Oral History Digital Archive

Mr. Gyan Agarwal (At Risk Stories)

Gyan Agarwal, 81, is a retired professor of electrical engineering and one of the founding members of the Indian American community in Chicago. The interview includes discussion of his journey from a remote village to a professor of electrical engineering in Chicago.

Dr. Mallikarjuna Rao and Dr. Satyavathi Anne (At Risk Stories)

Mallikarjuna Rao, 80, and Satyavathi Anne, 79, are retired pathologists, both born and raised in villages in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, but they did not meet until medical school when their marriage was...

Ms. Hena Banerjee (Masala Chat Project)

Hena Banerjee, 80, is an accountant and one of the first Indians to move to the United States in the late 1950s. The interview includes discussion of her early life in Mysore and Calcutta, traveling...

Ms. Mekhala Banerjee (At Risk Stories)

Mekhala Banerjee, 73, is a retired cancer research lab technician and an author. The interview includes discussion of her childhood in Burdwan, outside of Calcutta, her arranged marriage, trouble learning English when she moved to...

Mr. Santimoy Banerjee (At Risk Stories)

Santimoy Banerjee, 80, is a philanthropist and retired biochemist. The interview includes discussion of his training in the 1960s in the growing field of biochemistry at the University of Calcutta Bose Institute and at Harvard...

Ms. Ranjana Bhargava (Masala Chat Project)

Ranjana Bhargava, 70, is an experienced civic and non-profit professional with a background in social justice. In this interview, Ranjana highlights the moments of her past that helped shape her passions and later her career....

Mr. Vijay Bhargava (Masala Chat Project)

Vijay Bhargava, 75, is the son of a prominent lawyer and civic leader of his city. The interview includes discussion of growing up in a large joint family, dealing with class differences, and important figures in his life.

Ms. Krishna Chakrabarthy (At Risk Stories)

Krishna Chakrabarthy, 80, is a retired biochemist, college lecturer, and active member of the Bengali community in Chicago. The interview includes discussion of her youth in Gujarat, her father’s influence on her decision to study in the United States, her arranged marriage, and her and...

Ms. Shimmi Chandra (At Risk Stories)

Shimmi Chandra, 85, is a retired real estate agent and one of the pioneering members of the Indian American community in the United States. She arrived in 1959 with her husband and they founded Indian...

Ms. Padma Chandwaney (Masala Chat Project)

Padma Chandwaney, 73, is a proud Sindhi community leader, one of the first Indian Americans in Chicago, and an insurance professional. The interview includes discussion of how she had to raise her younger siblings at...

Dr. Kamal Chawla (At Risk Stories)

Kamal Chawla, 80, is a cardiologist and pioneer of the Indian community in Chicago. The interview includes discussion of his initial guilt over not returning to India but eventual acceptance by his family and feeling...

Ms. Urmilla Chawla (At Risk Stories)

Urmilla Chawla, 77, is a retired school teacher, journalist, and author. The Chawlas are a pioneer family in the Chicao Indo-American community. The interview includes discussion of memories of her family fleeing their home in...

Ms. Harpreet Datt (At Risk Stories)

Harpreet Datt, 70, is a product manager and active member of the Chicago Indo-American community. The interview includes discussion of her rebellious younger years and her appreciation for Indian culture.

Ms. Virbala Desai (Masala Chat Project)

Virbala Desai, 79, is a retired Montessori school teacher and one of the pioneer members of the Indian community in Chicago. The interview includes discussion of her first impressions of New York City as a...

Dr. Nagamani Beligere Dharmapuri (Masala Chat Project)

Nagamani Beligere Dharmapuri, 82, is a pioneering pediatric physician who came to the US on her own in the early 1960s. The interview includes discussion of her fight throughout her life to defy expectations of...

Mr. Vidyasagar Dharmapuri (Masala Chat Project)

Vidyasagar Dharmapuri, 77, is a pediatric physician and was the first president of the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in 1977. His wife, Nagamani, joins for the end of the interview. The interview includes discussion...

Mr. Kanti Gandhi (Masala Chat Project)

Kanti Gandi, 76, is the owner of a successful global chemical coatings company. The interview includes discussion of the fact that he among the earliest members of the Indian community in the United States, having...

Ms. Renu Gandhi (Masala Chat Project)

Renu Gandhi, 68, is a devoted wife and mother who works alongside her husband and children in the family business, the Gandhi Corporation. The interview includes discussion of how she built a hybrid identity as...

Ms. Shamiya Ghogha (Masala Chat Project)

Shamiya Ghogha, 20, is a newlywed who is adapting to life in America. The interview includes discussion about her recent move to Chicago from India and her efforts to learn English at the Indo-American Center...

Mr. Dial Gidwani (Masala Chat Project)

Dial Gidwani, 80, is a community educator, author, and retired airline security professional. The interview includes discussion of his multi-pronged efforts to teach Americans about the tradition of nonviolence which stems from India.

Ms. Lakshmi Menon (At Risk Stories)

Lakshmi Menon, 75, is a pioneer in the Indian American cultural heritage sphere who has been a part of countless efforts to build bridges between her community and others.

Dr. Arvind Menon (At Risk Stories)

Arvind Menon is one of the pioneers of the Indian community in Chicago; being a very successful physician who came to the US when there was high demand for doctors from abroad in the late...

Dr. Upendranath Nimmagada (At Risk Stories)

Upendranath Nimmagada, 79, is a retired surgeon and active administrator of a medical school he co-founded in his home state in India. The interview includes discussion of his early life during which his father died and his family was supported by the local village, his...

Ms. Mohini Pai (Masala Chat Project)

Mohini Pai, 83, is a retired investment manager and non-profit leader. The interview includes detailed discussion of her early and young adult life in India and Kenya with her parents and six younger siblings. She...

Mr. Ashok Patel (Masala Chat Project)

Ashok Patel is a retired physician who was Chief of Hematology at Cook County Hospital for more than thirty years. The interview includes discussion of his young life in India and Fiji and life as...

Ms. Daksha Patel (Masala Chat Project)

Daksha Patel, 76, is a pioneering neonatal physician who now consults for the Department of Social Security. The interview includes discussion of her average day as a child and how she charted an uncommon path...

Mr. Mafat Patel (Masala Chat Project)

Mafat Patel, 72, is an entrepreneur and the owner of two businesses catering to the Indian community in Chicago. The interview includes discussion of his frequent desire to return to India after he came to...

Ms. Tilat Rais (Masala Chat Project)

Tilat Rais is a devoted caretaker who strongly identifies with the duty to help others that her faith, Islam, teaches. The interview includes discussion of her faith and desire to be successful through serving others....

Mr. Parthasarathy Rajagopalan (Masala Chat Project)

Parthasarathy Rajagopalan, 77, is a financial advisor and former railway circuit engineer. The interview includes discussion of the fifteen people who founded of the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in 1977, in which he played...

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