Kamla Bhatt Show
Summary: Connecting the Indian diaspora across the world. It is all about life, people and ideas. Every week we speak to an interesting mix of people about business, technology, films, food, books and a host of other subjects. This is the place to come to listen to a stimulating conversation on India.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/DavidRai-150x131.jpg)"I am an American-Punjabi-Hispanic," is how Lal David Rai, a second generation Punjabi-Mexican describes himself. Meet David, a 3rd generation farmer from Yuba City, Sutter County in Northern California. He comfortably straddles all 3 cultures. Over 100 years ago David's paternal grandfather moved from Punjab in India to the USA and eventually settled down in Arizona. David's mother Mary Singh Ra (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2012/08/02/yuba-citys-rai-family-on-punjabi-mexican-heritage/)i moved to Yuba City, where she married and settled down to raise a family. David's grandfather and father were Sikhs. David grew up straddling 3 different cultures: American, Punjabi and Mexican. At home his parent's spoke Mexican, which is how the early Punjabi immigrants (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/07/17/desis-in-california-prof-leonard-on-early-punjabis/) referred to Spanish, as well as Punjabi and English. Growing up in Yuba City David went to a Catholic Church and the Stockton Gurudwara, which is the oldest gurudwara in the US. Photo credit: Leela Rai Related Links: David Rai: A Farmer’s View on Shortage of Food (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2008/05/02/david-rai-a-farmers-view-on-food-shortage/) (podcast) Dave Teja of Yuba City (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2012/07/21/desis-in-california-meet-dave-teja-of-yuba-city/) (podcast) Desis in California (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvxaksFVNjE&list=UUg24IW2af8JjGE-DCbkPG0g&index=1&feature=plcp)- Dave Teja (video) Desis in California: Prof. Karen Leonard (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/07/17/desis-in-california-prof-leonard-on-early-punjabis/)
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/Rais-YubaCity-150x150.jpg)Meet Mary Singh Rai and her children David and Leela of Yuba City in Sutter County, California. Mary's father Bishan Singh came to America in 1909 and married Ernestine Zuniga. They settled in Arizona and raised their 5 children. Their daughter Mary, a first generation Punjabi-Mexican married Lal Rai and lived in Yuba City. In this interview Mary, David and Leela share their story about growing up in this small farming community. Yuba City (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/07/10/desis-in-california-our-pind-in-yuba-city/) is one of the early towns where Indian immigrants, mostly from Punjab put down their roots in California. Note: The reference to Isabel in the interview is to Mary's sister Carmen Isabel Singh. Photo: Mary Rai with her children David and Leela. Related Links: David Rai: A Farmer's View on Shortage of Food (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2008/05/02/david-rai-a-farmers-view-on-food-shortage/ ) (podcast) Dave Teja of Yuba City (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2012/07/21/desis-in-california-meet-dave-teja-of-yuba-city/) (podcast) Desis in California (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvxaksFVNjE&list=UUg24IW2af8JjGE-DCbkPG0g&index=1&feature=plcp)- Dave Teja (video) Desis in California: Prof. Karen Leonard (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/07/17/desis-in-california-prof-leonard-on-early-punjabis/)
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/AmitavGhosh-KamlaShow-copyright-150x150.jpg)In River of Smoke (http://www.amitavghosh.com/riverofsmoke.html) author Amitav Ghosh (http://www.amitavghosh.com/bio.html) takes us to the heart of opium trade between British India and China. He takes us to 1830s Canton, which was the main outpost for the opium trade. Opium was a major revenue generator for the British and helped offset the balance of trade as Ghosh points out in the interview. Opium was illegal to import into China, but the British found a workaround. The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/books/review/river-of-smoke-by-amitav-ghosh-book-review.html) describes River of Smoke as "exploring the fizzing currents of language, politics, trade and culture that swept through the vast opium network operated by the British East India Company in the 19th century." In this book Ghosh has focussed quite a bit on "the hybridity born of cultural contact, the bastardisations of language in pidgin and port slang," as The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/11/river-smoke-amitav-ghosh-review) put it. River of Smoke is the second volume from The Ibis Trilogy. Sea of Poppies (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jun/07/fiction7) is the first volume of the trilogy, where Ghosh takes us to the heartland of India where the poppy seeds for the opium is grown. Sea of Poppies was published in 2008. In this wide-ranging interview Ghosh talks about how he wrote River of Smoke, his writing process and his study in 3 different cities. He also shares his fascination with evolution of language and the influence of Portuguese on Indian languages. He touches upon the common cultural bonds between India and China. One of the surprising findings of the opium trade was the role of prominent American families and there is an American character in River of Smoke. This interview was recorded at Kepler's Books (http://www.keplers.com/) in Menlo Park, California.