Deaf South Asian Americans: Madan Vasishta’s First Days in America
The South Asian American Digital Archive, or SAADA, (whose president, Samip Mallick, was featured on APA Compass a couple years ago) is launching a wonderful new project called “First Days”, asking South Asian Americans to talk about their first days, first impressions, upon arriving in this country.
Additionally, I am working on an “oral” history project, documenting the stories and experiences of Deaf South Asian Americans in Washington, DC. These stories will be a part of SAADA’s permanent collection. While these experiences do not represent all Deaf South Asian Americans, they certainly offer some insight. What better way to get started than to feature Gallaudet University’s very own Dr. Madan Vasishta!
Dr. Madan Vasishta became deaf at the age of 11 and had never even seen another deaf person until he was 20. He moved to the US in 1967 to attend Gallaudet University (the only Deaf liberal arts university in the world). But I won’t reveal too much, you’ll have to wait for me to post more videos of his life stories!
In addition to his scholarly work at Gallaudet, he is also the author of two memoirs: Deaf in Delhi and Deaf in DC (both published by Gallaudet University Press). In the moment, he is the Director of the Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLRTC) at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
For now, you can check out one vignette from Madan, about his first days in America.
Stay tuned for more stories!
Special thanks to: Wanette Reynolds, Frank Griffin, Stephanie Durand, and Amber Marchut for their help with this project!
**Update 9/4/2015: I’ve started a new program, Intersections Radio, with KBOO Community Radio. Madan’s story was featured as part of this episode on Minority Perspectives from India. Dilip Mehta provided voiceover for this radio piece. Check out the podcast!
Air date: 9/4/2015: