Punjabi American Heritage Society launches book celebrating the journey Pioneer Punjabis of CA


A book recounting the trials, tribulations and success stories of the Punjabi immigrants who were the first to immigrate to California was launched recently by the Punjabi American Heritage Society in a book release reception at The California State Library and Courts building.

The book release event on January 23 was co-hosted by Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), who was joined by several other Assemblymembers including Dr. Jasmeet Bains (D-Delano), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), and Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) and Dr. Jasbir Singh, the co-founder of the Punjabi American Heritage Society and the Punjabi American Festival.

Dr. Bains, the first woman of Indian origin and first Indian American woman Assemblymember said, “The importance of sharing Punjabi Sikh stories cannot be understated. The history of Sikhs in California is one of sacrifice, determination, and perseverance that resonates to this day. I am incredibly proud to be the first Sikh American elected to the State Legislature and thank the Punjabi American Heritage Society for their work in amplifying our stories.”

Dr. Kang based in Yuba City, sharing his thoughts about the book told indica, “This book will preserve the history of pioneers and their struggles.”

He added, “This book will promote better understanding with fellow Americans. Punjabis were the first group from the Indian subcontinent to migrate to USA. Though people from India mostly Sikhs) started coming to USA in 1880’s but it was not until 1946 people of Indian origin were allowed citizenship rights in USA.”
“It was a Sikh man, Dr. Bhagat S Thind who fought for citizenship rights all the way to US Supreme Court,” Dr. Kang said. “Struggles by many Punjabi Americans opened the doors for other South Asians, who followed in their foot steps. Now Punjabis and other Asian Indians are amongst  the most successful Americans.”
Thanking the author Lea Turhune for writing this book, Dr.Kang says the book focuses mainly on Northern California pioneers but it will inspire others to take on this project to the next level.

The book, “California’s Pioneer Punjabis: An American Story”, written by Lea Terhune, recounts the struggles and achievements of the Punjabi immigrants who arrived in California at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. These immigrants labored in farms, fields, and orchards, dealing with low wages and racial discrimination, but still managed to put down roots in their new home.

The book also highlights the current contributions of ethnic South Asians in every trade and profession in the United States. Descendants of the first Punjabi Sikh immigrants from Yuba City to the Imperial Valley continue to farm and add to the rich tapestry of the Central Valley.

Assemblyman Gallagher and other members of the California State Assembly praised the book, for shedding light on the important contributions of Sikh immigrants from Punjab in California’s history and present-day society.

Gallagher said, “I feel a personal connection to the Punjabi Sikh community in the Yuba-Sutter area and this book truly resonates with me. It highlights the contributions and sacrifices made by the Punjabi immigrant community in California. It was an honor to be a part of this event and celebrate their legacy.”

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