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/YubaCity_Kang_DaveTeja-0031-150x150.jpg)There is a place in Northern California that is home to an interesting mix of people of Indian origin. That place is Sutter county (http://www.co.sutter.ca.us/doc/visiting/countyhistory/county_history)and the town where the early Indians settled is called Yuba Cit (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/07/10/desis-in-california-our-pind-in-yuba-city/)y. By the close of the 19thc a small band of Indians mostly from the Punjab province made their way to the west coast of California lured by stories of vast land and money. That those stories about vast tracts of land and wealth travelled to Asia is not surprising when you consider that Sutter county was the gateway to the famous "gold rush" of 1849 that drew young people from all over the world, including many from China. By the end of the 19thc when the early Indian immigrants (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/07/17/desis-in-california-prof-leonard-on-early-punjabis/)came to this part of the world they came here to farm. By the early 20thc there was a small community of Punjabis in Yuba City and that is where Gurudev "Dave" Teja grew up in the 1940s and 1950s. He became a lawyer and served as Sutter county's district attorney. He probably was the first person of Indian origin to serve as a district attorney in the US as he pointed prior to recording the interview. Just like many members of the Indian community Dave automatically recited the name of his father and the village his father belonged in Punjab. "My father was Bachan Singh Teja, and he was the son of Inder Singh. He was Jindran (sp?) in Jalandhar district in Punjab." Dave's father traveled by sea via Suez Canal to New York on SS City of Beneras and went to study in Minnesota and Arkansas. In 1931 his father married an American. "Mom was of Norwegian ancestry," says Dave and is quick to point out "Marriages between Anglo women and Indians were banned in California in 1931." In this interview Dave describes how his father arrived in the US, and about his grand-uncles who came before his father did. Through his oral recollections Dave paints a vivid portrait of what it was like to live and grown up in the farming community of Sutter County in the 1940s and 1950s, and how he developed his notion of India. Books by John Masters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Masters) and EM Forster fuelled and sustained his curiosity about the country that his father came from. This interview was recorded in 2008 in Yuba City. I spent a good part of the day driving around Yuba City and visiting his office and his favorite Indian restaurant while he regaled me with a series of anecdotes and stories and this interview is just a small segment of it. Dave (http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/teja-97837-corona-attorney.html) passed away in August 2010. He was 71 years old.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/MonaGlennWebber-150x150.jpg)Bangalore (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/05/16/bangalore/) was a pensioner's paradise in the 20thc. "It was a lively place and every town had a youth center," says Glenn Webber, who grew up in Bangalore in the 1940s and 1950s. "Restaurants used to be open till 2-3 am," says Mona Webber, his sister. Their conversation is peppered with names like MacIver Town, Tasker Town, Austin Town, Cox Town, BVR and The Only Place (http://youtu.be/DAhcfU-sW5o), many of these names are unknown to the new denizens of Bangalore. The Webber siblings belong to a small band of Anglo-Indians (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2012/05/10/a-tour-of-the-anglo-indian-kitchen-table/), who decided to stay back in Bangalore (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/06/12/peter-colacos-bangalore/). Both left their hometown for brief periods, but discovered that Bangalore is where their heart belonged. "I just did not like the developed world," says Glenn. "I am totally living in the past," says Mona. The siblings take us back to a nostalgic-drenched trip of living in the cantonment area of Bangalore (http://youtu.be/R61aRxbQMZk). Their days were filled music, dance, good food and friends. They had jam sessions in the afternoon or hung out at Koshy's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCy1poWZ2jw&feature=plcp) or Thom's by the juke box or went for long walks in the tree-lined streets of the cantonment area. For Mona, summer weekend afternoon meant a Hollywood film followed by an ice-cream treat at Lake View or a picnic at Cubbon Park. Interestingly, American influence was pretty dominant in Bangalore from 1940s through 1970s and it came via music, Hollywood films, discotheques and the iconic American restaurant The Only Place (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/05/22/the-only-place-a-little-bit-of-americana-in-bangalore/). But, this is not the Bangalore you see today. Silicon Valley of India is the new label for 21st c Bangalore known for its hi-tech industry, high rise buildings and traffic jams.