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Indian American Oral Tales Go Online

June 2009
Indian American Oral Tales Go Online

Social media are all the rage, so the Kahani Movement should come as no surprise. Launched by Atlanta-based Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his brother Suneel (of Mozilla), this online platform attempts to create an oral and visual storehouse of stories from first-generation South Asians in the United States. It was inspired by National Public Radio’s StoryCorps.

“These cherished stories are evaporating along with the people who lived them,” Dr. Gupta pointed out. “It’s our generation’s responsibility to preserve those stories, so that they are never lost.”

Once you register to become a member (at no charge) on the Kahani Movement website, the process for creating content is pretty straightforward. Film, photos and writings are welcome, and helpful interview tips are available for those who want to record conversations and upload them. There are also guidelines for film editing. Membership is not needed for viewing the content, which has so far been provided by a few hundred people.

Author Minal Hajratwala notes, “I’m excited to be on this site because gathering family stories is exactly what I did in order to write my nonfiction book” (Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents). Leena Rao, another contributor, shares a story about how her parents met by chance in the ‘70s when her father was a Baltimore-based physician. “It was only after my parents went on a few dates that they discovered their families were friends and lived a few streets away from each other in Madras,” she says.

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