for immigrants from India to arrive in earnest.

Thind, meanwhile, remained in the U.S., got his doctorate and became a popular speaker and author on spirituality and metaphysics, incorporating his Sikh philosophy with contemporary thought and other religions.
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
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Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
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Bhagat Singh Thind in US Army uniform- Wikimedia Commons
Web Source(s)
PBS, "Roots in the Sand, Bhagat Sing Thind"
Dr. Bhagat Sing Thind website
History Matters (Created by the American Social History Project), "Not All Caucasians Are White: The Supreme Court Rejects Citizenship for Asian Indians"
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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