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South Asian Organizations in North America Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Background
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Processing Information

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: South Asian Organizations in North America Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2004.05.01
    Physical Description: 1 Box (1.25 linear ft.)
    Date (inclusive): 1967-2004
    Abstract: The South Asian Organizations in North America Collection documents South Asian political and cultural organizations in North America and abroad from 1967-2004.


    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.

    Preferred Citation

    South Asian Orgnaizations in North America Collection, MSS-2004-05-01, San Jose State University Library, Special Collections & Archives.


    This collection is arranged into two series: I. South Asian Organizations, 1971-2004 (bulk 1971-1977); and II. South Asian Politics, 1967-1999.

    Scope and Contents

    The South Asian Collection documents South Asian political and cultural organizations in North America and abroad, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1967-2004. The collection consists of pamphlets, press releases, and open letters that related to the cultural and political activities of several South Asian organizations. There is a pre-dominant focus on India and general South Asia.

    Conditions Governing Use

    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.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Processing Information

    Encoded by Sjuli Senn van Basel Wagemans. Revised by Veronica Cabrera. Collection reprocessed and finding aid revised by Rita Wang in 2017.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    South Asia -- Politics and government
    India -- History -- 20th century
    Associations, institutions, etc. -- South Asia