“He wanted people to know who they were…”

Tejinder Sibia (sacbee.com)

Known for his web site www.sikhpioneers.org documenting the history and culture of Punjabis and Sikhs in California and the Pacific Northwest, Tejinder Singh “Ted” Sibia, who recently died of leukemia at age 70, also took an active role in promoting the inclusion of Punjabi history in state textbooks and Punjabi language study at UC Davis. While heading UCD’s Shields Library research unit for biology and agriculture until his retirement in 2006, Sibia, who immigrated from Punjab in 1960, mentored Punjabi students and served as an ambassador of Punjabi culture on campus. “He wanted people to know who they were, what they were about,” said Carrie Rushby, his library assistant for 12 years (The Sacramento Bee).

His work online documenting Sikhs and Punjabis in North America is an extremely valuable resource that includes rare historical photographs of the Komagata Maru incident, the Gadar Party, an old photo of Sibia himself working in California’s peach orchards as a young man, and more recent photos of a group research trip to Angel Island in San Francisco bay, where his wife Manjeet, who with their daughter survives him, translated several words scratched in Punjabi on a wall of the historic immigration detention center.

March 10, 2008
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