Washington: Five Indian-Americans may have lost their bids to enter the US Congress, but a South Asian of Bangladeshi descent has made it for the first time in the history of the United States.
Hashem Clarke, a Bangladeshi descent democratic member of the Michigan Senate, has wrested a seat in the House of Representatives, held by Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick for more than 20 years.
Clarke`s election makes him only the third South Asian in US Congress after Dalip Singh Saund (1957-63; first Asian American in Congress) and Bobby Jindal (2004-2007).
Clarke was born in Detroit, Michigan to a Bangladeshi American father, Mozaffar Ali Hashem from Sylhet, and an African American mother, Thelma Clarke.
His father died when he was a child. Clarke attended Cass Technical High School, and then got admitted to a prestigious east-coast prep school to complete his high school. Clarke studied at Cornell University, graduating with a degree in fine arts.
He was elected to the student seat on the Cornell University Board of Trustees and was a member of the Quill and Dagger society. He then earned a law degree from Georgetown Law School in 1987.
Clarke worked as chief of staff to US Representative John Conyers, as well as in Wayne County during the administration of Edward H McNamara.