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Those We Lost: Memorializing South Asian American Lives That Perished on September 11, 2001

Those We Lost: Memorializing South Asian American Lives That Perished on September 11, 2001

  • There were scores of members of minority communities who perished in the terrorist attacks on hijacked flights, WTC towers and the Pentagon, including Hindus, Muslims and Christians of South Asian origin. We remember.

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we honor people of South Asian origin who died in the attacks on that fateful day. We are memorializing South Asian victims to highlight the fact that there were many members of minority communities and ethnicities that were killed in the attacks. Additionally, these communities, unfortunately, continue to be victims of racial and religious profiling post-9/11. The names mentioned below may not be an exhaustive list of South Asians who perished on 9/11 as we could only identify them as such through their names. Although we have singled out the South Asian victims, we remember all those who were killed that day, irrespective of their ethnicity.

Alok Agarwal, Indian American, 36, Kendall Park, N.J.

Alok Agarwal

Alok Agarwal came to the U.S. in 1997, leaving behind his wife, Shafali, and his son, Ankush. Within a few months, Shafali joined her husband in New Jersey, but Ankush, who suffers from a chronic fever and cough, stayed behind with relatives. Three and a half weeks before the attack on the World Trade Center, the Agarwals spent a lazy day together, hanging around their Jersey City apartment, going to a mall. His wife was leaving for her annual trip back home to Delhi. “This is your last time going to India,” he told her. “When you go back home, I feel lonely in the house..” But she had to return to India, to care for Ankush, 8. It was equally important for Alok to stay. He was the only one allowed to work in this country, and he was a computer technician for Cantor Fitzgerald. On an August day, he saw his wife off at the airport. He was supposed to see her in Delhi in November.  — The New York Times

Mukul K. Agarwala, Indian American, 37, Kendall Park, N.J. 

After he folded an Internet company in San Diego in 1996 spring, Agarwala moved back east to be near his parents in Kendall Park, N.J., because they were in failing health. Agarwala’s widow, Rhea Stone, told PennLive that hot long after they met in Hong Kong in 1993, he saw a newspaper article about a mistreated domestic worker who, like Agarwala’s parents, had come from India. He went to the Indian diplomatic mission and paid her fare back home. Stone said her husband’s enthusiasms ranged from snowboarding to reading history to old movies. She could not remember how many times they had watched “Casablanca.” On Sept. 11, Agarwala was on his second day as a research analyst on software for Fiduciary Trust. — PennLive 

 Shabbir Ahmed, Bangladeshi American, 44, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Shabbir Ahmed

Shabbir Ahmed had worked as a waiter in his share of swank city restaurants since immigrating from Bangladesh in 1981, but Windows on the World was such a favorite that he stayed 11 years. His son Thanbir, 16, thinks it was because the management and customers treated him the same way he treated them: nicely and politely. Also, he was earning a salary that made his dream in life — providing a college education for his three children — a real option; his oldest daughter, 19, attends Brooklyn College. Fishing excursions to Gerritsen Creek and Sheepshead Bay were his favorite getaways: they reminded him of his boyhood. While he preferred to let his wife, Jeba, and his children clean whatever trout, catfish or bluefish he caught, he did lend a hand with the grilling. When Ahmed was not off fishing in his leisure hours, he was tending to the backyard vegetable garden in Marine Park, Brooklyn, a responsibility he traded with his brother on an annual basis. This summer it was his turn: chilies, squash, eggplant and tomatoes made up this year’s crop, but not all of them flourished. It seems he was more vigilant pursuing fish than he was yanking weeds and spreading fertilizer. — The New York Times

Anil T. Bharvaney, Indian American, 41, East Windsor, N.J,

Anil T. Bharvaney

Anil T. Bharvaney’s personal geography knew no bounds. Born in Poona, India, he grew up in Kobe, Japan, went to college in San Jose, Calif., worked in New York and lived in East Windsor. “He was at home with any culture,” said Pandora Po Bharvaney, his wife, a Chinese immigrant who met Bharvaney at New York University. Wherever he was, she said, he fit in. “He was soft-spoken and could calm people down,” she said. “That goes well with any culture.” He was unbounded in his interests, too. At 41, he was a senior vice president in equities trading at Instinet Corporation. On Sept. 11, he was attending a conference at Windows on the World. He liked to walk in the woods around his home and take photos. He was passionate about classical jazz, like John Coltrane. And he read philosophy, taking the Tao, the Chinese way of simplicity and selflessness, to heart. — The New York Times

Bella Bhukhan, Indian immigrant from Zambia, 24, Union, N.J.

Bella Bhukhan

Bhukhan danced the part of the youngest with a certain spark. Of the three sisters, she was the most playful, the most stubborn, the bluntest – in a sense, the most western. Raised in a Gujarati family who settled in Union, N.J., after migrating from Zambia, she was the defiant one who returned from a Cancún vacation with a tattoo on her lower back. Yet she also embraced her Indian heritage. At her eldest sister Vicky’s wedding last month, Bhukhan performed a traditional Indian dance wearing a long brown and gold skirt, sleeveless top and jewelry that glittered and clattered. With her engaging smile, Bella was a people person. At the Cantor Fitzgerald memorial service, her family was struck by how many employees, especially the foreign-born, remembered how well Bhukhan took care of them in the human resources department. That was the role this youngest sister assumed at home, too: “The three of us were best friends and she was very upset I was moving so far away,” said Vicky Tailor. “She always told my in-laws to take care of me and called every other day to see if I was being treated right.”

Swarna Chalasani, Indian American33, Jersey City, N.J.

Swarna Chalasani

Swarna Chalasani was a vice president at Fiduciary Trust and was last seen on the 94th floor of 2 World Trade Center on the day of the attack. Her first name means “gold” in Hindi, though her family called her Minny. “She was the smallest of the three girls, and the cutest,” her sister, Sandhya told The New York Times. If she had a taste for the exotic, she also had a knack for making her home into a comfortable palace. There were beautiful paintings and shelves full of books. There were plants and scented candles. “She treated these things likes sacred objects,” her mother, Lakshmi, said. The lost echoes of her full-throated laughter. The memory of her smile across the dinner table. Her postcards mailed from distant countries. This is all that remains of Chalasani. Her family guards them like the sacred objects they have now become. — The New York Times

Abdul K. Chowdhury, Bangladeshi, 30, New York, N.Y.

