Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Tahira Minhaj Servaes, January 4, 2008

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:21 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Well, let me just do a quick introduction and then, and then let's start.

Segment Synopsis: Servaes recounts her childhood in India. Her father, siblings, and educational path are described. Additionally, the interviewee discusses her move to Pakistan as a teenager.

Keywords: Aligarh (India); Burka; College; Cooks; Houses; Lahore College for Women; Lucknow (India); Master's degrees; Pakistan; Punjab (Pakistan); Siblings; Tutors; University

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Engineering; Father

GPS: Aligarh (India)
Map Coordinates: 27.88, 78.08
00:07:37 - Boston, Massachusetts

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Partial Transcript: In '58 I left, I was--the third of October I was in Boston

Segment Synopsis: Servaes discusses her move to Boston for educational purposes. How she obtained her PhD at Boston University is explored. Additionally, the personal life of Servaes during this time is examined.

Keywords: Boston (Mass.); Boston University; Careers; Master's degrees; PhD; Telecommunications engineering

Subjects: Children; Computers; Education; Marriage; Physics; Teaching

00:14:22 - Aligarh Muslim University

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I'm gonna ask you, let's--can we go back and talk about Aligarh a little bit?

Segment Synopsis: Servaes talks of Aligarh Muslim University, and what it was like to attend the women's college there. Student life at that time is examined. The interviewee also discusses her life outside of academics, including her family.

Keywords: Aligarh Muslim University; Aligarh Women's College; Arabic language; Classes; Urdu language

Subjects: Education; Literacy; Mother; Qur'an; Theology; Writing

GPS: Aligarh Muslim University
Map Coordinates: 27.915009, 78.078793
00:20:45 - Religion and education

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Partial Transcript: And, how central do you feel, do you remember from your childhood was Islam in your household?

Segment Synopsis: Servaes recalls her religious upbringing in the Islamic faith. The importance of religion in the home is assessed. Then, the interviewee summarizes her secular education, which began at an English-speaking convent school in India. The interviewee's experience of attending the women's college at Aligarh Muslim University is also shared.

Keywords: Aligarh Muslim University; Aligarh Women's College; Convent schools; Friends; Gardens; India; Labs; Northern India; University

Subjects: Education; English; Girls; Hinduism; Islam; Prayers; Professors; Religion; Single-sex classes (Education); Sister; Trees; Zoology

GPS: Aligarh Muslim University
Map Coordinates: 27.915009, 78.078793
00:30:50 - Move to Pakistan

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Partial Transcript: Um, and what--tell me about the year that you spent in Lahore. Why did you choose to leave Aligarh at that time?

Segment Synopsis: Servaes explains why she and her cousins and sisters decided to move to Pakistan following the partition. Servaes details the year that she spent living there, attending a science-oriented university. The town and university are both described. Lastly, the interviewee gives her reasons as to why she returned to Aligarh within a year of moving to Pakistan.

Keywords: Aligarh Muslim University; Buses; Classes; Friends; Immigration; Lahore (Pakistan); Location; Pakistan; Schools; Trains; University

Subjects: Cousins; Mother; Science; Sisters; Uncles; Violence

GPS: Lahore (Pakistan)
Map Coordinates: 31.549722, 74.343611
00:46:03 - National identity / interviewer

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Partial Transcript: So when you are in the U.S., and you've been gone now for so long--

Segment Synopsis: Servaes reveals which country she identifies with most, India or Pakistan. Servaes is found to identify more frequently with India. The interviewee also talks of nationality in the context of her American husband, as well as her children. Finally, the interviewer briefly explains her personal connection to India and Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: Family; Husband; India; Nationality; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; United States

Subjects: Children; Citizenship; Grandmother; Sister