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/Cecy_profile1-150x150.jpg)Kora Chandy (http://www.hindu.com/mp/2004/03/01/stories/2004030102340300.htm) was Bangalore's chronicler of 20thc. In this interview Chandy's daughter Ceclia (Cecy) Anthrapar talks about how her father developed his interest in the old, charming city. Trained as a lawyer in Kerala, he came to Bangalore (http://kamlashow.com/blog/2012/05/16/bangalore/) in 1930 and worked for the British residency and then went to work in the Bangalore's High Court. He helped TP Issar chronicle Bangalore's architecture history. But now that old, charming Bangalore has faded and given way to a new city that is in a hurry to play catch up with other metros. "He would have been totally lost in this new city," Cecy points out. Chandy (http://www.maheshbhat.com/port/portraitwebgallery/pages/35.html)wrote extensively about old Bangalore in City Tab (that no longer exists) and The Hindu. He researched and knew the stories and anecdotes of many of the charming old buildings (http://asia-major.com/reviews/jana/mayohall.html), homes (http://www.oocities.org/athens/Olympus/5024/cubhot.htm) and streets in Bangalore's cantonment area. Places like Golden Threshold (http://asia-major.com/reviews/jana/birds.html) and Victoria Hotel no longer exist. And in the last few years Bangalore's famous monkey top homes (http://kamlashow.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/TajMonkeyTop.jpg) have disappeared at an alarming rate, and in their place stand tall, modern apartment buildings. His interest in the history of Bangalore was planted in the 1930s by his former boss Sir Trevelyan, British Resident of Bangalore. From 1930s till the end of the century Chandy spent all his free time collecting and sharing information about Bangalore. Sir Trevrlyan later become the British Ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Cold War period. Chandy worked for Mysore Residency Office from 1930 to 1947, and then as Secretary of the Civil Station Municipal Commission from 1947 to 1950. From 1950-1963 he worked as the Deputy Registrar of the High Court and then retired. He was given the powers to register Christian Civil Marriages.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/Bridget-150x150.jpg)A tour of the Anglo-Indian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Indian) kitchen table with Bangalore-based Bridget White Kumar (http://anglo-indianfood.blogspot.in/2010/05/article-on-bridget-white-kumar-in-hindu.html)reveals a list of interesting sounding dishes like bubble and squeak, pepper water, Bengal Lancers shrimp curry, railway mutton curry (http://bridgetkumar.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/railway-mutton-lamb-curry/), dak bunglow curry, Hussainy curry, foogath (http://anglo-indianrecipes.blogspot.in/2011/01/beans-foogath.html), pepper okra, bread pudding, carmel custard (http://anglo-indianfood.blogspot.in/search/label/Caramel%20Custard) and shandy. Bridget deconstructs these dishes in the interview and takes us through a typical day in a Anglo-Indian kitchen right from breakfast, lunch to dinner and drinks. (Link to a video interview (http://bit.ly/KEZt1F) with Bridget.) Anglo-Indian food is a fusion or a hybrid cuisine that evolved during the colonial period of India (17thc onwards) and initially had more of a European flavor with some Indian spices thrown in explains Bridget, author of several books on Anglo-Indian cuisine. Over the years, Anglo-Indian food has acquired more of a regional flavor points out Bridget. Bangalore once had a strong and dynamic Anglo-Indian community in the cantonment area, but over the years it has shrunk to a small, but tight-knit community. An upshot of the migration and re-location of the Anglo-Indians to other parts of the world meant that many of the old, family recipes have either been lost or forgotten. Bridget is on a mission to rescue and preserve the old, forgotten recipes cooked during her grandmother's time. She recently worked (http://anglo-indianfood.blogspot.in/2012/05/colonial-anglo-indian-dishes-show-cased.html) with Bangalore's Taj West End for their upcoming Anglo-Indian food festival that is part of their 125 years celebrations. The West End turns 125 years old this year and Anglo-Indian dishes were a regular fair at the hotel for over 100 years. Born and brought up in Kolar Gold Field, Bridget moved to Bangalore in the early 1970s. She worked in a bank for several years and took an early retirement, and pursued her passion in preserving the heritage of the Anglo-Indian cuisine. Related Links: Glenda Michelle Singh on Anglo-Indians of Lucknow - video (http://bitly.com/eAscso)and audio (http://bitly.com/fdinSQ).