Abdul K. Chowdhury

Always a good student, a remarkable score in the TOEFL paved Chowdhury’s way to get admission in a U.S. school. He studied computer science in Staten Island College, New York which enabled him to join Reuters as an analyst. He then joined Cantor Fitzgerald in early 1996 where he continued until September 11, 200. Chowdhury worked on the 103rd floor of 1 TWC and worked a network associate. He was extremely intelligent, loyal to family, laws of the land/country, to work. —

Mohammad Salahuddin Chowdhury, Bangladeshi American, 38, Woodside, N.Y

Mohammad Salahuddin Chowdhury

Chowdhury believed that New York was the place to succeed — especially if you were confident, smart and very good-looking. He was supporting his pregnant wife and 6-year-old daughter by serving banquets at Windows on the World, but that was only temporary. He had a master’s degree in physics from Bangladesh, where he grew up, and had studied real estate and computer science in this country. After a few doleful years in Baltimore, he was determined to stay in New York. He knew something good would come up. Meanwhile, he had a new baby to look forward to. It was due in September. “If it’s a boy,” he told Baraheen Ashrafi, his wife, “we’ll have a perfect family.” On Sept. 13, Farqad Chowdhury was born — 8 pounds 10 ounces, with deep black eyes like his father’s. — The New York Times

Annette Dataram, Guyanese American, 25, Queens, N.Y. 

Annette Dataram

Dataram worked in accounting for Windows on the World at 1 World Trade Center and planned to pursue a bachelor’s degree to further her career as an accountant. But the 25- year-old’s real passion seemed to be food, not that served at the famous restaurant where she worked, but her own. “Get me a big fish, I’m going to bake it,” she would tell her mother after watching one of the cooking television shows she loved. Then she would cook the new recipe for her parents, her sister and her two brothers, with whom she lived in Queens. “Yes, it was very good,” Chandra Dataram said of her oldest daughter’s culinary abilities. She said her daughter, who was engaged to be married next year, was quiet and simple, not “a dressed-up type,” but was also driven and ambitious. In New York City for the last nine years, the family had come to this country from Guyana to take advantage of its opportunities, she said, and her daughter was certainly making it. 

Syed Abdul Fatha, Indian, 54, Newark, N.J. .

Syed Abdul Fatha

For Syed Abdul Fatha, there were only family and faith. He was a Muslim who often prayed five times a day according to Muslim practice. He worked at the Pitney Bowes copy center at Aon Insurance in the World Trade Center, and when the work slowed he studied the Koran. “He was going to buy me a Koran in Spanish because he wanted me to know about his religion,” said Beatriz Soto, a co-worker. When Joanna Lewis, new on the job, botched a large copy order, Fatha stayed calm. “He’d say ‘No problem; we just have to do it over again,’” Lewis said. When Fatha came to the United States in 1995 he left six children and an ex-wife at home in Bangalore, India. He married an American citizen, but that union also failed. In Newark, where he lived and worshiped, he met Nauza Umurally, a Muslim woman from Guyana. They were married in a Muslim ceremony in 1998. Umurally said Fatha had planned to become a naturalized citizen. Then he was going to bring his children to America. Fatha had few friends outside the mosque and few interests outside of prayer. But he had his family, and an intimate relationship with his God. And that, he told others, was enough.  — The New York Times

Kiran Reddy Gopu, Indian, 25, Bridgeport, Conn. 

Kiran Reddy Gopu

No matter what cellular telephone plan he had, Kiran Gopu exceeded the limit of allowable calls. He talked to his friends constantly, and when his younger sister, Deepa, came to the United States from India, he called her every day. As a foreign graduate student studying at the University of Bridgeport for his master’s degree in computer science, thousands of miles from his home in southern India, Mr. Gopu, 25, was intent on maintaining ties with his friends. When his former roommate Vamshidhar Velpula did not get into the graduate school of his choice, Gopu applied to Bridgeport for him. As a roommate, Velpula could say candidly that Gopu “wasn’t a perfect human being.” But he said that what most characterized his friend was his pursuit of personal advancement. Gopu practiced meditation and read widely. He was devoted to classical Indian music. And he studied hard. His plans started to come together in August when he was hired by Marsh & McLennan as a software engineer. “His dream was to work at the World Trade Center,” said Deepa Gopu. “He called me to say, ‘You wouldn’t know how it feels to be at the financial center of the world.’” — The New York Times

Salman Mohammed Hamdani, Pakistani American, 23, Bayside, N.Y.

Hamdani was an emergency medical technician and police cadet, and that morning as terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City, he rushed to the scene to help. Like thousands of others, Salman never came home that night. “We went searching for him in different hospitals and his name was not there,” his mother, Talat Hamdani, told The New York Times. In the weeks after Sept. 11, Hamdani was wrongfully linked as an accomplice to the attacks. “I remember there was a flyer circulating about Salman,” Talat told Time Times. “It said ‘Wanted by Terrorist Task Force.’ Reporters printed his picture and published an article that said ‘Missing or Hiding?’” Despite this history, Mohammad Salman Hamdani is nowhere to be found in the long list of fallen first responders at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. Nor can his name be found among those of victims whose bodies were found in the wreckage of the north tower, where his body was finally discovered in 34 parts. Instead, his name appears on the memorial’s last panel for World Trade Center victims, next to a blank space along the south tower perimeter, with the names of others who did not fit into the rubrics the memorial created to give placements meaning. That section is for those who had only a loose connection, or none, to the World Trade Center. — The New York Times

Ricknauth Jaggernauth, Guyanese American, 58, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ricknauth Jaggernauth

Every day when he came home to Brooklyn from his construction job, Ricknauth Jaggernauth would grab a beer and sit in his front yard, and play with his grandchildren and other neighborhood children until it was time for dinner. “My father was a happy, loving, giving man,” his daughter Anita, 31, told The New York Times. “He loved to talk to young people about their lives and about how important it was to get a good education.” He would have only one or two beers, but his wife, Joyce, teased him and called him “drunkie grandpa,” a nickname the children used for him. He came here from Guyana 19 years ago, and worked for a company that was renovating offices in the World Trade Center. The day it was attacked, they were working on the 104th floor of the first tower. Jaggernauth planned to retire in two years and wanted to visit his homeland. He had five children and three grandchildren, and all lived together in the family’s two-story house on Pennsylvania Avenue. His daughter said that if his body is recovered, the family will have a traditional Hindu funeral for him. “It’s what he did for his own mother,” she said. — The New York Times

Yudh V.S. Jain, Indian American, 54, New City, N.Y.

