Oral Histories

Interview of Mitali Datta

Immigrant from India.
South Asian Women in Los Angeles
Asian American History
Community History
Biographical Note:
Immigrant from India.
Hampapur, Veena
Datta, Mitali
Persons Present:
Datta and Hampapur.
Place Conducted:
Datta's home.
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. Datta 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.
2.5 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.
Parents' backgrounds—Moving around India—Regional knowledge—North/South stereotypes—Military residence—Servants—Food shopping—Owning a car—Relationship with neighbors—Childhood recreation—Socializing in military—British influence—Learning languages—Patriotic activities—Moral science—Republic Day festivities—Celebrating religious festivals—Religious activities—Bengali customs—Music/dance classes—Following cricket—Radio and television—Father's emphasis on education—Advanced degrees—Potential career—Academic competition—Visiting Calcutta—Traveling by train—Life in Pune—Relationship with sister—Socializing with military families—College in Delhi—Eating out—Birthdays—Western attire—Life in Madras—Marriage—Feelings about moving to U.S.—Knowledge of U.S.—Immigration paperwork—Adapting to in-laws—Keeping in touch with husband
Immigration preparations—Neighborhood in Lawndale—Television--New skills—Cooking--Studying—Indian groceries—Weekend activities—Homesickness—Returning to school—Permanence of move—Raising children in U.S.—Starting a career—Visitors from India—Making friends—Enjoying diversity—Bengali friends—Familiarity with Indians—Questions about India—Bengali association—Increasing Bengali population—Increasing Indian goods—Indian food—Visiting India—Hindi movies—Getting American citizenship—American customs—Close mindedness in Indian community—Indian American success—Racism—Interaction between Bengalis and Bangladeshis—Bengali groceries—Learning about American culture—Moral concerns about U.S.—Children's Indian friends—Enjoying L.A.—Feelings about not moving—Children's education—Differences between Lawndale and Palos Verdes—Changing demographics—Relationship with sister—Sewing—Staying in L.A.—Living near children.