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/Bangalore-Cartoonist-Paul-Fernandes1-150x150.jpg)Meet Bangalore's cartoonist Paul Fernandes, who found that he could not stay away from the city even if he wanted to. There is something about this "city of pubs," "pensioner's paradise," "garden city" that keeps him grounded and happy. It is the many moods of that happy, delightful and lazy charm of an old Bangalore that infuses his cartoons and illustrations (video (http://bit.ly/IqNMdy) link). Born and brought up in the cantonment area of Bangalore, Paul is happiest when he is driving around the neighborhood in his familiar bike. These trips let him soak in the old charms of Bangalore and notice those tiny details about life and people, which he then files away carefully in his cupboard of memories. When the time is right he sorts through his cupboard of memories and highlights them in his work. Embedded in his work are Bangalore icons like monkeytop houses, BVR, Koshys, Plaza Cinema, St. Joseph's (his alma mater), Commercial Street and Taj Westend. Dogs, cars and bikes are a constant and recurring leitmotif in his works. PG Wodehouse meets Mario Miranda (http://mariodemiranda.com/) is the thought that flashes through your mind when you look at the series of happy and humorous illustrations in his gallery aPaoulogy (http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/photos/apaulogy-where-art-meets-cartoon-slideshow/apaulogy-photo-1334593995.html). His work is a homage to a "swinging Bangalore" of the 1970s and it captures a city that no longer exists except in the minds and works of old Bangaloreans like Paul. After working in the advertisement industry for years Paul hung up his hat and is now focussed on running his gallery Apaulogy. Paul has illustrated a number of books including Peter Colaco's Bangalore and On A High Note (http://www.hindu.com/mp/2007/11/28/stories/2007112850650400.htm)as well as his own Shine Board Arts.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/mohan-129x150.jpg)Mohandas Pai on education, investment and IPO in part-2 of our conversation. He is the chairperson of the board of Manipal Global Education Services (http://www.manipalglobal.com/) that has schools and educational institutions in India, Malaysia, Dubai and Antigua. Interestingly, the California Educational System serves as a role model for Manipal's educational system. What prompted Mohan to join Manipal Global Education Services after he left his job at Infosys? Is there an IPO in the cards for Manipal? How did his passion for education begin? At Infosys he helped build the corporate university for the company. Mohan sits on the boards of many educational institutions around India. Central to Mohan's thinking is the role of education in transforming people, who in turn transform their community and country. While education is a force multiplier, there are challenges that need to be ironed out in the Indian system as he points out in the interview. Besides education, startups and innovation are on Mohan's radar at the moment. Along with Ranjan Pai he started a private equity fund that invests in startups in biotech and e-commerce space. In case, you missed here is the link to Part-1 of our conversation (http://bit.ly/HSBBB3), where he talks about how he joined Infosys and his interest in all things financial.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/mohan-129x150.jpg)How do you keep a company financially healthy? How do you deal with the capital structure and the financial forecasting of a company? That is the challenge many companies face, and having an efficient and effective Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is key to the financial success of a company. Meet Mohandas Pai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.V._Mohandas_Pai), who has carved out a niche for himself in Indian's financial and accounting world. As the CFO of Infosys (http://www.infosys.com), one of India's largest IT company, Mohan (http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/india/article.cfm?articleid=4680) implemented a series of international compliant accounting standards and processes at the company and won recognition for it. His next stint at Infosys was as the head of Human Resources, Education and Research. Mohan appears to have brought in the same kind of vigor, energy and process-driven mechanism that he appears to favor and helped build Infosys campus in Mysore. In 2011 Mohan shifted gears and went from Infosys and joined Manipal Global Education Services and is currently the chairperson of the board there. Along with Ranjan Pai (http://188.8.131.52/businessworld/businessworld/content/We-Have-Enough-Funds.html), he is also an investor and they recently invested (http://bit.ly/HUP11A ) in Bangalore-based company BookAdda (http://www.bookadda.com/). In Part 1 of our interview Mohan talks about how his interest in the financial world developed as a teenager and his fascination with reading the annual reports of companies. He shares a very interesting story of howe he how he was recruited into Infosys by Nandan Nilekani (http://bit.ly/JpKy4o) and about his stint at the IT company that put Bangalore on the world map. You can watch a short video clip interview (http://bit.ly/Jd2LCO) with Mohan. Tune back in for Part-2 of our interview with Mohan.