Jainti Saggar

Other names: 

Jainti Dass Saggar

Dr Saggar


Dundee, Scotland, DD1 1DB
United Kingdom
56° 27' 35.6076" N, 2° 59' 19.8024" W
Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1898
Precise DOB unknown: 
City of birth: 
Daherra, Ludhiana, Punjab
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
01 Jan 1974
Precise date of death unknown: 
Location of death: 
Dundee, Scotland
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1919
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1919 until his death


Jainti Saggar originally came to Britain to study medicine at University College, St Andrews. He settled in Dundee – becoming, quite possibly, the town’s first South Asian resident – and remained in Scotland for the rest of his life. After completing his medical degree, he went on to gain diplomas in ophthalmic medicine, public health, surgery. He had a keen interest in education as well as in health, serving as chairman of the Public Libraries Committee and as a member of the committee of the local branch of the Nursery Schools Association of Great Britain. His concern for social welfare also led him into the sphere of politics. He joined the Labour Party and was elected town councillor in 1936, becoming the first black or Asian local authority councillor in Scotland – and in a district where there was not a single ‘black vote’. Saggar went on to serve as a Labour councillor for eighteen years, and was instrumental in the adoption of Krishna Menon as parliamentary candidate for Dundee in 1939.

Saggar married Jane Quinn, the daughter of a bailie and a town councillor of Dundee. On his death, the Lord Provost of Dundee, William Hughes, said: ‘He was a man of compassion for everyone in need…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. Dundee is much poorer by his passing’ (Maan, p. 128). The naming of a Dundee street and local library after Saggar and his brothers (one of whom, Dhani Ram, also worked as a doctor in the town) is further evidence of the great esteem in which he was held.


V. K. Krishna Menon

Labour Party, National Health Service.

Secondary works: 

Maan, Bashir, The New Scots: The Story of Asians in Scotland (Edinburgh: Donald, 1992)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002)

Visram, Rozina, 'Saggar, Jainti Dass (1898–1954)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2012) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/71/101071631/]