Oral History Digital Archive

Ms. Naseem Umar (Masala Chat Project)

Naseem Umar, 64, is an educator and dedicated community leader. The interview includes discussion of the obstacles she faced in getting employment that matched her experience after arriving in Chicago, but how she eventually became...

Mr. Rishad Tobaccowala (Masala Chat Project)

Rishad Tobaccowala, 57, is an advertising executive and pioneering member of the Chicago Indo-American community. The interview includes detailed discussion of his successful career at the Leo Burnett Advertising Company, which was the largest advertising...

Dr. Badri Das and Ms. Pramila Taparia (Masala Chat Project)

Badri, 75, and Pramila, 68, Taparia were among the first Indians to move to the United States in the mid-1960s. Badri is a retired obstetrician-gynecologist and his wife, Pramilla, raised their three children and helped in his practice.

Mr. Prabhakant Sinha (Masala Chat Project)

Prabhakant Sinha, industrial engineer, discusses the differences between Indian and academic culture. He reflects on how much more open conversation was for students at University of Massachusetts compared to his previous educational experiences. He enjoys...

Dr. Umesh Sharma (At Risk Stories)

Umesh Sharma, 81, is a general surgeon who retired as chief of staff at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, Illinois. The interview includes discussion of his childhood and decision to go to medical school, his...

Ms. Prem Sharma (At Risk Stories)

Prem Sharma, 77, is a pioneer member of Chicago’s Indian American community, the founder of Apna Ghar, a domestic violence support service for immigrant women, and has played a leading role in the Indian women’s community since the late 1970s. The interview includes discussion of...

Ms. Tina Shah (Masala Chat Project)

Tina Shah, 39, is a designer and software developer who is working hard to ensure she keeps her Indian heritage alive for herself and the next generation. The interview includes discussion of her family's search...

Ms. Mridu Sekhar (Masala Chat Project)

Mridu Sekhar, 69, is a retired owner of a successful healthcare technology consultancy and active participant in Democratic politics. The interview includes discussion of how geopolitical history during the Cold War and the Indo-Pakistani war...

Mr. Navinchanvra Sanghavi (Masala Chat Project)

Navinchanvra Sanghavi is a mechanical engineer who was among the first Indian Americans in Chicago, having arrived in the early 1960s. The interview includes discussion of his devotion to the Pushtimargiya religious practice and his...

Ms. Sujaya Rupani (At Risk Stories)

Sujaya Rupani, 66, is an ophthalmologist and active member of the Indian community in Chicago. The interview includes discussion of her successful work life and moments of culture shock as she adapted to the US....

Mr. Rohinton and Ms. Roshan Rivetna (Masala Chat Project)

Roshan, 77, and Rohinton, 82, Rivetna, are pioneers of the Zoroastrian community in the US, having arrived in the mid-1960s. The interview begins with Roshan alone, and her husband Rohinton joins approximately halfway through. The...

Ms. Sudha Rapp (Masala Chat Project)

Sudha Rapp, 73, is a world traveler and a luxury retail salesperson. The interview includes discussion of the fact that her family lived in the Middle East during her early life, but moved to India...

Ms. Hema Rajagopalan (At Risk Stories)

Hema Rajagopalan, 70, is an award-winning classical Indian dancer who became famous at age 6 for her talent. The interview includes discussion of her approach to dance as a physical form of moral education and...

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...

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. 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. 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...

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...

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...

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.

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. 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...

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...

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...

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...

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