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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Early Achievers Of Indian Origin

In the midst of the all important national debate on illegal immigrants in the United States, particularly President Obama's steps to reform immigration laws and legalize illegal immigrants, it would be appropriate and interesting to recall the remarkable efforts of early immigrants from India that made the country proud of them.

Dalip Singh Saund

Dalip Singh Saund, the first native of Asia elected to the United States Congress, came to study at the University of California, Berkeley in 1920 and after completing his M.A. in 1922 and his Ph.D. in 1924, it became clear that he would make the United States his home. But he found few career avenues open to him. The only way Indians in California could make a living was to join with others who had settled in various parts of the state as farmers, and so in the summer of 1925 he decided to go to the southern California desert valley and make his living as a farmer.

Life was not easy for the young farmer. His first lettuce crop was a total loss. But even with the demands of farming he was still able to find time for study and for public speaking. Saund became a U.S. citizen, on 16 December 1949 and was elected as judge in Westmoreland, where he built a reputation as a reformer who could achieve results.

In 1956 he decided to run for U.S. Congressman from the 29th district of California. Judge Saund faced formidable challenges running a cash-strapped campaign as a Democrat in a district that had always voted Republican. Saund relates that his colorful opponent, Jacqueline Cochran Odlum, who flew her own plane from campaign stop to campaign stop, hosted a widely advertised barbecue in the Riverside County fairgrounds, with a stellar lineup of guests, including Bob Hope. Still the grassroots campaign won many supporters and when the ballots were counted Saund won. He served three terms, working vigorously for the all the constituents of his district. While running for re-election for a fourth term in 1962, Saund suffered a disabling stroke that ended his political career.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, was an Indian-born American astrophysicist who, with William A. Fowler, won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars. Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir C. V. Raman, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930. Chandrasekhar served on the University of Chicago faculty from 1937 until his death in 1995 at the age of 84. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1953.

In July 1930, Chandrasekhar was awarded a Government of India scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge. The following year in January 1937, Chandrasekhar was recruited to the University of Chicago faculty as Assistant Professor. He remained at the university for his entire career, becoming Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics in 1952 and attaining emeritus status in 1985. Chandrasekhar did some work at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, which was run by the University of Chicago. After the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) was built by NASA in 1966 at the University, Chandrasekhar occupied one of the four corner offices on the second floor. During World War II, Chandrasekhar worked at the Ballistic Research Laboratories at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his studies on the physical processes important to the structure and evolution of stars. Chandrasekhar's most notable work was the astrophysical Chandrasekhar limit. In 1999, NASA named the third of its four "Great Observatories'" after Chandrasekhar. The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999. The Chandrasekhar number, an important dimensionless number of magnetohydrodynamics, is named after him. The asteroid 1958 Chandra is also named after Chandrasekhar. American astronomer Carl Sagan, who studied Mathematics under Chandrasekhar, at the University of Chicago, praised him in the book The Demon-Haunted World: "I discovered what true mathematical elegance is from Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar."

Dr. Har Gobind Khorana

Dr. Har Gobind Khorana, is an Indian-born American biochemist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968 with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley for cracking the genetic code, research that helped to show how the nucleotides in nucleic acids, which carry the genetic code of the cell, control the cell’s synthesis of proteins. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1966, and subsequently received the National Medal of Science. He currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States serving as MIT's Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry,

Khorana was born in Raipur, a village in Punjab, British India (now Pakistan). In 1945, he began studies at the University of Liverpool and earned a PhD in 1948. In 1970 Khorana became the Alfred Sloan Professor of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he worked until retiring in 2007. He is a member of the Board of Scientific Governors at The Scripps Research Institute, and currently holds Professor Emeritus status at MIT.

