Oral history interviews of the South Asian Oral History Project, 2004-2008  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
South Asian Oral History Project
Title
Oral history interviews of the South Asian Oral History Project
Dates
2004-2008 (inclusive)
Quantity
1.81 cubic feet (6 boxes)
Collection Number
5415 (Accession No. 5415-001)
Summary
Started by Irene Joshi, South Asian Studies Librarian with the University of Washington Libraries, the South Asian Oral History Project (SAOHP) is a collection of interviews with South Asian immigrants to the United States who settled in the Pacific Northwest and represent distinct waves of migration.
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers restricted. Contact Repository for details.

Languages
English


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Started by Irene Joshi, South Asian Studies Librarian with the University of Washington Libraries (1970-2000), the South Asian Oral History Project (SAOHP) was established to document the stories and experiences of this complex and quickly growing immigrant group, with the intention of demonstrating the South Asian community's historical and contemporary importance to the Pacific Northwest. Following her retirement, Mrs. Joshi left a grant to fund the project; it was coordinated by her successors in the position of South Asian Studies Librarian, under the auspices of the University of Washington Libraries. Three phases of the project have been completed; additional rounds of interviews may be undertaken in the future.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The South Asian Oral History Project is a collection of interviews with 28 South Asian immigrants to the United States who settled in the Pacific Northwest and represent three distinct waves of migration. The first phase of the project collected oral histories of immigrants from India and Pakistan who arrived in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s; interviews were conducted by Julie Kerssen between 2004-2005. Under the direction of Deepa Banerjee, who joined the UW Libraries in 2005, an advisory committee selected potential interviewees for the second and third phases of the project. The second phase focused on narrators who arrived between 1965-1979 and included immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The third phase documented more recently arrived immigrants, who came to the United States between 1980 and the end of the 1990s. This phase extended coverage to narrators coming from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Interviews from both the second and third phases of the project were conducted by Amy Bhatt between 2007-2008.

Among the narrators included in the project to date are: Pramila Jayapal, Raj Joshi, Bharti Kirchner, Prem Kumar, Alok Mathur, Jamal Rahman, Najma Rizvi, and Balraj Sokkappa. The collection contains recordings of the interviews (audio and/or video), as well as final and unedited versions of the transcipts. Also included are two sets of photographs of some interviewees; one taken around the time of immigration, when available, and one taken at the time of the interview.

Across the three phases, the project strives for a geographically diverse balance, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Sri Lankan narrators, as well as others who came to the United States from South Asia via Canada, the United Kingdom, and East Africa. A diversity of religious beliefs also is represented, with Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, agnostics and atheists numbering among the participants. Finally, all of the interviewees engaged questions of their early life and schooling, family composition, decisions to emigrate, initial impressions of the United States, higher education and/or work experiences, family formation, intergenerational relationships, identity and nationalism, and political and social engagement.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Online copies of some transcripts, photographs, and audio files of interviews can be found through the digital collection website for the South Asian Oral History Project.

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Preferred Citation

[Title of item], [date of item if known], [box/folder number], Oral history interviews of the South Asian Oral History Project, Accession No. 5415-001, University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Oral history interviews of the South Asian Oral History Project: phase I, 2004-2005Return to Top

14 transcripts
7 digital audio tapes
15 cassette audio tapes
12 photographs
5 negatives
1 CD-ROM

Phase I of the South Asian Oral History Project collected seven oral histories of immigrants from India and Pakistan who arrived in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s. Julie Kerssen conducted the interviews. Interviewees from the first phase of the South Asian Oral History Project include Asgar Ahmedi, Shanta Gangolli, Kris Gupta, Raj Joshi, Satpal Kapahi, Balraj Sokkappa, and Padmini Vasishth. Many of these narrators had direct connections to the University of Washington as students or faculty and they each shared their diverse experiences; these included working on the early Apollo space shuttle launches, joining the Peace Corps, attending the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, and being some of the earliest South Asian students enrolled at the University of Washington.

Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers restricted. See below and/or contact Repository for details.

Access to digital audio tape masters is restricted.

Received from each interviewee separately on various dates in 2004 and 2005.

