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

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. Foundation for India Studies received the 2019 Mary Faye Barnes Award for Excellence for Community History Projects, given by the Texas Oral History Association.


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.

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:

Indo-American Oral History Project Interviews

FIS-OHP-01Dr. Potu N. Rao / Sita MutyalaLink
FIS-OHP-02Col.Dr. R. Bhalla / Jawahar MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-03Dr. Paul Mehta /Jawahar MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-04Girish Pandya / Smita Mehta Link
FIS-OHP-05Nita Mehta / Smita MehtaLink
FIS-OHP-06Mr. & Mrs. Koshy Thomas / Nik NikamLink
FIS-OHP-07Dr.J.C.Sharma / Nik NikamLink
FIS-OHP-08Dr. Satish Jhingran / Nik NikamLink
FIS-OHP-09Dr. R.N.S. Rao / Vatsa KumarLink
FIS-OHP-10Raj Syal / Parul FernandesLink
FIS-OHP-11Dr. Asha Kapadia / Dr. Shalom VinebergLink
FIS-OHP-12Dr. & Mrs. Venu Gopal Menon / Nik NikamLink
FIS-OHP-13Mr. & Mrs.Thiagarajan / Nirmala ValeLink
FIS-OHP-14Mr. & Mrs.Mutyala Bhaskar Rao / Nik NikamLink
FIS-OHP-15Rao Ratnala / Sita MutyalaLink
FIS-OHP-16Mr. Anantha Aiyer / Padmaja SarathyLink
FIS-OHP-17Dr. and Mrs.S.G. Appan / Padmaja SarathyLink
FIS-OHP-18Dr. Kolla Venkata Ratnam / Sita MutyalaLink
FIS-OHP-19Mr. & Mrs. Lachhman Das / Jay MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-20Dr. R.P.Sinha / Anjaly ThakkarLink
FIS-OHP-21Dr. Parameswaran / Padmaja SarathyLink
FIS-OHP-22Mrs. Parameswaran / Padmaja SarathyLink
FIS-OHP-23P.C.Sharma / Krishna VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-24Santosh and Suman Dave / Neal DaveLink
FIS-OHP-25Shakuntala Malhotra / Jawahar MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-26Dr.Sewa Legha/Jawahar MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-27Hasmukh Doshi / Re-done, Krishna VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-28Dr. Viren & Nalini Mathur / Sita MutyalaLink
FIS-OHP-29Mr. N.V.R.Sarma / Sita MutyalaLink
FIS-OHP-30Mr.& Mrs.Kannappan / Mr. GovindanLink
FIS-OHP-31Mr.& Mrs. Charlie Yalamanchili / Sita MutyalaLink
FIS-OHP-32Dilip & Sukti Dutta / Niranjan Banik Link
FIS-OHP-33Hiren & Usha Sarma / K. VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-34Latafath Hussain / Zaid HusseinLink
FIS-OHP-35Peter & Dr. Hansa Medley / Shobana MurateeLink
FIS-OHP-36Atul and Rita Kothari / Krishna VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-37Mrinal and Ruma Chowdary / Raja BangaLink
FIS-OHP-38AVN and Swaroop Reddy / Sita Mutyala Link
FIS-OHP-39Mrs. Sita Mutyala / Krishna VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-40Dr. Randeep Suneja / Jawahar MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-41Thara Narasimhan & Dr. N.D. Narasimhan/ K. NarasimhanLink
FIS-OHP-42Parul Fernandes / Dr. Michele VermaLink
FIS-OHP-43Mina Dave / Parul FernandesLink
FIS-OHP-44Dr. K.T.Shah / Krishna VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-45Dr. Kumar Krishen (NASA) / Krishna VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-46Dr. Ponnada and Lakshmi Narayana / Seshadri KumarLink
FIS-OHP-47Dr. Sunil Sharma / Meera KapurLink
FIS-OHP-48Reshmi Sarma / Meera KapurLink
FIS-OHP-49Meera Kapur / Swapan DhairyawanLink
FIS-OHP-50Umesh Kapur / Swapan DhairyawanLink
FIS-OHP-51Ganga and Rani Ghosh / Mrinal ChowdhuryLink
FIS-OHP-52Sarala Menon / Chandrakantha CourtneyLink
FIS-OHP-53Mr. Khalid S. Razvi / Mohammed KhanLink
FIS-OHP-54Randhir Sahni/Pramod KulkarniLink
FIS-OHP-55Ashok Garg / Pramod KulkarniLink
FIS-OHP-56Ram Gupta / Krishna VavilalaLink
FIS-OHP-57Kanwal Bhalla / Jawahar MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-58Shakuntala Malhotra / Jawahar MalhotraLink
FIS-OHP-59Jugal Malani / Kumud PulijalLink
FIS-OHP-60Lalita Trehan /Kumud PulijalLink
FIS-OHP-61Surender Trehan / Kumud PulijalLink
FIS-OHP-62Sita and Naren Kapadia/ Supal VoraLink

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

Contact Information:

Krishna Vavilala via phone (713)-795-5169 or via email:

Fifth Anniversary Celebrations, Houston

ABC 13 Coverage of Indo-American Oral History Project