June 24, 2010 02:53 AM EDT
© 2010 by Navneet Thind
A reenactment of the case U.S. vs. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) where Thind, an Asian-Indian was denied citizenship due to not being a “free, white man” is occurring on Saturday June 26, 2010 at 2:15 P.M. at the Harvard school of Law. If you are interested in attending or acquiring more information regarding this issue, please visit the Institute for Race and Justice webpage. On this day, a grave injustice will be put to rest, where the outcome of the trial will go differently and Thind will be granted U.S. citizenship. Sadly, Bhagat S. Thind passed away in 1967 so he will not be able to witness this event. However, this will be a very auspicious occasion for his family, Asian Indians, and Sikhs.
Bhagat Singh Thind, b. 1892 was a Punjabi Sikh man who originally (and legally) immigrated to the U.S. in 1913 from India to obtain higher education. He inevitably acquired his Ph.D and taught lessons in metaphysics; Dr. Thind was inspired by different religious scriptures as well as Emmerson, Whitman, and Thoreau. He was also recruited by the U.S. government to serve in the military during World War I in 1918. Dr. Thind initially applied for citizenship in the state of Washington after he was honorably discharged from the military. Thind’s request was granted, however his citizenship was was revoked four days later on the basis that he was not a “white” man. How is it fair that a man was considered fit enough to fight in a war for the United States, but was not “white” enough to be considered a citizen? Sounds hypocritical and unfortunate to me.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/history-of-sikhism/31156-reenactment-u-s-vs-bhagat-singh.htmlReference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=31156
Thind’s initial revocation of citizenship did not leave him discouraged or disheartened–he decided to try again. Six months later, Dr. Thind again applied for citizenship–this time in Oregon. This time, Thind’s request for citizenship was approved, however, the Immigration and Naturalization Service appealed the judge’s decision and took the case to the Supreme Court. Here, the Supreme Court unanimously decided to repeal Thind’s citizenship on the basis that he was again, not a “free, white man.” Thind argued that Asian Indians were Caucasian and were descended from Aryans. However, the Supreme Court disregarded this argument because Thind was not a “white” Caucasian man; here, they decreed that Caucasian and “white” were not synonymous as many of us believe nowdays.
Therefore, Dr. Thind’s citizenship was revoked AGAIN for the second time.
More than a decade later, in 1935 a law was passed where all World War I Veterans were granted citizenship. Due to this stipulation, Bhagat Singh Thind finally qualified to be a U.S. citizen. Dr. Thind was finally able to gain status as a U.S. citizen due to his World War I Veteran qualification.
Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind was married to Mrs. Vivian Thind and is survived by his children David and Rosalind. His occupation and passion was lecturing on: religion, spirituality, and philosophy (among many other things). He wrote a number of works that delineated his philosophy. More information on Dr. Thind’s life can be found on his website.
As a Sikh, Asian Indian, AND American, the reenactment of Dr. Bhagat Singh Thind’s case will be a very important to me. On this day, a strong and brave man will be recognized, and a moral wrong, rectified. Reenactment of U.S. vs. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) on June 26: A Racial Injustice Rectified | World Sikh Organization of Canada