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/NandanNilekani-150x150.jpg)Nandan Nilekani (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandan_Nilekani) is the co-founder and former head of Infosys. This is the company that put Bangalore on the global map. New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman (http://bit.ly/4Le0J0) credits Nandan for coining that famous phrase The World Is Flat (http://bit.ly/5iYJbc), which became the title of his book. Banglaore-based Infosys is one of the best Indian success stories. Founded during the "License Raj (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licence_Raj)" phase, the founders persisted and grew their company from a small entity to a huge, global IT powerhouse. In 2009 Nandan left Infosys and joined the Government of India when Prime Minister Singh appointed him to a cabinet level position. He currently heads the Unique Identification Authority of India (http://uidai.gov.in/). In the middle of his hectic life, Nandan carved out time to write his book Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation (http://bit.ly/7QRTr0). The book was published in March 2009 in the US, and I caught up with him in Silicon Valley while he was on an extended book tour. In Part-1 of the interview Nandan talks about his appearance in Jon Stewart's show, the structure and essence of his book, the challenges facing a new and emerging India, entrepreneurship and the startup culture in India. You can listen to Part-2 (http://bit.ly/HLvHWR )of the interview here. Here is a short video clip interview with Nandan (http://bit.ly/Ir48yx ). Photo credit: World Economic Forum
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/NandanNilekani-150x150.jpg)In Part-2 of the interview Nandan Nilekani (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandan_Nilekani) talks the changing dynamics of Indian political landscape, especially in the federal-state relationship. What can India learn from China? What is needed for India to move forward? What is missing? These were some of the questions he answered. In case you missed, you can listen to Part-1 (http://bit.ly/7y1Mb8ttp://) of the conversation, where Nandan talks about his appearance in Jon Stewart's show, his book Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation (http://bit.ly/7QRTr0), and the challenges facing a new and emerging India. Nandan is co-founder and former CEO of Infosys (http://www.infosys.com/), an Indian IT powerhouse that was founded during India's famous "License Raj (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licence_Raj)," phase. Thomas Friedman (http://bit.ly/4Le0J0) in his book credits Nandan for coining that famous phrase, which became the title of his book: The World Is Flat. Currently, Nandan heads the Unique Identification Authority of India (http://uidai.gov.in/). He was appointed to this position by Indian Prime Minister Singh in June 2009. Here is a video clip interview with Nandan (http://bit.ly/Ir48yx ). In case, you missed here is the link to Part-1 (http://bit.ly/JpKy4o ) of our interview with Nandan. Photo credit: World Economic Forum.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/ChandanLokesh_GoldDosa-150x150.jpg)Meet Bangalore's gold dosa creator: Chandan Lokesh. Yes, in Chandan' restaurant the ordinary dosa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dosa) or lentil crepe has been redfined and re-imagined and has a touch of gold. "Taste redfined," is the rather apt tagline of his new multi-cuisine restaurant Rajbhog in Malleshwaram, Bangalore. With the introduction of "gold dosa" or "golden dosa" Chandan has certainly "redefined" the taste in this old neighborhood of Bangalore famous for its darshinis and restaurants like Central Tiffin Room (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Tiffin_Room_Bangalore) (now called Sai Sagar), Adigas or Veena Stores. What inspired Chandan to create this "gold dosa" that costs Rs. 1100 (about $22)? Tune in to find out. Here's a short video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCeaZPYRKdw&list=UUg24IW2af8JjGE-DCbkPG0g&index=1&feature=plcp) interview about the "Gold" dosa.