Yudh V.S. Jain

Jain was his wife’s dream. He encouraged her to buy clothes. He did the grocery shopping and showered her with flowers and greeting cards on not-so-special days. And every night, he remembered to make her a cup of tea. Despite her husband’s devotion, Sneh Jain often joked that Jain’s first wife was his studies. Long after he finished his formal schooling, Jain, who had doctorates in computer science and chemical engineering, continued to study and upgrade his skills. His discipline rubbed off on his two daughters and Sneh Jain, who sometimes struggled with her accounting job. “He used to make me calm down,” she told The New York Times. “He said nothing is difficult if you put your mind to it.” Jain was also an ethicist. He had only been at his job as a senior project manager at eSpeed Inc. for a little over a month when he decided the position was not a good fit for him. But rather than leave immediately, he decided to stay on and finish a project he had begun. A few weeks after Sept. 11, Sneh Jain received medicine for her migraine headaches in the mail. She was surprised because her husband usually bought it for her. “I said, ‘Oh my God, maybe he’s hiding somewhere, and maybe he’s teasing me,’” she said. But it was just Jain being Jain; he had ordered her medicine on Sept. 10. — The New York Times

Prem Nath Jerath, Indian American, 57, Edison, N.J.

Prem Nath Jerath

Meena Jerath remembers exactly what her husband was wearing that day: a summer suit, with a blue striped shirt and a blue tie with a white design. She had picked it out as part of their morning ritual. He would rise first and start the tea and put her bagel in the toaster oven. Then, he would be running a little late, and she would follow him out to the car with his tea. Jerath came to the United States from India in 1970. He and his wife married after a bit of encouragement from their parents. Both got M.B.A.’s. They had a son, Neel, in 1982. In their backyard in Edison, Jerath would barbecue for friends. In the last few years, the number of visitors from India increased, and they would take them on tours to Niagara Falls, Florida, Washington. As a structural engineer for the Port Authority, Jerath had great faith in the twin towers. That might be why, Meena Jerath said, her husband apparently stayed behind to help an injured colleague. During the bombing in 1993, she said, he had walked a woman down 30 flights of stairs. “Sometimes we get angry” that he sacrificed his life, she said. “But I don’t think I would have liked him to run away from that sick person.” — The New York Times

Shashikiran Lakshmikantha Kadaba, Indian, 25, Hackensack, N.J.

Shashikiran Lakshmikantha Kadaba

Indian weddings are often extravagant affairs that can last as long as a week. So friends and family of Shashi Kiran Kadaba were taken aback when he and his fiancé decided to have a modest wedding, donating whatever money they saved to orphanages in their hometown, Bangalore, India. “He was that kind of person, the kind of guy who would wait before everyone got out before leaving a burning building,” said his fiance, Pushpa Sreenath, 26, who drove 30 hours to New York from Texas as soon as she learned about the World Trade Center collapse. Kadaba, a software designer for an Indian company, had recently come to New York to do consulting work for Marsh USA, whose offices were on the 97th floor of 1 World Trade Center. Sreenath, also a software designer, said her fiancé was taken with tennis, Formula One racing and big, brash Bollywood movies. “He was very energetic and skilled at making people laugh,” she said. Since 1996, the couple has been largely separated by half a world, although they always remained in communication through phone calls and e-mail messages. “It was hard, but not impossible because I knew I would see him again,” she said. “This is different.” — The New York Times

Taimour Firaz Khan, Pakistani American, 29, Manhattan, N.Y. 

As a child in Woodbury, New York, Taimour Khan doggedly practiced his BMX bike tricks until he could balance on his front tire, on his back tire, and even essay long bunny hops. One day he raced his brother Shaan so fiercely down Fairbanks Boulevard that their pedals tangled, they crashed, and went flying “for 20 yards,” Shaan said. Later, although Khan weighed but 150 pounds and stood 5 feet 11 inches tall, his determination propelled him to the captaincy of the Syosset High School football team and a celebrated 90-yard touchdown run. It was this drive that made Khan, 29, a commodity futures trader at Carr Futures, heading his own desk on the 90th floor of 1 World Trade Center. “He has the determination to be a really major player,” his brother said, “and he cannot be taken down. I know that he’s going to make it.” — The New York Times

Rajesh Khandelwal, Indian American, 33, South Plainfield, N.J. 

Khandelwal loved living in the clouds, gazing down at the panoramic view of New York down there from his office on the 97th floor of the World Trade Centre. Little did he know that the view from his window that fateful day of Sep 11, 2001 would be his last glance at the city he had come to love. “He always had a wish to work in World Trade Centre, and when he got this job at Marsh & McLennan he was on cloud nine,” Rekha Kanoong told Indo-Asian News Service, speaking about her cousin brother, who trained as an aeronautical engineer, but switched to computers when he came to the U.S. “He loved working on the 97th floor. He would call me and say don’t take this bridge, too much traffic,” Kanoongo told IANS. “I can see the clouds today. I love to be in between the clouds…he loved the whole scenic view from there as he was an artist himself.” — Indo-Asian News Service 

Shekhar Kumar, Indian American, 30, New York, N.Y.

