Indo-American Oral History Project

  • Aiyer, Anantha
  • Appan, Dr. S.G.
  • Bhalla, Col. Rajinder
  • Chowdary, Mrinal [and] Ruma
  • Das, Lachhaman
  • Dave, Mina
  • Dave, Santosh [and] Suman
  • Doshi, Hasmukh
  • Dutta, Dilip
  • Fernandez, Parul
  • Jhingran, Satish
  • Kannappan, Sam [and] Meenakshi
  • Kapadia, Asha
  • Kolla, Venkata Ratnam
  • Kothari, Atul [and] Rita
  • Krishen, Dr. Kumar
  • Hussain, Latafath
  • Legha, Sewa
  • Malhotra, Shakuntala
  • Mathur, Viren [and] Nalini
  • Medley, Peter [and] Hansa
  • Mehta, Dr. Mohinder Paul
  • Mehta, Nita
  • Menon, Dr. Venu Gopal
  • Mutyala, Sita
  • Narasimhan, N.D. [and] Thara
  • Pandya, Girish
  • Parameswaran, Dr.
  • Parameswaran, Lakshmy
  • Rao, Mutyala Bhaskara
  • Rao, Dr. Potu
  • Rao, Dr. R.N.S.
  • Ratnala, Rao
  • Reddy, Avn [and] Swaroop
  • Sarma, Hiren [and] Usha
  • Sarma, N. V. R.
  • Shah, Dr. K.T.
  • Sharma, Dr. Jagdish
  • Sharma, P. C.
  • Sinha, Randhir
  • Suneja, Randeep
  • Syal, Raj Kumar
  • Thiagarajan, K.R.
  • Thomas, Koshy
  • Yalamanchili, Charlie [and] Angela

Introduction
The Houston Indo-American Oral History project is an initiative of the Foundation for India Studies. It is a collaborative project being done in cooperation with the Houston Public Library (HPL) and Houston Community College System (HCCS) and engages members of the Indo-American community living in Houston, Texas to record their life stories and experiences in America as immigrants.

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Project objectives:
To develop a centralized oral history archive of the experiences of the first generation Indo- Americans settled in Houston through their own narratives and make it available to the researchers, educationist, historiansand help the next generation Indians to trace their roots.

Methodology
Utilize the latest audio and video modern technologies torecord, transcribe and archive to preservethe rich history of the first generation and present generation Indo-Americans for posterity and their contributions to the city of Houston in various fields. To achieve this goal, live interviews will be conducted by the FIS interviewers.

The purpose of Oral History interviews will be:

  • To understand their motives for immigration to America and their choice to settle in Houston.
  • To document their educational and skill training before and after their arrival
  • To understand the conditions at the time of their arrival and how they surmounted the racial, cultural and language barriers, and color discrimination
  • To understand their interaction with their neighborhoods, the formation of social organizations and their involvement with religion including construction of temples, churches and mosques
  • To gain an understanding of the challenges they faced and their initial experiences as newcomers with regard to their acceptance by the local communities
  • Their gradual integration into the main stream communities while preserving their separate cultural identity
  • To learn how Indian immigrants attempted to influence public policy for the betterment of Indo-US relations
  • To record the concerns and anxieties of first generation immigrants about the future of their children and grand children growing up in American culture and the erosion of Indian cultural and religious values.
  • To record their concerns regarding the gradual erosion of Indian identity due to the increasing number of interracial marriages
  • Their involvement into the main stream political, social and economic environment in Houston
  • To detail the history of immigrant businesses in the Hillcroft’s India sector of the Mahatma Gandhi District in Houston
  • To record their experiences at their work places and businesses

Project execution plan
First one hundred (100) interviews to be done at the rate of two (2) per month, will take 50 months, (i.e.) 4 years and 2 months.

Who will be interviewed?
• People who are aged 65 and above. Seniors will be on a priority list.
• Interviewees must have lived in Houston,Texas for at least 20 years, however, exceptions considered on a case by case basis.

Categories of people

• Entrepreneurs /Industrialists / Business people
• Educationists
• Art and culture
• Community activists / Leaders / Volunteers
• Professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Scientists
• Public figures and politicians
• Media professionals like journalists, radio and TV hosts etc.
• Religious leaders
• Philanthropists

Cost estimate
Total estimated cost of the project is $250,000/-.