Khorana and his team had established that the mother of all codes, the biological language common to all living organisms, is spelled out in three-letter words: each set of three nucleotides codes for a specific amino acid. Their Nobel lecture was delivered on December 12, 1968. He was the first to isolate DNA ligase, an enzyme that links pieces of DNA together. These custom-designed pieces of artificial genes are widely used in biology labs for sequencing, cloning and engineering new plants and animals. This invention of Khorana has become automated and commercialized so that anyone now can order a synthetic gene from any of a number of companies—one merely needs to send the genetic sequence to one of the companies to receive an oligonucliotide with the desired sequence.

Didar Singh Bains

Didar Singh Bains followed his father and grandfather into the orchards of Sutter County. His grandfather migrated first to Canada in 1890, and to California in 1920. Bains' father arrived from India in 1948 and Bains himself followed in 1958, 18 years old, fresh from Nangal Khurd village in Hosiharpur. Those were long, hard days. "You know, we came here empty-handed, and I worked like a manual laborer," he says. "We worked really hard, borrowed, struggled, took risks our whole life. God is always good to us." Driving tractors and irrigating orchards for 75 cents an hour, he did the work of four men, and soon bought his first peach orchard. He bought another, then another, and by 1978, had become the largest peach grower in California. He is known as the Peach King of California, but also cultivates prunes, walnuts and almonds.

Didar Singh Bains who came to American with $8 in his pocket in 1958 owned 12,000 acres in California and Canada by 1980 and much of rapidly developing western Yuba City. The Bains Ranch office, surrounded by orchards on the outskirts of Yuba City, is well-appointed but unpretentious. Trucks and tractors are parked outside near a large, aluminum-sided barn. It is the business hub of one of the largest farmers in the Central Valley and one of the wealthiest men in Northern California, Didar Singh Bains.

Amar Bose

Amar Gopal Bose is an American electrical engineer, sound engineer and multi-millionaire entrepreneur. He is the founder and chairman of Bose Corporation. In the year 2007 (Forbes 400), he was listed as 271st richest man in the world, with a net worth of $1.8 billion.

Bose was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a Bengali Indian father and a white American mother. His father, Noni Gopal Bose, was an Indian freedom revolutionary, who having been imprisoned for his political activities, fled Calcutta in the 1920s in order to avoid further prosecution by the British colonial police.

Amar Bose first displayed his entrepreneurial skills and his interest in electronics at age thirteen, when, during the World War II years, he enlisted school friends as co-workers in a small home business repairing model trains and home radios, to supplement his family's income. Bose enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in the early 1950s. He completed his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from MIT, writing a thesis on non-linear systems.

Following graduation, Bose took a position at MIT as an Assistant Professor. He focused his research on acoustics, leading him to invent a stereo loudspeaker that would reproduce, in a domestic setting, the dominantly reflected sound field that characterizes the listening space of the audience in a concert hall. Bose was awarded significant patents in two fields which, to this day, are important to the Bose Corporation. These patents were in the area of loud speaker design and non-linear, two-state modulated, Class-D, power processing. Bose was elected Fellow of IEEE, 1972 - for contributions to loudspeaker design, two-state amplifier-modulators, and nonlinear systems.

During his early years as a professor, Bose bought a high-end stereo speaker system in 1956 and was reportedly not pleased by the performance of his purchase. This would eventually pave the way for his extensive speaker technology research, concentrating on key weaknesses in the high-end speaker systems available during Bose's time. The Bose Corporation is a multifaceted entity with more than 12,000 employees, worldwide, that produces products for home, car, and professional audio, as well as conducts basic research in acoustics, automotive systems, and other fields.

Today, Indian-Americans are one of the fastest-growing and most successful immigrant groups in the United States. The three million Indian Americans in the US continue to top the US Census charts as the best-educated, highest-paid and top-placed community among the 38.1 million foreign-born population in the country. Indians have proliferated in this country in the fields of health care, information technology and engineering, with higher education levels and incomes than national averages. All of this progress is result of the ongoing hard and honest effort of Indian immigrants to prosper here and thereby contribute to the greatness of this great country, as did the early achievers of Indian origin.


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