University launches scholarship in honour of Dr Jainti Dass Saggar

The University of Dundee has launched a new scholarship in memory of an Indian student who went on to use his degree to help transform the lives of people living in Dundee, so much so that a street in the city is named after him.

Born in Deharru, Punjab in 1898, Jainti Dass Saggar undertook a 26-day sea journey to study Medicine at University College Dundee (forerunner of the University of Dundee), arriving in the city in 1919, one hundred years ago.

Graduating in 1923, Dr Saggar became a local GP. In 1931, he married a Dundonian woman Jean Quinn, and they had two daughters, Sheila and Kamala. Dr Saggar served on the boards of various education and welfare bodies and was elected town councillor in 1936, serving Dundee as a Labour councillor for eighteen years until his death in 1954. His many contributions to social and political life are evident from his inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Dr Saggar remained connected with his Indian culture through his involvement over many years with Friends of India and with Indian Famine Relief.

The £5,000 scholarship will be awarded alongside one of the University’s existing Global Excellence Scholarships to an Indian domiciled candidate who shows remarkable potential to study an undergraduate degree starting in 2020.

Wendy Alexander, Vice-Principal (International) at the University, said, “Dr Saggar was a truly inspirational character who worked to improve the quality of school meals well ahead of his time. He also helped open a psychiatric clinic for early mental health treatment and argued for the provision of 20 communal canteens for Dundee’s poor. He was a true example of a global citizen, who chose to study, live and improve the city he came to.

“With this new scholarship, we hope his story inspires the next generation of Dundee students.”

Dr Saggar’s daughter, Kamala, and her husband Dr John Stewart visited the University earlier this year to learn more about Jainti’s early years of study in Dundee and to find out what current Indian students thought of the institution today.

Nick Hopkins, Professor of Psychology at Dundee who welcomed the couple to the campus, said, “Jainti Dass Saggar was just one of 25 international students to study at University College Dundee at the time. He was an excellent student, a keen cricket and hockey player and a singer of some ability.

“He embraced Dundee and in turn was so welcomed that it is no wonder that upon his death, the then Lord Provost of Dundee, William Hughes said ‘he came to Dundee from halfway across the world, but no son of Dundee had greater love for its people or worked harder in their interest’. His palpable contribution to the city is a story that transcends generations and borders.”

Decisions on the recipient of the Jainti Dass Saggar Memorial Scholarship For Excellence will be made on applications received before Thursday, 30 April 2020.

For media enquiries contact:
Dominic Glasgow
Media Relations Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0)1382 385131