Container(s) Description Dates
Oral history interview with Asgar Ahmedi
Ahmedi, Asgar S (interviewee)
2 transcripts: 68 leaves
2 sound cassettes (122 min)
1 digital master audio tape (122 min)
2 photographic prints
1 negative
Asgar Ahmedi was born on Madagascar and came to the United States around 1950. He was a chemist at Jorgensen Steel.
Interview conducted by Julie Kerssen in Edmonds, Washington. Includes unedited and final versions of the transcript. The color photograph of Ahmedi was taken in 2005; the black and white portrait, circa 1950.
Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers restricted. See below and/or contact repostiory for details.
2005 February 4
Box/Folder
1/1
Photographs
undated; 2005
1/2
Final transcript
2005
4/1
Unedited transcript
Access restricted.
2005
4/2
Tapes
Access restricted.
2005
Oral history interview with Shanta Gangolli
Gangolli, Shanta, 1934- (interviewee)
2 transcripts: 58 leaves
2 sound cassettes (103 min)
1 digital master audio tape (103 min)
1 photograph : color
Shanta Gangolli was born in Bombay, India in 1934, and moved to the United States in 1958. She taught classes for the hearing impaired in Seattle.
Interview conducted by Julie Kerssen in Seattle, Washington. Includes unedited and final versions of the transcript. The photograph was taken in 2005.
Open to all users.
2005 April 1
Box/Folder
1/3
Photograph
2005
1/4-5
Transcripts
2005
Oral history interview with Kris Gupta
Gupta, H. K., 1930- (interviewee)
2 transcripts: 73 leaves
2 sound cassettes (122 min)
1 digital master audio tape (122 min)
2 photographs
1 negative
Kris Gupta was born in Kashmir, India on April 14, 1930. He moved to the United States in 1951 and received bachelor's (1954) and master's degrees from the University of Washington.
Interview conducted by Julie Kerssen in Seattle, Washington. Includes unedited and final versions of the transcript. The black and white portrait was taken when Gupta was a young man; the color photograph is from 2005.
Open to all users.
2005 April 26
Box/Folder
1/6
Photographs
undated; 2005
1/7-8
Transcripts
2005
Oral history interview with Raj Joshi
Joshi, Raj (interviewee)
2 transcripts: 71 leaves
2 sound cassettes (105 min)
1 digital master audio tape (105 min)
2 photographs
1 negative
Raj Joshi, an urban planner, born in Lashkar, Gwalior, India on October 26, 1932. He came to the United States in 1946 and moved to Seattle around 1953 to pursue a graduate degree in geography.
Interview conducted by Julie Kerssen in Seattle, Washington. Includes unedited and final versions of the transcript. The black and white portrait was taken when Joshi was a young man; the color photograph is from the time of the interview.
Open to all users.
2004 December 29
Box/Folder
1/9
Photographs
undated
1/10-11
Transcripts
2004
Oral history interview with Satpal Kapahi
Kapahi, Satpal (interviewee)
2 transcripts: 56 leaves
2 sound cassettes (98 min)
1 digital master audio tape (98 min)
1 photograph : color
Sat Kapahi was born in Lahore, when it was still part of India (now Pakistan). Kapahi came to the United States in 1952 and worked as an engineer at Boeing.
Interview conducted by Julie Kerssen in Redmond, Washington. Includes unedited and final versions of the transcript. The photograph was taken in 2005.
Open to all users.
2005 March 23
Box/Folder
1/12
Photograph
2005
1/13-14
Transcripts
2005
Oral history interview with Balraj Sokkappa
Sokkappa, Balraj Gnana (interviewee)
2 transcripts: 74 leaves
3 sound cassettes (125 min)
1 digital master audio tape (125 min)
2 photographs
1 negative
Sokkappa was born in Madurai, India on September 30, 1930. He moved to the United States circa 1954 to pursue work as an engineer.
Interview conducted by Julie Kerssen in Sequim, Washington. Includes unedited and final versions of the transcript. The black and white portrait was taken when Sokkappa was a young man; the color photograph is from 2005.
Open to all users.
2005 January 14
Box/Folder
1/15
Photographs
undated; 2005
1/16-17
Transcripts
2005
Oral history interview with Padmini Vasishth
2 transcripts: 69 leaves
2 sound cassettes (120 min)
1 digital master audio tape (120 min)
2 photographic prints
1 negative
1 compact disc
Vasishth was born in Lahore in 1928, when it was still part of India (now Pakistan). She came to Seattle to pursue a master's degree in organic chemistry at the University of Washington, which she received in 1960.
Interview conducted by Julie Kerssen in Redmond, Washington. Includes unedited and final versions of the transcript. The black and white portrait was taken when Vasishth was a young woman; the color photograph was taken in 2005. The compact disc contains a digital copy of the transcript and the color photograph.
Open to all users.
2005 December 28
Box/Folder
1/18
Photographs
undated; 2005
1/19-20
Transcripts
2005
1/21
Compact disc
2005
Box
5
Tapes - listening copies
2004-2005
6
Tapes - master
Access restricted.
2005

