This item is a video file.

Rani Bagai on "Vaishno Das Bagai's Naturalization Certificate"

Part of a video interview of Rani Bagai conducted on June 3, 2013. In this section, Bagai describes some of the items of her grandfather Vaishno Das Bagai left behind after his suicide in 1928, including several letters to his family he had written in addition to the political suicide letter which was published in newspapers in the U.S. and India.

Early Immigration

Date: June 3, 2013
Subject(s): Rani Bagai, Vaishno Das Bagai
Type: Oral History
Language: English
Creator: Emily McNish
Contributor: Ben Maizell
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Transcribed by Ramisha Ejaz

Rani Bagai (0:00)
He claimed he had lost it or something. And so they told him I said, well, okay, but, you know, you can't, you know, travel with it or anything as a citizen now, so it doesn't do you any good anyway. But that, I think, you know, was very hard for him not being able to go back and visit his family in India. But he, you know, did not give it up and I was actually very astonished to see it, I did not expect that it would be there with his papers because, and I guess I must have asked my dad about it, and he must have told me that, no, the story is that he would not give it up. So to have it, I thought was great because I just didn't think it was the kind of thing that would survive. You know, but apparently, my grandmother kept it, you know, with his things. It was among a few you know, personal effects. There was maybe one book or so that I saw his name in. He had written, you know, it being one of his books. And you know, he had a few legal papers that he had saved, he had some family photos from India he had saved. But, and there were the clippings from the newspaper, you know, when, when the family embarked, you know, at Angel Island, when they were interviewed. I know my grandmother had her nose ring, and she was interviewed by a reporter saying, this is the one of the first women to come from India, you know, with her baby. And so that was saved. And of course, a suicide letter was saved. There were a number actually of additional letters to his family, that he had written also personal letters to them. So it wasn't just the political suicide letter, you know, he, he left some very kind and loving farewells to his family, to his wife. He, in one of them, you know, he encouraged his wife, Kala, my grandmother, to, you know, go out and do things that she longed to do. To, you know, it's like he was saying, be yourself, go out, you know, you have the money, you have the means, now do all! You know, be happy, he wanted her to be happy. And he was, I think, this was his effort at trying to make that happen, you know, trying to make that at least succeed where he couldn't himself do anything more. You know he had kind of done all he could do.

Donor: Emily McNish
Item History: 2013-08-21 (created); 2020-06-17 (modified)

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