Shekhar Kumar

Kumar was a 30 year-old programmer analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center. He’d been married in November 2000, and didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate his first wedding anniversary. A co-worker described Shekhar as “a gentleman with a great capacity for figuring our arcane problems, and who had a smile on his face. On Kumar’s page, friends describe him as “a really great friend,” who is “energetic, enthusiastic and optimistic.” — Project 2,996, a cooperative online effort to keep alive the memories of the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

Amarnauth Lachhman, Guyanese American, 41, Valley Stream, N.Y.

A strong but gentleman, Lachhman started playing volleyball when he was a teenager in his native Guyana. He became so proficient that twice he was selected to play on the national team that competed against teams of other countries. In the early 1980’s, he settled in the United States, and eventually got into construction work. He was employed by PM Contracting, and was doing office renovations for Cantor Fitzgerald. In Valley Stream, on Long Island, where he lived with his wife, Kamee, and his two children, Andrew, 13, and Stephanie, 7, he continued to indulge his knack for volleyball. He played with his son in the backyard, and he put together periodic adult games in the park. Everyone always wanted to be on his team, because it invariably won. “Whenever there was a big play, they would go to him,” Kamee Lachhman told The New York Times. In the evenings, his interest switched to Clint Eastwood, whose movies he adored. Each time “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” came on, volleyball yielded to the television set. — The New York Times

Ganesh K. Ladkat, Indian, 27, Somerset, N.J.

Ganesh K. Ladkat

It was something about those two buildings. Years ago, when Ganesh Ladkat lived in Pune, India, those mighty symbols of commerce took hold of his imagination. After studying computer science, meeting his future wife, Sonia Gawas in 1995, and graduating in 1998, Ladkat yearned to move to the United States. He hoped to earn more money than he could in India by working at a powerful company, maybe even one that had offices in the World Trade Center. He told Gawas that he was leaving for America, and suddenly their relationship became much more serious. “I realized I wouldn’t be seeing him for sometime, maybe,” she recalled. “That’s really when we started dating, two months before he left.” He got a job as a database administrator for Liberty Mutual in Boston and met an old friend, Vishal Vishnoy. He found himself longing for Gawas, who was back home in Pune. They spoke every day on the phone. He asked her to marry him. She said yes. They married in India and returned together to Boston, which he found exciting, but not quite enough. “He used to say, ‘It is my dream to work in those buildings,’” Gawas said. In June 2001, Ladkat received the call he had been waiting for. Cantor Fitzgerald, with its offices high in the twin towers, offered him a job as a database administrator and computer technician. He accepted it, and the couple moved to Somerset, New Jersey. “He was so proud to be working in that building,” Gawas recalled. “He used to tell me, ‘I’m at the top of the world.’” — The New York Times

Alok Mehta, Indian American, 23, Littleton, Colo.

Alok Mehta

Mehta was a second-year MBA student at Hofstra Zarb School of Business and working as an intern for Cantor Fitzgerald in the First Tower at the World Trade Center. His family established the Alok Mehta 9-11 Scholarship after his death. The scholarship goes to help students studying economics or biochemistry and molecular biology at his alma mater, Colorado State University. Mehta was born in Atlanta on Aug. 16, 1978. He received his early schooling in New Orleans, San Diego, and Huntsville, Alabama graduating from Huntsville High School with top honors. In 2000, Mehta received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado State University with an Economics major and Biochemistry minor. He won awards in numerous competitions including the Lockheed Martin Corporation Foundation Scholarship. He was an active volunteer and involved in various school organizations including the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Collins and Triangle Fraternity. — Colorado State University 

Rajesh Mirpuri, Indian American, 30, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Rajesh Mirpuri was working in Tokyo in the summer of 1995 when his parents were celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary at their home in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Rajesh told them he was about to take a vacation in Hawaii. “On the day of the anniversary, he called us and told us he had arrived in Honolulu,” said his father, Arjan Mirpuri, 61. “Half an hour later, the door bell rang, and it was him.” Rajesh was his only child. Arjan and his wife, Indra, Hindus who immigrated from India, have built a small temple inside their house to burn incense to remember their son. “His pictures are hung all over the place,” Arjan Mirpuri said. — The New York Times

Krishna V. Moorthy, Indian American, 59, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

Krishna V. Moorthy

Krishna V. Moorthy’s life was just beginning to feel settled down, his daughter, Anitha Moorthy , told The New York Times. He viewed his job as a technology consultant at Fiduciary Trust, at 2 World Trade Center, as a wonderful opportunity. A devoted if overprotective father who would find an Ace bandage for a scratch, he had successfully shepherded his daughter and son, Sriram, into adulthood. All this after Moorthy, 59, took a chance 11 years ago by immigrating to the United States from India with his family. “He was one of those people never afraid to change,” Anitha Moorthy said. “All of us would say, `You’re not 30, you’re 59,’ and he would say, `So what?’” On Sept. 11, 2001, Moorthy was at his desk by 7:45 a.m., and had placed his customary call to Saradha, his wife of 31 years, telling her that he had arrived. After the plane struck the north tower, he called again, saying that he was evacuating the building and that he would call again when got downstairs. That much is known. But Moorthy’s name later appeared on a hospital list in New Jersey. His family does not know if that means that he may be safe somewhere. For now, they are holding on to that uncertainty.  — The New York Times

Narender Nath, Indian American, 33, Colonia, N.J.

The name Narender sounds like music to his wife, Ramona Nath’s ears. She first saw Narender on March 17, 1996, his birthday. He was shopping. A year later, the two were. “Narender, has inspired me to be what I am today,” Ramona wrote on the website of March & McLennan, the company where her husband worked. “When my husband walked into any room, he makes the room comes to life. Narender, is my life, my joy, my happiness. He is like the wind in my hair, the star, the moon, the cloud, the rain, the mountain, the trees, the sun and music to me. He is my very breath that helps me to breathe. He is one of the best husband, a woman can ever dream of having,” she writes. She continues: “Such a man was my husband, Narender, who was taken away from me on that ill-fated morning of September 11, 2001 when terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York.” —

Deepa K. Pakkala, Indian American, 31, Stewartsville, N.J.