Oral history interviews of the South Asian Oral History Project: phase II, 2007-2008Return to Top

14 transcripts
12 DVDs

Phase II of the South Asian Oral History Project collected ten oral histories of immigrants from India and Pakistan who came to the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s. Interviewees are: M. Owais Jafrey, Shaila Kode, Prem Kumar, Amy Laly, Dev R. Manhas, Rajinder Manhas, Zakir Parpia, Najma Rizvi, Jafar Hussain Siddiqui, and Santosh Wahi. Representing a wide range of stories and backgrounds, this diverse group of men and women worked in business, education, engineering, real estate, medicine, but also includes homemakers.Transcripts, digital audio and video files, and archival DVDs were produced for this series. A short film is also included, in which Deepa Bannerjee, South Asian Studies Librarian, introduces the project with excerpts from Phase II interviews. Some digital images were included, which were printed out for inclusion in the transcript files.

Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers restricted. See below and/or contact Repository for details.

Access to archival DVDs is restricted.

Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Source: Deepa Bannerjee, November 2008.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/1
South Asian Oral History Project (introductory film - viewing copy)
1 DVD
2008
4/7
Archival backup DVDs
Access restricted.
2008
2/2
Oral history interview with M. Owais Jafrey: transcript, with photograph
Jafrey was born in 1941 in India, where he earned two master's degrees, in Urdu and English, and a diploma in Library Science. In 1976, he came to Seattle, where he then earned another master's degree in Library Science from the University of Washington.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Shoreline, Washington.
Open to all users.
2007 October 31
Oral history interview with Dr. Shaila Kode
Dr. Kode was raised in the Karnataka state of India. She attended medical school in Mumbai, and moved to Seattle in 1974. She eventually worked at Madigan Army Medical Center and at Group Health Cooperative.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Newcastle, Washington.
Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers restricted.
2008 February 8
Box/Folder
2/3
Transcript, edited, with photograph
2008
4/3
Transcript, unedited
Access restricted: for terms of access contact repository.
2008
Box/Folder
2/4-5
Oral history interview with Dr. Prem Kumar: transcripts, with photograph
Dr. Kumar was raised came to the United States from Punjab where he received a master's degree in English. He later received a master's degree in education and a doctorate in English. After teaching at several universities, he began to work for Boeing in 1986. Kumar co-founded the Indian American Political Advocacy Council (IAPAC) and founded the Indian American Education Foundation (IAEF).
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Seattle, Washington. The original version of the transcript, edited by the interviewer, was also re-edited by Kumar and both versions are included.
Open to all users.
2007 July 24
2/6-7
Oral history interview with Amy Laly: transcripts
Laly was born in 1947 in Northern India. She came to Portland, Oregon, in 1966 and completed a bachelor's and master's degree there. Since the early 1980s, she has worked for Boeing.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Seattle, Washington. The original version of the transcript, edited by the interviewer, was also re-edited by Laly and both versions are included.
Open to all users.
2007 September 20
Oral history interview with Dr. Dev Manhas
Dev R. Manhas, MD, FACS grew up in Jammu-Kashmir and received a medical degree in Punjab. He moved to Seattle in 1967 and completed his residency at the University of Washington. Dr. Manhas co-founded the Indian American Political Advocacy Council (IAPAC) in 1994.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Mercer Island, Washington.
Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers restricted.
2007 August 15
Box/Folder
2/8
Transcript, edited, with photograph
2007
4/4
Transcript, unedited
Access restricted: for terms of access contact repository.
2007
Box/Folder
2/9
Oral history interview with Rajinder Manhas: transcript, with photograph
Raj Manhas was born in Punjab in 1948 and studied aeronautical engineering in college there before coming to the University of Washington in 1973 to pursue a master's degree in industrial engineering. He eventually held administrative positions in Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Utilities, and Seattle Public Schools.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2007 June 18
2/10
Oral history interview with Zakir Parpia: transcript, with photograph
Zakir "Zak" Parpia was born in 1948 and grew up in the areas surrounding Mumbai. He received a master's degree in civil engineering from Washington State University and later founded Himalaya Homes, Inc. In 1986 he was recognized by the state of Washington as Builder of the Year.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2007 November 15
2/11
Oral history interview with Dr. Najma Rizvi: transcript, with photograph
Dr. Rizvi grew up in Dakka, Bangladesh, where she received a master's degree in geography. She came to the United States in 1959 but went back to Bangladesh to teach before permanently returning to the U.S. in 1969. Rizvi has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California and two additional master's degrees; she has used these to teach and research worldwide, focusing on Third World malnutrition and infectious disease. She moved to Seattle in 1995 and retired from North Seattle Community College in 2007.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2007 August 30
2/12
Oral history interview with Jafar Hussain Siddiqui: transcript, with photograph
Jafar "Jeff" Siddiqui was born in Pakistan and completed an engineering degree there before coming to Seattle in 1974. He earned a master's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Washington, where he was active in the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS). Siddiqui eventually pursued a career in real estate.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2007 June 29
2/13
Oral history interview with Santosh Wahi: transcript
Wahi, from northern India, received a bachelor's and master's degree in chemistry from Birla Institute of Technology. She moved with her family to New York City in 1968, returned to India, and married there in 1970. In 1973, she and her husband moved to Mercer Island and she became active in promoting Indian culture; for example, teaching Hindi to children and serving as an interpreter for local schools, courts, and hospitals.
Interview conducted by Amy Bhatt in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2007 June 29

