Bhagat Singh Thind

Bhagat Singh Thind

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Bhagat Singh Thind

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Bhagat Singh Thind, PhD (October 3, 1892 – September 15, 1967) was an Indian American Sikh writer and lecturer on spirituality who was involved in an important legal battle over the rights of Indians to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Thind had enlisted in the U.S. Army a few months before the end of World War I. After the war he sought the right to become a naturalised citizen, following a legal ruling that Caucasians had access to such rights. At this time Indians were categorised as Caucasian by anthropologists. In 1923, a crucial Supreme Court case United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind was decided in favor of the United States, retroactively denying all Indian Americans citizenship for not being Caucasian in "the common man's understanding of the term".

However, Thind remained in the U.S., completed his PhD., and delivered lectures in metaphysics. Basing his lessons on Sikh religious philosophy, he added to his teaching with references to the scriptures of several religions and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau. He campaigned actively for the independence of India from the British Empire. Dr. Thind applied for and received U.S. citizenship through the state of New York within a few years of being turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Background

Thind's citizenship was rescinded four days after it was granted. Eleven months later, he received his citizenship for the second time. However, the Immigration and...
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