This item is a video file.

Interview with Sagar Kothari

Sagar Kothari:
My name is Sagar Kothari. I was born and grew up in Poughkeepsie in upstate NY and mainstreamed in public schools. Starting in Fall 1994, I attended Gallaudet University in Washington, DC for 4 and 1/2 years and majored in biology. After graduation, I went straight to grad school in NYC in 1999 and majored in molecular and cell biology and then went to another graduate school in Boston in 2003 and studied bioinformatics. In 2005, I moved to Maryland for a job and have been living here for 8 and 1/2 years now. I'm a molecular biologist and a bioinformaticist.

My parents, originally from India, moved to the United States over 50 years ago. I'm a first generation American-born Indian, and I'm the only Deaf person in my entire family. While there are many hearing ABCDs in USA, I think there are VERY few Deaf ABCDs out there, while the majority of Deaf people of Indian descent in the US hail directly from India.

I would like hearing people in the South Asian community to be more aware about the Deaf South Asian community and how we communicate in American Sign Language. We are able to function in many things except to hear. I want hearing people to be more aware about relay services whenever a deaf person makes a phone call via VP or TTY. My problem is that after 38 years of life, I have started to realize that hearing people still view me as an handicapped person when I have never felt that way all my life. I want people (including my hearing relatives!) to know my story because it is time to increase their awareness about the Deaf community. Once they understand about our Deaf culture and our communication, they would understand our needs better. Then we would be able to develop a good bond with each other rather than alienate each other and remain ignorant.

* Interview, editing, transcription and translation provided by Sarika Mehta

Date: November 2012
Subject(s): Sagar Kothari
Type: Oral History
Language: American Sign Language (ASL)
Creator: Sarika Mehta
Location: Washington, DC

Donor: Sarika Mehta
Item History: 2013-07-09 (created); 2013-08-13 (modified)

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