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Guide to the South Asian Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Acquisition Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: South Asian collection
    Dates: 1967-2004
    Bulk Dates: 1971-1977
    Collection number: MSS-2004-05-01
    Collector: Lin, Sharat G.
    Collection Size: 2 Boxes 1.75 linear feet
    Repository: San Jose State University. Library.
    San Jose, California 95192-0028
    Abstract: The South Asian Collection documents non-resident South Asian political and cultural organizations in North America and abroad, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1971-2004. The collection consists of pamphlets, press releases, and open letters that related to the cultural and political activities of several South Asian organizations. The collection also contains documents from non-South Asian activist organizations operating in the Bay Area during this period, including underground radical groups and University of California at Santa Cruz student organizations.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jose State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    South Asian collection, MSS-2004-05-01, San Jose State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing Information

    Encoded by Sjuli Senn van Basel Wagemans. Revised by Veronica Cabrera.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift from Sharat G. Lin, 2004.


    The nations of South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, have been a source of immigrant labor to the United States since the eighteenth century. While all people of Asian origin were summarily banned from immigrating to the United States from 1913-1946, and were limited by per-country quotas for several years more, the Immigration and Naturalization Service Act of 1965 transformed the circumstances of American immigration for South Asians. This new act based immigration decisions on the professional experience and education of individuals regardless of national origin, resulting in a flood of South Asian, particularly Indian immigrants in the late 1970s and during the technology boom of 1995-2000. South Asian immigrants, also referred to colloquially as desis, meaning "countrymen," often maintain close ties to their countries of origin and have established tightly knit immigrant communities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. These communities continue to follow the social and political happenings in their homelands, and numerous organizations, foundations, and networks have been founded to maintain these ties.
    When the colony of India gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, it was partitioned into two countries: the Republic of India and Pakistan. Shortly after independence, rioting broke out between the two nations based on religious and cultural conflicts between Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims, resulting in thousands of deaths and the eventual migration of millions across the newly drawn borders. In the years to come, several military conflicts would take place between the two nations, including Pakistan's invasion of Kashmir in 1965, and India's assistance to the Bangladeshi territory during its fight for independence in 1971. Based on the British parliamentary system, the new Indian government was led by a Prime Minister, the leader of the party with the majority of members in Parliament. Although this system was based upon the popular vote, many Indians at home and abroad were unhappy with the new government's policies and actions. There were numerous allegations of human rights violations and detainment of political prisoners, especially during the State of Emergency declared by the once popular Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. Amid allegations of corruption and numerous protests demanding her resignation, Gandhi declared a State of Emergency, suspending civil rights and granting the government extensive powers. These conflicts, coupled with problems of poverty, labor struggles, and overpopulation, resulted in unrest from South Asians worldwide. The community and student organizations they founded released newsletters, held discussions, and organized protests to bring attention to the problems of their countries both within the immigrant community and to the international public.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The South Asian Collection documents non-resident South Asian political and cultural organizations in North America and abroad, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1971-2004. Sharat G. Lin, a scholar on the Middle East and South Asia, acquired these materials during his involvement with activist communities from the 1960s through the 21st century. The majority of the collection concerns South Asian political and cultural organizations in the United States, with an emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area. These materials include serial publications, pamphlets, fliers, bulletins, newspaper clippings, open letters, as well as printouts of emails, listservs, and Web sites. Additional materials include publications and fliers from other radical and student organizations regarding general political activism from 1967-1976.


    This collection is arranged into two series: I. South Asian Organizations, 1971-2004 (bulk 1971-1977); II. Non-South Asian Organizations, 1967-1976.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    South Asians -- United States
    South Asian diaspora
    South Asian periodicals
    South Asian political systems
    Underground periodicals -- California
    University of California, Santa Cruz -- Student publications


    American Immigration Law Foundation. (2002). The Passage from India. http://www.ailf.org/ipc/policy_reports_2002_India.asp. Retrieved February 5, 2008.

    University of California Berkeley Library. (2001). "A New Beginning" Echoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California, 1899-1965. http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/SSEAL/echoes/chapter13/chapter13.html. Retrieved February 5, 2008.

    Le, C.N. 2008. Socioeconomic Statistics & Demographics. Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. http://www.asian-nation.org/demographics.shtml. Retrieved February 5, 2008.