Oral history interviews of the South Asian Oral History Project: phase III, 2008Return to Top

12 transcripts

Phase III of the South Asian Oral History Project collected eleven oral histories of South Asian immigrants who arrived in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. Amy Bhatt conducted the interviews. Interviewees are: Akhtar Badshah, Lakshmi Gaur, Nirmala Gnanapragasam, Mohammad Zahid Hossain, Pramila Jayapal, Bharti Kirchner, Alok Mathur, Syed Rizwan Nasar, Jamal Rahman, Rao Ramala, and Prasana Samarawickrama. This series documents the experience of South Asians who came to work in the technology sectors of the Pacific Northwest, as well as others who came to work in various regional industries. Narrators range from social justice advocates, research scientists, interfaith ministers, to early Microsoft employees.

Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers restricted. See below and/or contact Repository for details.

Source: Amy Bhatt and Deepa Bannerjee, 2008

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/1
Oral history interview with Dr. Akhtar Badshah: transcript
Dr. Badshah came to the United States around 1981 and earned a doctoral degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was the CEO of Digital Partners Foundation before becoming the Directory of Community Affairs at Microsoft.
Interview took place in Redmond, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 February 13
Oral history interview with Dr. Lakshmi Gaur
Dr. Gaur was born in Jeypore, Orissa, and grew up in Hyderabad. She completed bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees before coming to the United States on a Fulbright fellowship. She works with Puget Sound Blood Bank in Seattle and is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Interview took place in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users, but access to portions of the papers is restricted.
2008 April 10
Box/Folder
3/2
Edited transcript
2008
4/5
Original transcript
Access restricted: for terms of access contact repository.
2008
Box/Folder
3/3
Oral history interview with Dr. Nirmala Gnanapragasam: transcript
Dr. Gnanapragasam came to the United States from Sri Lanka around 1986 and pursued master's and doctoral degrees at Northwestern University. In 1993, she joined the faculty of Seattle University, where she teaches geotechnical engineering.
Interview took place in Shoreline, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 September 4
3/4
Oral history interview with Dr. Mohammad Zahid Hossain: transcript
Dr. Hossain grew up in Khulna, Bangladesh, then pursued his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Dhaka University in biochemistry. He moved to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to work toward a doctorate in biochemistry in 1984. Dr. Hossain later came to Seattle to work with the Pacific North West Research Institute, and eventually the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Interview took place in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 October 2
3/5
Oral history interview with Pramila Jayapal: transcript
Jayapal was born in Chennai, India and grew up between Indonesia, Singapore, and India. She earned a master's degree in business administration from Northwestern University and received a bachelor's from Georgetown University. She is now an activist and writer, founder of Hate Free Zone Campaign of Washington and author of Pilgrimage to India: A Woman Revisits Her Homeland.
Interview took place in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 July 21
3/6
Oral history interview with Bharti Kirchner: transcript
Kirchner spent her early life in the town of Kalimpong, near the Himalayas.She first came to the United States in 1962, but after leaving and returning a few times, settled in the Pacific Northwest in 1984. Kirchner earned her master's degree in mathematics while in India, and held held various positions in computer programming as well as teaching. She has also authored four novels and four cookbooks.
Interview took place in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 March 7
3/7
Oral history interview with Alok Mathur: transcript
Mathur was born and raised in New Delhi, India. In 1977, he came to the United States; first to Washington D.C., then to Seattle for a job with Boeing. In 1987, Mathur earned a master of business administration degree from City College in Seattle.
Interview took place in Federal Way, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 April 17
3/8
Oral history interview with Syed Rizwan Nasar: transcript
Rizwan Nasar was born in 1966 in Karachi, Pakistan. He came to the U.S. in 1985 and completed his bachelor's and master's degrees at Michigan State University. He moved to Seattle in 1989 to work in advertising for a newspaper, after which he returned to Pakistan and worked on contracts for several years. He came back to Chicago for another four years, and finally returned to Seattle around 1997. Nasar has alternately run his own businesses and worked in advertising for Microsoft, producing commercials and films when he has time.
Interview took place in Sammamish, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 May 21
3/9
Oral history interview with Jamal Rahman: transcript
Rahman was born in 1950 in Bangladesh. He moved many times in childhood with his family as his father was a diplomat. He studied law in London after high school, then came to the University of Oregon in 1970 to finish a bachelor's degree. He also earned a master's degree from the University of California at Berkeley before beginning to study Sufism with his parents in Canada and Egypt. Rahman became a Canadian citizen around 1980 and eventually came to Seattle around 1990 when he began teaching spiritual courses. Eventually, he co-founded the Interfaith Community Church in Ballard.
Interview took place in Seattle, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 July 28
3/10
Oral history interview with Rao Remala: transcript
Remala grew up in Andhra Pradesh, India. He completed a master's degree in computer science while still in India, and worked for the company that built India's first microcomputer in 1978. He moved to Seattle to begin a Ph.D. program at the University of Washignton, but then began working for Microsoft in 1981 as one of the first fifty employees. Remala was the first Indian at Microsoft and wrote the first line of code in the original Windows platform. He retired from Microsoft in 2004.
Interview took place in Bellevue, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 March 20
3/11
Oral history interview with Prasanna Samarawickrama: transcript
Samarawickrama was born in 1964 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and spent most of his childhood in that region. He received a bachelor's degree in physics. Having spent a year of high school in Oregon, he saved money to return to the U.S. around 1985, attended Southern Oregon State University, and eventually began a Ph.D. program in nuclear physics at Oregon State University. Samarawickrama moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft around 1990.
Interview took place in Redmond, Washington.
Open to all users.
2008 September 23

