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Oral history interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999

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Creator:Dalal, Chandrika
Creator:Jilani, Andrew
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999
Date:1999 July 22

Chandrika Dalal discusses her experiences as an Indian immigrant in the United States. Despite her husband's alcoholism and excessive gambling in India, she agreed to move with him to the United States since she saw in the move an opportunity to improve her family's life. Upon arrival in California, she moved in with her recently emigrated brother. There, Dalal worked in her brother's hotel business. She came to appreciate the diversity and economic opportunity that California offered but later relocated with her brother to rural North Carolina. She felt more secure there than she did in California but had difficulty being accepted because of cultural and language barriers. She faced other problems, too, including what she describes as police harassment and punitive city codes that she says prevented her from earning a livelihood as a restaurateur. To earn money, she found work at the University of North Carolina as a housekeeper. Despite her husband's refusal to provide financial security for their family, Dalal upheld traditional Indian gender norms. She believed her cultural beliefs to be superior to what she saw as the moral corruption in America, which she learned about largely from television shows. Even though her daughters arrived in the United States as toddlers and assumed an American identity, she says that they still experience ethnic discrimination. In turn, says Dalal, her daughters' Americanization creates a distance between them and her family in India because they know little of Indian customs, language, and traditions, a state of affairs she greatly regrets.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories (document genres) | Text | Sound
Subjects:Dalal, Chandrika | East Indian American women--North Carolina | East Indian American businesspeople--North Carolina--Pittsboro | East Indian Americans--Civil rights--North Carolina | East Indian Americans--Cultural assimilation--North Carolina | Americanization | United States, North Carolina, Pittsboro | United States, North Carolina, Chatham County
Collection:Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/K-0814/menu.html