Deepa K. Pakkala

Pakkala was a perfectionist. She went to work early and returned late to her home in Stewartsville, New Jersey, and then she often cleaned. Every last spot of dirt. She was a consultant for Oracle and was working for a client at the trade center. The morning of the attack, she was at her desk before she had to be. Her husband, Sampath, whom she met in Bangalore, the technology center of India, realized that her drive was an essential part of her, but he often tried to persuade her to scale back, if just a little. He said he would always ask her to go in a little later. “She would say that ‘if I do that, I would have to leave my job.’” Pakkala did slow down for the birth of their first child, Trisha, last January on the couple’s ninth anniversary. She took two months off, but then it was back to work. ‘She didn’t want to stay at home and do nothing,” Sampath said. “She wanted to contribute to the family.” — The New York Times

Vinod K. Parakat, Indian American, 34, Sayreville, N.J.

Parakat was an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald. On the company website, colleagues describe him as “a great man” who was “always happy and eager to help in any situation.”

Vijayashanker Paramsothy, Malaysian Indian, 23, Astoria, N.Y.

Vijayashanker Paramsothy

Vijayashanker Paramsothy, known to one and all as Vijay, had been just about everywhere in his 23 years. He was born in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia; he had visited friends in Turkey, Switzerland, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Germany and England. On Sept. 8, 2001, he attended a wedding in Spain. But he loved New York, and he came back Sept. 10, in time to return to his job the next day as a financial analyst for Aon Corporation in the World Trade Center/. Though he lived half a world from home, in Astoria, Queens, he called his parents in Malaysia every day and visited them when he could. “He was a great companion to me,” said his father, Paramsothy Sivapakiam. “We were on the same level. We would drink together. We liked to play jokes on each other” The son lived through a close call in the World Trade Center in 2000. He was in an elevator that overshot its highest floor, hit a ceiling and then fell 15 feet. His back was injured, and he spent four months in a cast. Five days before Paramsothy died, his father had a heart scare in Malaysia. “A palpitation, 199 beats a minute,” Sivapakiam said. “But I survived. If only I had died he would have come home and he would still be alive.” — The New York Times

Nitin Ramesh Parandkar, Indian, 28, Woodbridge, N.J.

An Oracle employee, he worked as a consultant at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. 

Hardai “Casey” Prabhu, 42, New York, N.Y.

He was an employee of Aon Corp. 

Hasmukh Chuckulai Parmar, British Indian, 48, Warren, N.J.

Hasmukh Chuckulai Parmar

He was as a computer systems manager at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center. He and his wife, Bharti, and their two sons, Shamir and Rishi.He was kept busy as a computer systems manager for Cantor Fitzgerald but always found time to chat with friends or lavish attention on his sons. “He was everything to us,” Mrs. Parmar said. “Everything.” At his 14-year-old son’s school, Parmar was a basketball coach. Guitar was the special bond between Parmar and his 16-year-old. The father taught the son to play, amusing him with the songs of Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana. They played together every night when Parmar came home from work. —

Avnish Ramanbhai Patel, Indian American, 28, Manhattan, N.Y.

Avnish Ramanbhai Patel

Patel, a research analyst for Fred Alger Management, was only 28, but he had already been everywhere, “probably 20 to 30 countries,” in his older brother Yogesh’s estimation. The proof can be found on the website where Patel, a talented photographer, posted elegant images from his travels (along with nuggets of wisdom culled from his favorite novels). But despite his voracious appetite for the rest of the world, there was no question in Patel’s mind that New York City was home. As an 11-year-old living in London, he had persuaded his parents to let him cross the Atlantic alone and move in with an uncle in Connecticut. From then on, he was hooked, eventually graduating from — where else? — New York University. “His love for New York City was immense,” his brother said. “We tried to get him to live out in Long Island, but he just wanted to be there.” Three black and white pictures taken from the 93rd floor of his office in the north tower attest to the depth of that love. Next to one, a moody tribute to the Statue of Liberty — glimpsed as a proud dark silhouette across an expanse of glinting water — Patel had written: “Freedom! Liberty! The ultimate symbol of the greatest city in the world.” — The New York Times

Dipti Patel, Indian American, 38, New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Dipti Patel

Dipti Patel was a warm mother hen of a woman who minced no words. “She’d tell you right in your face if she liked you or not,” said a sister, Vibhuti Patel. “She would yell at you for something, but the next minute if you needed her, she’d do anything for you.” A database administrator at eSpeed, Patel would tell you exactly what she thought about your new dress or the price you were considering paying for a house. And then she would get on the phone with everyone she knew to find you a better one. After telling her future sister-in-law that the wedding dress she had selected was not sufficiently bridal, Patel ordered an elegant champagne-colored gown from a dressmaker in India. “You have to look better than all your sisters-in-laws” she advised the bride. Discouraged by seeing friends and relatives endure the pain of divorce, Patel, who immigrated from India as a child, never married. She lived in New Hyde Park, on Long Island, with her parents, her sister Vibhuti and two nephews. “She was like a son to my father,” Vibhuti Patel said. “She took care of everybody.” — The New York Times

Manish K. Patel, Indian American, 29, Edison, N.J.

Manish K. Patel, 29, of Edison, New Jersey, an employee of Euro Brokers Inc.

Ehtesham U. Raja, Pakistani American, 28, Clifton, N.J.

Ehtesham U. Raja

Raja loved to party and loved his $70,000 BMW 740iL. He was a Muslim from Lahore, Pakistan, and worked for TCG Software in Bloomfield, N.J. He loved Hindi music. He sang it in the shower, and was also crazy about the Hindi movie star Amitabh Bachan. His best friend in the United States was Maneesh Sagar, a Hindu from India. Raja talked about how some friends from Pakistan had become fundamentalists. “He hated how fundamentalism rears its ugly head,” Sagar said. “To all of us, religion is more a spiritual and personal thing than dogma.” Recently, said Sagar, Raja was thinking of giving up partying and marrying his girlfriend, Christine Lamprecht, an American. On the weekend before he was to attend a conference at the World Trade Center, he and Sagar went partying. They talked about their dreams, and at 5 a.m. ended up at an Indian restaurant for tea and tikkas, skewered lamb. “It was a guy’s night out,” Sagar said. And that’s how he would always remember his friend. — The New York Times

Valsa Raju, Indian American, 39, Yonkers, N.Y. 

