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.
The South Asian Collection documents non-resident South Asian political and cultural organizations in North America and abroad, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1971-2004. The collection consists of pamphlets, press releases, and open letters that related to the cultural and political activities of several South Asian organizations. The collection also contains documents from non-South Asian activist organizations operating in the Bay Area during this period, including underground radical groups and University of California at Santa Cruz student organizations. The collection is partially digitized for the Digital Library by format. For additional information about using images in this collection, contact the SJSU Special Collections Department.