Oral Histories

Interview of Gyanam Mahajan

Immigrant from India. UCLA lecturer in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.
South Asian Women in Los Angeles
Community History
Asian American History
Biographical Note:
Immigrant from India. UCLA lecturer in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.
Hampapur, Veena
Mahajan, Gyanam
Persons Present:
Mahajan and Hampapur.
Place Conducted:
Mahajan's office at UCLA.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Veena Hampapur; B.A., anthropology, minor in South Asia studies, UC Berkeley; M.A., anthropology, UCLA. Her research focuses on conceptions of citizenship and identity in the South Asian American diaspora.Hampapur prepared for the interview by reading about the waves of South Asian immigration to the United States. As a graduate student in anthropology, she has conducted research on the South Asian diaspora in the United States which shaped the direction of her inquiries. Veena Hampapur gained access to the participants through her personal and academic networks. Before each interview, she reviewed her previous knowledge of the participant (if any) in order to tailor the interview for each woman's personal experiences.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Mahajan was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and make corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
3 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The South Asian Women in Los Angeles series documents the lives of a number of women who are first generation South Asian immigrants and who lived or currently live in the greater Los Angeles area. This project was generously supported by Arcadia funds.
Childhood in Bihar—Parents' history—Parents' marriage—Mixed background—Extended family—Early childhood memories of Patna—Siblings—Mother's career—Linguistic heritage—Getting books—Diet--North vs. South Indians—Neighborhoods in Delhi—Pet dog—Government quarters in Delhi—Owning a car—Neighbors—Television—Holiday celebrations—School in Delhi—Academic track—Extracurricular activities.
Studying economics—Getting into linguistics—Political awareness—Post-graduate studies—Reactions to linguistics education—Marriage—Studying in France—Experiences at University of Southern California—Teaching English—Family's feelings about migrations—Missing India—Finances—Boundaries in U.S. versus India—Cross-country road trip—Initial impressions of Los Angeles—Familiarity with South Asians—Friends in Los Angeles—Small town suburban America—Landlady—Return to Los Angeles—Teaching Hindi-Urdu at UCLA—Community—Daughter—Identity.