Marwah LA

The City of Los Angeles will honor Dr. Amarjit Singh Marwah for his contributions to the city’s history, specifically the Sikh community of Southern California. Marwah (left) is seen here being honored by the Indian Dental Association USA in 2015. (India-West file photo courtesy of Chad Gehani)

The Studio for Southern California History Jan. 27 announced the recognition of Dr. Amarjit Singh Marwah for his contributions to Los Angeles history, and specifically the Sikh community of Southern California, by Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu.

Studio director Sharon Sekhon worked with the South Asian American Digital Alliance, the Sikh Temple and Councilman Ryu to recognize Marwah, a news release said.

Specifically, Marwah will be honored with street signage at the corner of Vermont Avenue and Finley Avenue, the location of the Hollywood Sikh Temple at 1966 N. Vermont Avenue, the release said.

Marwah came to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship under the Guggenheim Foundation to study pediatric dentistry in New York in 1953. Later, the Indian American enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received a master’s degree.

From there, he attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he received a doctorate in dentistry, allowing him to practice in the United States, according to his bio.

He taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and, through the U.S. Public Health Service in 1959, was sent to teach at Bombay University.

Marwah arrived in Los Angeles in 1962 and joined the faculty in the School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California and opened his private practice.

He was the first person of color to desegregate Los Angeles’ medical professional building and lived in nearby Baldwin Hills, noted the bio. Marwah worked as a dentist for 50 years completely on referral, with some of his clients including Hollywood royalty like Elizabeth Taylor, as well as impoverished people whom he treated at USC’s Dental Clinic, a news release said.

Marwah has worked with different Los Angeles leaders but most closely with Mayor Tom Bradley. In 1974 Bradley appointed Marwah as commissioner to chair the Cultural Heritage and Hollywood Art Commission for the City of Los Angeles where he served for 18 years.

He established as historic cultural monuments the 1888 Chinese shrine at Evergreen Cemetery, Barnsdall Park, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Union Station and many others, his bio added.

He has served as an ambassador in both formal and informal titles – in 1984 he hosted Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at his home for the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

In 1968 Marwah created the Sister City Program with Los Angeles and Mumbai, working with Mayor Sam Yorty. One year later, he donated a building to establish one of the first Sikh temples in the United States since India’s Independence to honor the 500th anniversary of the religion’s founder Guru Nanak, which was attended by then Councilman Tom Bradley.

He founded the Sikh Study Circle, the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation and the coordinating Council of India Associations. In India he has built the KK Marwah Girls College (named after his wife, Kuljit Kaur Marwah) in Faridkot, Punjab. In Mahindra College, Patiala, he helped built an auditorium with matching funds. He has provided thousands in scholarship support, the release said.

The event honoring Marwah will take place Feb. 4 – which is also Marwah’s 93rd birthday – at 11 a.m.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.