Time line for the project
Project inauguration: August 19, 2011.
Completion of the first phase of the project: December 2015

Watch the interviews

You may click on any of the following Links, and watch the interviews done earlier and were already uploaded on to HPL Servers:

S.NO. NAME HPL VIDEO LINK
  • FIS-OHP-01
  • FIS-OHP-02
  • FIS-OHP-03
  • FIS-OHP-04
  • FIS-OHP-05
  • FIS-OHP-06
  • FIS-OHP-07
  • FIS-OHP-08
  • FIS-OHP-09
  • FIS-OHP-10
  • FIS-OHP-11
  • FIS-OHP-12
  • FIS-OHP-13
  • FIS-OHP-14
  • FIS-OHP-15
  • FIS-OHP-16
  • FIS-OHP-17
  • FIS-OHP-18
  • FIS-OHP-19
  • FIS-OHP-20
  • FIS-OHP-21
  • FIS-OHP-22
  • FIS-OHP-23
  • FIS-OHP-24
  • FIS-OHP-25
  • FIS-OHP-26
  • FIS-OHP-27
  • FIS-OHP-28
  • FIS-OHP-29
  • FIS-OHP-30
  • FIS-OHP-31
  • FIS-OHP-32
  • FIS-OHP-33
  • FIS-OHP-34
  • FIS-OHP-35
  • FIS-OHP-36
  • FIS-OHP-37
  • FIS-OHP-38
  • FIS-OHP-39
  • FIS-OHP-40
  • FIS-OHP-41
  • FIS-OHP-42
  • FIS-OHP-43
  • FIS-OHP-44
  • FIS-OHP-45
  • Dr. Potu N. Rao / Sita Mutyala
  • Col.Dr. R. Bhalla / Jawahar Malhotra
  • Dr. Paul Mehta /Jawahar Malhotra
  • Girish Pandya / Smita Mehta
  • Nita Mehta / Smita Mehta
  • Mr. & Mrs. Koshy Thomas / Nik Nikam
  • Dr.J.C.Sharma / Nik Nikam
  • Dr. Satish Jhingran / Nik Nikam
  • Dr. R.N.S. Rao / Vatsa Kumar
  • Raj Syal / Parul Fernandes
  • Dr. Asha Kapadia / Dr. Shalom Evenberg
  • Dr. & Mrs. Venu Gopal Menon / Nik Nikam
  • Mr. & Mrs.Thiagarajan / Nirmala Vale
  • Mr. & Mrs.Mutyala Bhaskar Rao / Nik Nikam
  • Rao Ratnala / Sita Mutyala
  • Mr. Anantha Iyer / Padmaja Sarathy
  • Dr. and Mrs.S.G. Appan / Padmaja Sarathy
  • Dr. Kolla Venkata Ratnam /Sita Mutyala
  • Mr. & Mrs. Lachhman Das / Jay Malhotra
  • Dr. R.P.Sinha / Anjaly Thakkar
  • Dr. Parameswaran / Padmaja Sarathy
  • Mrs. Parameswaran / Padmaja Sarathy
  • P.C.Sharma / Krishna Vavilala
  • Santosh and Suman Dave / Their son
  • Shakuntala Malhotra / Jawahar Malhotra
  • Dr.Sewa Legha/Jawahar Malhotra
  • Hasmukh Doshi / Re-done, KrishnaVavilala
  • Dr. Viren & Nalini Mathur / Sita Mutyala
  • Mr. N.V.R.Sarma / Sita Mutyala
  • Mr.& Mrs.Kannappan / Mr. Govindan
  • Mr.& Mrs. Charlie Yalamanchili / Sita Mutyala
  • Dilip & Sukti Dutta / Niranjan Banik
  • Hiren & Usha Sarma / K. Vavilala
  • Latafath Hussain / His son – Zaid Hussein
  • Peter & Dr. Hansa Medley / Shobana Muratee.
  • Atul and Rita Kothari / K. Vavilala
  • Mrinal Chowdary and wife,Ruma / Raja Banga
  • AVN and Swaroop Reddy / Sita Mutyala
  • Mrs. Sita Mutyala / K Vavilala
  • Dr. Randeep Suneja / Jawahar Malhotra
  • Thara Narasimhan and husband / Son
  • Parul Fernandes / Dr. Michele Verma
  • Mina Dave / Parul Fernandes
  • Dr. K.T.Shah / K.Vavilala
  • Dr. Kumar Kishen (NASA) / K. Vavilala

Project partners:
Houston Public Library (HPL) and Houston Community College System (HCCS)

Contact Information:

Ravi Brahmbhatt, 832-413-3416, (ravi.brahmbhatt@hccs.edu)

Krishna Vavilala, 713-795-5169

Fifth Anniversary Celebrations, Houston