board of trustees


The National Indo-American Museum is supported by a diverse Board of community activists, professionals, scholars, business people and artists.

Gyan Agarwal, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Electrical Engineering, has been a volunteer at the Indo-American Center (IAC) and the Indo-American Heritage Museum (IAHM).

Murad Bhaidani is a former President of the Aga Khan Shia Ismaili Council for the Midwestern USA and currently serves as the Honorary Secretary for ITREB USA. He served on the first and only Illinois Governor’s Muslim American Advisory Council for 5 years. Murad has a post-graduate degree from Northwestern University and works on 5G and CBRS technologies.

Happie Datt came to the U.S. in 1970 to earn an MS in Food Science at the University of Florida. Since moving to Chicago she has owned several successful businesses, was president of the League of Women Voters, served two years for the Peace Corps in Macedonia, and currently volunteers as a docent at Field Museum.

Lakshmi Menon is a writer and community volunteer committed to inter-cultural exchange and a past president of the Indo-American Center Board of Directors. She serves as a resource for Indian American content in Chicago mainstream media and events.

Tasneem Osmani is a Senior Vice President at Northern Trust Bank. She has been in the financial services industry for more than 25 years. A Certified Public Accountant with an MBA from Depaul University, she is passionate about empowering women and youth by providing them opportunities to help them reach their potential. She serves on the Board of Trustees at Benedictine University, where she has been a trustee since 2008, and currently serves as the Treasurer of the Board and Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee. Tasneem was born in India and moved to the US with her family when she was 10 years old.

Dorothie Shah, a former history teacher at Evanston Township High School and a former president of the museum Board, has served as a consultant to the University of Chicago South Asia Outreach Educational Project, Evenings for Educators at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago History Museum.

Sujaya Rupani migrated to USA in 1980 after graduating from Gandhi Medical College, Osmania University, and has practiced Ophthalmology in Chicago since 1985. She has served on the board of Avery Coonley School for 11 years, and chaired the annual giving campaign.


Bapu Arekapudi, MD was the museum’s first treasurer. A pulmonologist in Chicago, Illinois, he is active in many community organizations and serves on the board of the Indo-American Center.

Mannan Bandukwala, a retired Chemical Engineer, was educated in Pune and Mumbai, India and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A pioneer, he arrived in Chicago in the 1950’s, and was a regular volunteer in IAHM activities.

Nafisa Bandukwala is a former Chicago Public School librarian who grew up in Mumbai and earned her M.A. at the University of Iowa. She is a regular volunteer in our cultural outreach programs.

Tamara Biggs, currently Director of Exhibitions at the Chicago History Museum and a former president of the museum Board, has been making exhibits for more than 30 years. She is especially interested in community-generated projects.

Ebin C. Ephrem is entrenched in the constantly emerging, constantly changing world of mobile (cellular) technologies, devising and executing on go-to-market strategies for some of the world’s premier enterprise, network and broadcast customers.

Bindu Ganga is a clinical therapist. She conducts local and international leadership trainings and works to advance public awareness and knowledge of perinatal mood disorders.

Ann Lata Kalayil served as the first woman president of the Indo-American Democratic Organization. She is co-founder of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI) and is active in Asian American community organizations.

Shailja Dhruva Khatri is the founder of VividhBharati for families of Indian origin to keep their children in touch with Indian culture and languages. A former president of the museum Board, she is a program manager for mobile and emerging technology initiatives at work.

Marta Nicholas was key to making the University of Chicago’s International House a welcome and friendly environment for both international and American students. She shares her interests in other cultures through her radio program “Music Around the World.”

Ralph Nicholas, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Chicago and former president of the American Institute of Indian Studies, does research on South Asian societies and cultures with an emphasis on Bengal.

Susan Patel is an Indian-American business owner and community activist. Her shop, Patel Handicrafts is a source for South Asian culture and religion. She holds a seat on the 50th Ward Special Service Area (SSA) committee, the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce board, and the Local School Council at Belding Elementary.

Jagriti Ruparel, Vice President, PNC Wealth Management, has been in the financial industry for 19 years. She is a former president of the museum Board and past President of ‘Apna Ghar,’ a Chicago domestic violence organization focusing on the South Asian community.

Shobhana Sanghvi is a founding member of the ILA Foundation, and on the Board of the Indo-American Center. She has supported numerous cultural events including exhibitions at the Asia Society, the Sackler Gallery, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ami M. Shah is an art historian and epidemiologist. She examines health disparities and is driven by her passion for social justice.

Surendra P. Shah is Walter P. Murphy Professor of Civil Engineering at Northwestern University where he is director of the Center for Advanced Cement Based Materials. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Prem Sharma is an accomplished artist who is a co-founder of Apna Ghar, the first South Asian domestic violence shelter in the U.S. A former president of the museum Board, she has served on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Asian Affairs and as a member of the Illinois Arts Council.

Board of Trustees Table

Nafisa and Mannan Bandukwala man the IAHM display at Chicago’s Field Museum.

Board of Trustees

A reception hosted by Indian Consul General and Mrs. Ashok Kumar Attri featured a display of Indian saris arranged by IAHM Board members.

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