Valsa Raju

By all accounts, Valsa Raju was a model employee who worked hard at her job as a supervisor in the foreign exchange division of Carr Futures. And many evenings, when she returned home from work she would make dinner for her husband, Raju Thankachan, and their two children, Sonia Raju, 9, and Sanjay Raju, 5. Leaving the house each morning at 6:30 and arriving home at 6 p.m. left Raju little time for leisure. So it was on weekends that she was able to relax. In the winter she might go shopping for decorations for her house in Yonkers. In the summer, she tended to her small backyard garden, where she raised tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplant and other vegetables to incorporate into many of those dinners she cooked. “She grew all the vegetables we needed for the whole year,” Thankachan said. Raj immigrated to New York in 1985 from Ranni, her hometown in Kerala, joining her sister Annamma Thomas. Six years later, she wed Thankachan, in a marriage that had been arranged by the families of bride and groom. “The most important thing for her was to raise her kids in the right way and get a better life for the kids,” Thankachan said. — The New York Times

Vishnoo Ramsaroop, Trinidadian, 44, Jackson Heights, N.Y.

Vishnoo Ramsaroop

When Vishnoo Ramsaroop moved from Trinidad to New York 17 years ago, he roamed excitedly around Manhattan his first week here, and when he visited the twin towers, he fell in love with their size and majesty. “So he told himself he wished he could get a job in the World Trade Center,” said his brother Sahadeo. “So he went down there the next week, and he got a job there. He just liked the building. He never worked nowhere else in America, not even one hour.” Ramsaroop helped run the towers’ elevators, and when his brother visited, he unfailingly took him to the top to proudly show the view. He felt compelled to work six days a week to support his eight daughters and stepdaughters. One of his happiest times came in August when he took a week of vacation. On successive days, he took his daughters Tiffany, 8, and Ashley, 5, to Great Adventure, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium and, on one day, not just one movie, but two. “The day they went to the movies, they came home very late and I was very worried,” said his wife, Shrimatti. “I got a little angry at him, but the girls were so happy. They said, ‘Guess what, Mommy! Daddy sneaked us into a second movie. We had so much fun.’” — The New York Times

Srinivasa Shreyas Ranganath, Indian, 26, Hackensack, N.J.

They call Bangalore the Silicon Valley of India, and when the city, in southern India, became a hot place for high-tech enterprise several years ago, Shreyas Ranganath threw himself into the world of software design. “For him, it became an addiction,” Manoj Baalebail, a longtime friend, said. “He had a great love for software.” Last month, that love brought Shreyas to New York on a three-month project for Marsh & McLennan, on the 97th floor of 1 World Trade Center. Baalebail, who works for the same consulting company, put Shreyas and another software designer, Shashi Kiran Kadaba, up in his Hackensack home, where they spent their evenings cooking elaborate Indian meals or watching Hindi films. “He appreciated Hollywood movies, but he had a great taste for Indian movies.” On Sept. 10 night, the men shared a feast to celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna. “It was a wonderful dinner we had,” Baalebail said. “I just don’t want to think of it as his last.” — The New York Times

Amenia Rasool, Guyanese American, 33, Staten Island, N.Y.

See Also

Amenia Rasool

How did Amenia Rasool do it all? her mother-in- law now wonders. She would rise at 5 to do laundry before kissing her four children goodbye, leaving a tidy house in Queens to go to work as an accountant on the 95th floor of the World Trade Center. Every evening, she and her husband, Sadiq, a city accountant, would wash and feed the children as a team, dine as a twosome while the little ones watched TV, then help with schoolwork and put them all to bed. Yet somehow, at the end of the day, after a husband-wife cleanup that included vacuuming and wiping down all the rugs in the Muslim household, Rasool found time for a small indulgence: catching up on tapes of her favorite soap operas and doing her nails. As a young woman, she had come to America with her parents from rural Guyana, much like her husband. Their marriage was arranged by their parents, and flourished on a mix of Islamic tradition and American opportunity. “They were really, really happy,” said Fahida Rasool, her mother-in-law, who recently left her job in a bank to help with the children, 8, 6, 3 years old and 10 months. — The New York Times

Kalyan K. Sarkar, Indian American, 53, Westwood, N.J.

Kalyan K. Sarkar

The idea of constructing things for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was so fundamental to Kalyan K. Sarkar, a 53-year-old civil engineer, he would have found the destruction of two skyscrapers unimaginable. “He is a man who spent his life building — bridges and tunnels and just about anything the Port Authority put up,” said his son Kishan, who was looking forward to his father’s birthday party two Saturdays from now. The family finds some hope in the fact that Sarkar really knew buildings. He phoned his wife, Anarkali, from Tower 1 to explain that he and 12 of his co-workers were trapped on the 64th floor, the elevators were sealed, and they were headed to the stairs. Then he was cut off. Kishan, a computer programmer in New Jersey, is grateful that his father asked him to leave work early on Sept. 10 night to come to their home in Westwood, N.J., to help his father with some web site work. “I was lucky to be there,” he said. — The New York Times

Deepika Kumar Sattaluri, 33, Edison, N.J.

