Interviewees

Gulrajani, Kamlu

Description:

Kamlu Gulrajani was born in 1946 in Karachi, in what was then India and is now Pakistan. In the interview, she discusses the exploitation and abuse faced by her mother from her in-laws as a result of the dowry system and the stigma endured by her mother as a result of being separated from her father and later getting divorced.

In 1950, Kamlu moved to Bandra in Bombay, now Mumbai, with her mother and brother. She attended parochial schools and then went to college at Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, where she studied commerce. In the interview, she discusses languages that she learned while growing up (Hindi, Marathi, Sindhi and English) as well as Indian holidays and Sindhi Hindu festivals and customs. She worked as a bank teller and then officer at Indian Overseas Bank.

Following their father, her brother immigrated to the U.S. in 1979 and settled in Queens. She followed in 1981 and her mother in 1984. Kamlu shares her experiences becoming acclimated to life in the U.S. and the challenges she encountered in entering the American workforce. She continued her education, shifted to information technology, and worked for several major corporations and a hospital. After being laid off during the financial crisis of 2008, she decided on early retirement.

In the mid-1980s, she moved to East Brunswick, where her brother had relocated. Once in New Jersey, she became involved in community service through organizations such as Sathya Sai Baba, Elijah’s Promise, East Brunswick Public Library, East Brunswick Senior Center and YMCA. She serves as an officer in Agraj Seva Kendra, an Indian cultural organization in Middlesex County, and participates in the Indian American Club of Rossmoor in Monroe Township. A student of Brahma Kumaris, a world spiritual organization, she leads meditation and mindfulness sessions.

In the interview, she describes her experiences as a Sindhi Hindu, difficulties she encountered in the workplace, the growth of the South Asian population in Central Jersey, and her own personal and spiritual development over the course of her life and recently during the pandemic. 

The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.