Today, in San Francisco, stands the monumental Gadar Memorial Hall. 103 years ago, it was purchased by members of the Indian American community who founded an organization to aid in freeing India from British control. The hall is now a museum, recognized by the Indian government. I am an IndianAmerican, born and raised in the United States, but until today, when I spoke to Inder Singh, chief volunteer of the Indian American Heritage Foundation, I had never heard about Gadar Memorial Hall.
The Indian American Heritage Foundation, founded 30 years ago aims to educate Indian youth living in Southern California about the history of Indians in the United States and also about the rich cultural traditions of their homeland. As part of this process, the foundation recognizes IndianAmerican high school and middle school students who really exemplify what it means to be dedicated and hardworking in their communities.
The meritorious students are judged based upon a standard criteria, with their SAT score, GPA, extracurriculars, and knowledge about India taken into consideration. On a hundred point scale, GPA and SAT are weighted at 35% each, in addition to extracurriculars counting for 15%. The applicants are also given a 3040 page booklet about Indian history and culture, which they have to thoroughly read and are quizzed on. Their points on this quiz account for the last 15%. The purpose of the quiz is to inspire students to learn more about the struggles and successes of Indians and the effects they’ve had in India and in the United States. The foundation’s committee also understands that not all talents circle around academics, so they award students who excel in visual/performing arts, sports, community service, or STEM as well.
Almost 250 people are expected to attend the celebration in its 30th year to commemorate students who are not only high achievers, but also appreciate and aspire to learn more about Indian culture.