“If only she arrived at the station 60 seconds later, she would have missed her train, and thereby missed her death,” Amish Sattaluri told of his mother. “Instead of being a kid, I had to suddenly grow up as an adult, and the childhood suddenly disappeared, just like the buildings that morning, in a split second.” Sattaluri was working as a Wipro consultant for Marsh McLennan when the plane hit the first tower, where she worked on the 92nd floor. Though his son Amish, who was only 7 when they lost Sattaluri, her husband Narasimha Kumar has now gone back to their native Hyderabad to live with his grandparents and works for Amazon. Amish, now 22, told in 2016 about that day and the difficult journey of 15 years. “The date September 11, 2001 brings back a lot of emotions. I was just a young lad of seven years at the time of the ghastly incident, not old enough to understand, nor young enough to ever forget.” —

Sita Nermalla Sewnarine, Guyanese American, 37, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sita Nermalla Sewnarine

If you talk to her friends and relatives, it is pretty clear Sita Sewnarine’s life changed when she was pregnant with her daughter, Victoria, who is now 5. In her seventh month, Sewnarine’s relationship with the child’s father, whom she had expected to marry, suddenly went totally, irreconciliably wrong. Before that, Sewnarine worked hard, but she liked to step out, too, for dinner or an evening at a comedy club. But after her breakup she found solace and comfort in the Pentecostal Bethlehem Church of God, and that was that. “It wasn’t a complete transformation,” said Mike Kimball, who used to work and go to parties with Sewnarine and is married to her sister, Mary. “But she did change,” he said. “She doted on her daughter, but her whole life was the church,” Mary Kimball said. “She was married to the church.” Sewnarine, who was born in Guyana and moved with her family to the United States about 20 years ago, worked as a disaster recovery agent for the Fiduciary Trust Company. “She would talk about religion as she saw fit,” said Mike Henken, a co-worker. “She believed that you never know when your day is going to come.” — The New York Times

Neil G. Shastri, Indian American, 25, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.

Neil Shastri married his college sweetheart, Kruti, three months ago. The wedding pictures had not even come in yet, but married life had already changed the man. Shastri was called a “big health freak” by his relatives, a man who lived on PowerBars, played basketball and golf religiously and wanted a Tiger Woods poster on the living room wall. His wife said no. On Sept. 11, 2001, at 9 a.m., Shastri called her, according to his twin brother, Jay Shastri. Neil Shastri told Kruti there was a lot of smoke, that he was having trouble breathing. Then he hung up. An information technology consultant, Shastri had been working in the offices of one of his clients, Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 103rd floor of 1 World Trade Center. Jay Shastri said his twin immediately befriended people. “It might sound cliché-ish right now,” he began. His sister-in-law, Priti Naik, 28, finished for him. “If you met right now, he’d be your best friend by the end of the evening.” — The New York Times

Jayesh Shah, Indian American, 38, Edgewater, N.J.

Jayesh Shah

Jayesh Shah and his brother were always close, whether the family lived in India or Wisconsin or Tulsa or Houston. They went to the same college. They took computer science classes together in graduate school. “I was a terrible note-taker, and Jayesh was a great note- taker,: said Niloy Shah, his brother, younger by a year. And when Jay Shah got married, the newlyweds lived with the younger brother and his wife for months. Even after Jayesh Shah moved to New York last year, to work at eSpeed International, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald, the brothers talked almost every day. Shah, a strong believer in education, wanted to be sure the move would not disrupt his children’s schooling, so Mrs. Shah and the children remained in Houston until school was out. Each child has a favorite memory of time with their father. Nikita, 10, loved horseback riding in Yosemite. Sonia, 8, loved the “Sling Shot” ride at Seaside Heights. Kevin, 6, loved wrestling with his dad. They and their mother — and Mr. Shah’s mother, who is staying with them — will return to Houston. But education remains a family value, and they will not leave for Texas until June. — The New York Times

Khalid Mohammad Shahid, Indian American, 35 – Union, N.J.

Khalid Mohammad Shahid, 25, worked at Cantor-Fitzgerald. He was a graduate of Montclair University and Union High School, where he played soccer, tennis and was in the marching band. He was described as a selfless man. Shahid was engaged to be married to his high school sweetheart, Jamie.

Mohammed Shajahan, Bangladeshi American, 4, Spring Valley, N.Y.

 Shajahan worked on the 96th floor of Tower I as a computer administrator on Lotus Note for information technology for Marsh and McLennan. Shajahan, who was born in Asad Pur Comilla, Bangladesh, finished his Master’s degree in Biology at Gaganath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 1984 Shajahan came to the USA and attended Rockland Community College, Suffern, New York, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. He was a hardworking man and started in business in Nanuet, New York as a manager of a super value gas station. At the same time he studied at Pace University in Westchester and earned a Master’s Degree in Network and Communication in Computer Science. He is survived by his wife, Mansura Shajahan and his son Yusuf Mohammed Shajaham age 8, and daughters Shirin Shajahan age 7, Jahnan Shajahan age 6, and Layca Shajahan age 4, and his mother Ananafaroqui, his five brothers and three sisters overseas in Bangladesh. —

Shiv Shankar, Guyanese American, New York, N.Y.

Khamladai K. “Khami” Singh, 25 and Roshan R. “Sean” Singh, 21, Guyanese American, Woodhaven, N.Y.

Khamladai K. “Khami” Singh

It was essential for both of the Singh children to leave very early on the day of the attack — by 6:20 a.m. — because their roles were so crucial at the conference breakfast at Windows on the World. Khamladai, 25, as an assistant banquet manager, would be greeting the participants at 8 a.m.; her little brother, Roshan, 21, was arranging the audio-visual presentation. There were 600 guests, after all, and preparations had to be flawless. So they left the family home in Woodhaven, Queens, together as they always did, caught the A train and arrived by 7 a.m. If brother and sister were extremely close, doing just about everything together, it is true that Khamladai often had the tighter schedule: after her day at Windows, she studied computer programming full time at Borough of Manhattan Community College. There were times, though, when Roshan was equally pressed, thanks to his duties in the Army National Guard. Now their mother, Toolsiedai Seepersaud, waits in a quiet house for her only children with their stepfather, Jamil Awan. “I am just hoping they are together,” she said. —

Ronald and Kamini Singh, Guyanese American, Ozone Park, N.Y.

Both worked at Windows on the World, on the 107th floor of one of the twin towers.

Sushil S. Solanki, Indian American, 35, New York, N.Y.