(http://kamlashow.com/podcast/wp-content/uploads/SteveHamm-150x128.jpg)Steve Hamm's Bangalore Tiger: How Indian Tech Upstart Wipro Is Rewriting the Rules of Global Competition traces the growth and success of Azim Premji (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2006/03/09/azim-premji-of-wipro-from-new-york-stock-exchange/) and his company Wipro (http://www.wipro.com/). Wipro is one of the largest Information Technology (IT) companies of India. Wipro, along with Infosys are the two major IT companies that put Bangalore on the global map, and transformed this once laid-back pensioner's paradise into a hi-tech hub. Mr. Premji is a low-keyed billionaire, known for his frugal ways. Mr. Premji's (http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10068) father founded Western India Products Limited (Wipro) in 1945 in Amalner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalner), Maharashtra. Originally, Wipro manufactured sunflower vegetable oil. In the 1960s Mr. Premji took over the reins of Wipro, after his father's sudden death. At that time he was studying Electric Engineering at Stanford University, which he had to leave unfinished. In the 1980s Mr. Premji steered the company in a new direction - computers and IT services and by the end of 20thc Wipro emerged as one of the top IT companies in India. He also relocated Wipro from Maharashtra to Bangalore, Karnataka, which is where it is currently headquartered. How did he do it? How did Wipro build its Global Delivery Model and Offshore Delivery Centers? These are the questions that Hamm set out to find in his book. Hamm (https://twitter.com/#!/stevehamm31) was with Businessweek when he wrote the book. He is currently a communication strategist at IBM. You can also listen to my interview with Azim Premji (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2006/03/09/azim-premji-of-wipro-from-new-york-stock-exchange/) from the New York Stock Exchanged recorded in February in 2006. This podcast was originally published in October 2006 in Podtech.
(http://kamlashow.com/content/900030/featurephotos/coverart/SpyPrrincessAuthorShrabaniBasu.jpg)Spy Princess: Noor Inayat Khan is a biography written by London-based Shrabani Basu. Noor is an intriguing historical figure for a number of reasons , including a Bangalore/Mysore connection through the famous Tipu Sultan. She was the only woman spy of Indian heritage that fought in World War II, and was also the first woman radio operator trained by the British. She is also the great, great, great grand daughter of Tipu Sultan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipu_Sultan), aka, the Mysore Tiger on her father's side and her American mother was a distant cousin of Mary Eddy Baker (http://womenshistory.about.com/library/bio/ucbio_mary_baker_eddy.htm), the founder of Christian Science movement. Noor (http://accidentalblogger.typepad.com/accidental_blogger/2007/01/spy_princess_th.html) was born in Moscow, Russia in 1914, and grew up in England and France. When World War II broke out in 1939 Noor became the first woman radio operator and deployed as a spy to France in 1942, where she fought on the side of the French Resistance. Noor (http://www.64-baker-street.org/agents/agent_fany_noor_inayat_khan.html) operated successfully in her undercover role until she was betrayed by somebody within her circuit and arrested by the Germans. For 10 months the Germans held her in solitary confinement and she was finally killed at the infamous Dachau concentration camp in 1944. At the time of her death the Germans did not know of her real identity nor that she was of Indian heritage. Noor was posthumously awarded the George Cross MBE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Cross), and Croix de Guerre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croix_de_Guerre). She was only 30 years old when she was killed by the Germans. I caught up with Shrabani while she was on her US book tour to find out more about this intriguing, historical figure, who was a gentle musician and a fighter. And yet, she had a very strong and fierce side to her. It took four people to pin her down when she was held in prison by the Germans points out Shrabani. Well-known Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal (http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2006/04/16/filmmaker-shyam-benegal-final-episode/) is currently working on a script on Noor Inayat Khan, based on Shrabani's book. You can also watch this short video clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0Jg3kY6NkQ)with the author of Shrabani Basu. This interview was originally published in 2008. The interview was recorded in Silicon Valley.