50 Years of India's Independence.: Becoming Minnesotan

Vasant Sukhatme, c.2006.
  • Name - Vasant Sukhatme
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 10.11.2004
  • Freedom 50 Souvenir, August 17, 1997.
    Program for IAM’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.

    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Politics & Government: How are other systems of government different than the U.S. government?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    From the mid 1800s until the mid 1900s India was colonized and controlled by the British.  In 1947, India won independence from Great Britain after a long struggle against British rule.  Mohandas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Patel were all Indian leaders who led a successful campaign of non-violent protests against the British. By refusing to fight back during confrontations, the Indian people showed the world the effect of non-violence as a weapon against the brutality and unfair treatment by the British.

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Vasant Sukhatme 1
    1:35 Minutes | 1.52Mb


    Narrator: Vasant Sukhatme (VS)

    Interviewer: Polly Sonifer (PS)

    VS:  In 1997 is when it was the fiftieth anniversary of the achievement of India’s own independence.  India achieved independence in 1947.  So, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of that event, the Indian community here organized a big function, big event, to celebrate that occasion.  At that time, we published a small booklet.  That, also, is something that I’m very happy to have been a part of.

    PS:  What was in that booklet?

    VS:  Oh, that booklet sort of looked at some…  The intent of the booklet was to give to our children and grandchildren a sense of what it was…rather than from history books to learn about India’s independence.  So, what we did in that book was we invited several people to contribute articles.  We went back to the newspapers of fifty years ago in India and extracted certain speeches by, you know, the important people who played a role in India’s independence, like [Mohandas] Gandhi and [Jawaharal] Nehru and [Sardar] Patel and others.  So, we extracted some articles and pieces from their writings.  That, we published in a pamphlet, in a booklet.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  An accomplishment; a goal that is reached.


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Verb:  To take by selection; to choose out; to cite or quote, as a passage from a book.  (extracts, extracting, extracted)


    Noun:  Freedom from dependence and reliance on others.


    Noun:  Motive; purpose (for doing something).


    Noun:  1. Special event or function.  2. A particular happening; an instance or time when something occurred.


    Verb:  To issue a printed work for sale and distribution.  (publishes, publishing, published)


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 581