Sushil S. Solanki

There are probably three things one needs to know about Sushil Solanki. He adored a good game of cricket, he doted on his 4-year-old son, Brendon, and at a meeting a few weeks ago with his family and a minister from his native India, he devoted himself to God. “He was a cheerful, sensitive person,” said Amit Macwan, who was married to Solanki’s sister Sunita. “He was very, very close to his son. They often played cricket together. Brendon called him ‘Sus’ – I never heard him call him Dad.” Solanki, 35, worked as a computer operator for Cantor Fitzgerald. He and his wife, Lynette, lived near his sister and her family on Staten Island. He was the kind of guy, Macwan recalled, who stopped by the house on Sept. 10 to ask why his pregnant sister’s car was sitting in the driveway in the rain. He took the key and put the car in the garage. “He told me, ‘Don’t drive anymore,,’” Macwan recalled. “He was very soft-hearted, the comedian in the family. His way of talking made people laugh.” — The New York Times

Yeshavant “Yesh” Moreshwar Tembe, Indian American, 59, Piscataway, N.J.

He was an excise tax auditor at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. 

Goumatie Thackurdeen, Trinidadian American, 35, South Ozone Park, N.Y.

Goumatie Thackurdeen

All the Thackurdeens — Goumatie, her three brothers and two sisters and most of her 12 nieces and nephews — had settled in South Ozone Park in Queens, where they grew up. Goumatie, at 34 the youngest, moved easily between domesticity and aunthood and the cosmopolitan life of a world traveler. Small, slim and lively, she was a vice president at Fiduciary Trust who traveled for business and vacations. On the Stockholm-to-Helsinki ferry, she met Stefan Hellman, a Finnish salesman, who accompanied her through Europe and California and visited the home she shared with her mother. On weekends, she took two or three children to the park or zoo or home to bake cakes. To the grown ones she was a confidante and model of glamor and independence. On holidays, she often invited everybody — 23 relatives and assorted friends — for dinners of dishes from France, Italy, America and Trinidad and Tobago, the Thackurdeens’ native land. —

Harshad Sham Thatte, Indian, 30, Norcross, Ga. 

A consultant at Marsh & McLennan, Thatte, grew up in Pune. He was married to Pallavi Thatte, and the couple had a one-year-old granddaughter, Eleanor.

Anil Shivhari Umarkar, Indian 34, Hackensack, N.J.

Anil Shivhari Umarkar

Here is how to spell the name of Anil Umarkar’s 14-month-old daughter, his most precious achievement, as specified by his wife, Priti: “V for victory; o for ocean; m for Mickey; i for ice cream; k for kite and a for America.” Although Umarkar, a computer programmer, is missing from the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center, where he worked for eSpeed, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald, his wife is determined that his ambition for his daughter, Vomika, will live on. America, as in the last letter of Vomika, is the place where her father dreamed that she would get an advanced college degree. Although Umarkar will not be there to see it, Priti Umarkar hopes that victory, as in the first letter of Vomika, will come out of all the loss. Two and a half years ago, Priti Umarkar, who has a master’s degree in zoology, “left all that” in her hometown, Nagpur, so her husband could pursue his career. He loved football and had taken up jogging in Hackensack, New Jersey., where they lived. “He was intelligent, he was very loving, he was a very thorough gentleman, and his work was his only hobby, just to work,” she said. — The New York Times

Pendyala Vamsikrishna, Indian American, 30, Los Angeles, Calif. — American Airlines Flight 11

Gopalakrishnan Varadhan, Indian American, 32, New York, N.Y.

Gopalakrishnan Varadhan

An old neighbor of Gopal Varadhan’s said she first knew him through his music. It was like that with everyone around Varadhan, said his mother, Vasu. He was so dedicated to playing his acoustic guitar that, as a teenager, he lined the walls of his bedroom with egg cartons, hoping it would soundproof the room, rather than strum more softly. He started a ska-inspired band, City Beat, while attending the Bronx High School of Science during the 1980’s, cutting a record and playing CBGB in Lower Manhattan. As it turned out, Varadhan also had an affinity for numbers and became a successful trader on Wall Street. After starting an unsuccessful Internet company last year, he joined Cantor Fitzgerald’s eSpeed division in June. He never forgot his music. He wrote songs for which his girlfriend, Valerie Toscano, was to compose lyrics. “He thought that would have been our ultimate collaboration,” Toscano said. “I thought marriage would have been the ultimate collaboration.”  —

Sankara Velamuri, Indian American, 63, Avenel, N.J.

Sankara Velamuri

Listening to Sankara Velamuri speak was a pleasure, said Vijaya Sonti, a younger sister. His enunciation was distinct, his words precise and his diction elegant. He often quoted a bit of the English or Sanskrit literature he read voraciously. “Poetry,” she said. “Religion. He had an excellent memory.” Velamuri, who grew up in Orissa, India, and worked previously in London, lived in Edison, N.ew Jersey, with his wife, Avenal. When he immigrated, 30 years ago, he switched from metallurgy to accounting and found work at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The second oldest of 10 children, he was patient and learned, said Sonti, a computer specialist with a master’s degree in mathematics. “Growing up,” she said, “he taught me algebra one summer. That created my interest in mathematics.” Velamuri loved company and good conversation, but also studied Hindu scriptures, attended temple and meditated at home. — The New York Times

Suresh Yanamadala, Indian, 33, Plainsboro, N.J.

Suresh Yanamadala

He worked as a consultant at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., and is survived by his wife Ajitha. He was incredibly popular amongst his colleagues on account of his easy smile and friendly nature. Tributes from his colleagues describe his good sense of humor and how people instantly liked him the moment they met him. He was kind and gentle. — Project 2,996

Shakeela Yasmin, 26 and Nurul Yasmin, 36, Bangladeshi American, New York, N.Y.

Shakila Yasmin and Nurul H. Miah both used to work for Marsh & McLennan. Shakila’s office was located in the 97th floor and Nurul’s was in the 93rd floor in Tower one of the World Trade center. Nurul was in the 99th floor, attending a meeting when the 1st plane hit their building. Nurul worked for Marsh & McLennan for about 15 years, while Shakila just started about a year and a half ago, after they got married on April 2, 2000. —

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