Introduction to the Archive

This archive offers a window into the story of South Asian immigrants from the Punjab region in north India to California since the turn of the twentieth century.  Explore over 700 video interviews, speeches, diaries, photographs, articles, and letters in which Punjabi Americans share their life stories, values, and contributions to California’s history over the last hundred and twenty years.
There are many stories to discover here — stories that together uncover a rich and complex history about the Punjabi American community in California.  The story of how the Punjabis first came to farm in the rich Sacramento Valley, the “Other Land of Five Rivers.”  The story of the hard survival that the early pioneers endured for decades when they were denied US citizenship, the right to own land, and to bring their families to join them in the US.  The story of a revolution waged by humble farmers against the British government from a house in San Francisco.  The story of a man who arrived in California with $8 and became the “Peach King” — one of the largest peach growers in the world.  The story of how the Punjabi community thrived in the postwar era growing into a vibrant, diverse, influential community — the largest rural Punjabi community outside of South Asia.
This is also the story of a people who are still misunderstood in the United States today.  Learn about the extraordinary lives of Punjabi Americans in their own words and how they have helped transform the state of California.