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Bangladeshi Americans--Northwest, Pacific
  • Bangladeshi Americans--Washington (State)
  • Bangladeshis--Northwest, Pacific
  • Bangladeshis--Washington (State)
  • East Indian Americans--Northwest, Pacific
  • East Indian Americans--Washington (State)
  • East Indians-- Northwest, Pacific
  • East Indians--Washington (State)
  • Immigrants--Washington (State)--Interviews
  • Pakistani Americans--Northwest, Pacific
  • Pakistani Americans--Washington (State)
  • Pakistanis--Northwest, Pacific
  • Pakistanis--Washington (State)
  • South Asian Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • South Asian Americans--Washington (State)--Interviews
  • South Asian Americans--Washington (State)--Social conditions
  • South Asian diaspora--Social aspects
  • South Asians-- Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • South Asians--Migrations
  • South Asians--Washington (State)--Interviews
  • South Asians--Washington (State)--Social conditions
  • Sri Lankan Americans--Northwest, Pacific
  • Sri Lankan Americans--Washington (State)
  • Sri Lankans--Northwest, Pacific
  • Sri Lankans--Washington (State)
  • Personal Names :
  • Bannerjee, Deepa
  • Bhatt, Amy
  • Joshi, Irene M
  • Kumar, Prem
  • Mathur, Alok
  • Rahman, Jamal
  • Rizvi, Najma
  • Corporate Names :
  • South Asian Oral History Project--Interviews
  • Geographical Names :
  • Northwest, Pacific--Emigration and immigration--20th century
  • Northwest, Pacific--Emigration and immigration--Social aspects
  • United States--Emigration and immigration--20th century
  • United States--Emigration and immigration--Social aspects
  • Washington (State)--Emigration and immigration--20th century
  • Washington (State)--Emigration and immigration--Social aspects
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Jayapal, Pramila,  1965- (creator)
    • Joshi, Raj (interviewee)
    • Kerssen, Julie L (interviewee)
    • Kirchner, Bharti (creator)
    • Sokkappa, Balraj Gnana (interviewee)
    • Corporate Names :
    • University of Washington. Libraries (creator)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)