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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Kanwal Rahman, July 15, 1999. Interview K-0817. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Pride in her homeland

As she shares her desire to marry and have children, Rahman speaks of her pride in her cultural heritage, manifest in her desire to send her children, if possible, to boarding schools in India.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Kanwal Rahman, July 15, 1999. Interview K-0817. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

So, this stuff doesn't apply to you, because you don't have children, so—. [Laughter]
KANWAL RAHMAN:
Right.
RAJIKA BHANDARI:
But is that something you ever think about? I mean, now that you have been here eight years, I mean, I, I don't even know if you ever plan on having a family but, if you do, is, is that, is that something you thing you think about in the future?
KANWAL RAHMAN:
All the time.
RAJIKA BHANDARI:
Bringing kids up—
KANWAL RAHMAN:
All the time.
RAJIKA BHANDARI:
in a culture that's different from what you grew up in?
KANWAL RAHMAN:
I've always wanted to have a child ever since I was sixteen—. [Laughter] because I'm crazy about babies. I don't know, to me they represent, I don't know, they seem creatures from another space, or, out of space. They're not, er. . . adult human beings, their size and shape. But anyway, I didn't have the opportunity for, to have a child of my own, because I'd like to be—if I bring a child only when it's completely, when I have a good stable financial status and all that—but I do think, that if I brought up a child in the United States, would I really, how would I deal with it. I could put him to public school, but he'll learn a lot of things that I, sort of, didn't grow up with. And, even though I'm a child of the eighties, I still would not agree with a lot of things. My other thought was, if I was affluent, I would probably send him to a boarding school—maybe in India or Bangladesh—where my mother or someone is around, or an aunt to take, keep a check on that, child, whether it's a boy or a girl—.
RAJIKA BHANDARI:
I'm laughing, because my mother keeps telling me that's what I should do, because I went to a private boarding school in India, and I went to the same school she went. And so she keeps telling me this, that if you decide to settle in the US and have kids, just send them over to India and I'll send them to the same boarding school.
KANWAL RAHMAN:
It's only because I think, er. . . I'm proud of my culture. I mean, there's a lot of things that are very good with America But I don't feel the need to be a totally different person and entity, and my children coming to a different entity and saying that oh, I don't know. I've never been to India, or I can't speak Hindi or Bengali. It's just part of, I think, it's a part of the human ego to continue as who you are.
RAJIKA BHANDARI:
Sure.
KANWAL RAHMAN:
And I would—. That's what I thought, if I was affluent, send my child to a very good boarding school in India. Of course, my mother has to have access every now and then, because I think a child away from, er. . . any kind of maternal affection for long, doesn't have a healthy upbringing, mentally.
RAJIKA BHANDARI:
Yeah. Definitely. [pause]
KANWAL RAHMAN:
But the child will come back for college. When he's strong enough, mentally.
RAJIKA BHANDARI:
Have the best of both—.
KANWAL RAHMAN:
Both worlds—.