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Bhavna "Bonnie" Balkrishna Shah

Bhavna "Bonnie" Balkrishna Shah

Computer Programmer from Gandhi's hometown

Born: Porbandar, India
Heritage: Asian Indian, Hindu

The value of family is very important. Family gives you your strong beliefs and they are always there for you. Study hard! When you can get more education, you learn to be a broad-minded person and you can help people.

Bhavna "Bonnie" Balkrishna Shah

Computer Programmer from Gandhi's hometown

My name is Bhavna Balkrishna Shah. I was born in India. I am from the same hometown as Gandhi, near Bombay. I was born a Hindu. Nowadays in India, Hindus and Muslims are not friendly to each other. In Eden Prairie, though, we try to be friends.

In 1973, there was a big war in India between the Hindus and the Muslims. It was so bad that Muslims didn’t dare to leave their homes. I had a friend who was a Muslim and I knew her parents well. I would hide food and give it to them, so that they would not go hungry. My parents helped them, even though some people thought we should not.

Mahatma Gandhi was an important leader in India. He believed in non-violence and worked to have british rule removed from India. He was very similar to Martin Luther King, Jr. After India won its independence, girls were able to go to school and get jobs.

My daddy worked on the railway and my mother stayed home. there were six children in my family, as well as an uncle who was handicapped. We had to share rooms and hardly ever had new clothes. our neighbors had a cow, so we always had fresh milk. We had no TV. I learned to do a classical dance called bharatnatyam.

My mom and dad arranged my marriage. I did not see my husband before they brought him to me. My father and my husband’s father met first to see if we would be a good match. Then the two of us met, and we decided if we would be a good match.

In India, things are family to family. When there are problems they are not just between the two people, but both families become involved. We trust parents will help make good decisions. after I was married for eight months, my sister who was living in the united States sponsored me to come to this country. Two years later my husband joined me.

My husband and I both went to Mankato State University. He received a master’s degree in engineering and I received a master’s degree in computer programming. For a few years we lived in Winona, Minnesota. In 1996 we moved to Eden Prairie.

Families in India are intergenerational. that is the same for us today. My husband and I have three children. In addition my husband’s parents and two cousins live with us.

My son received his first haircut in 2001. this is a big ceremony for a Hindu because he is keeping the family history alive. We thank god with a 10-day celebration. We returned to India in order to bring his hair to the temple and the Sabrmati river.

We study the holy book, called the Geta. one important chant is: the sky, the earth, and the ocean—we worship all three of them. they have given us life. Whatever we have today—food or clothes—we will share with everyone. We give all our soul to peace, peace, peace.

Notation: Download PDF

The Sky, The Earth, The Ocean

Honoring Bhavna "Bonnie" Balkrishna Shah

The Sky, The Earth, The Ocean
Honoring Bhavna Balkrishna Shah

The sky, the earth, the ocean
The dance between all three
Together now in motion
Together now in peace

I was born in India
In the same hometown
of Gandhi a Hindu
The same as I am now
My caste is Vishnu
The one who gives us life
To share what god has given
The festival of light


When I was young the Hindus
And the Muslims were at war
When they were I carried
Food to my friends next door
Even though my uncles
Told me I should not go
Next door to feed the Muslims
Because we were at war


We fast to keep sharing
The food we do not eat
With those who are hungry
Who need a place to sleep
Just like brother Martin
Who set the people free
Like Gandhi through non violence
Who fought for liberty


Lord Shiva the Destroyer
Grew angry with each day
Yet from his sweat of anger
Goddess bharat came his way
As she grew older
Who began to dance
To calm the world from anger
Give love a chance