Throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN fans frequently saw neurosurgeon and medical reporter Sanjay Gupta take the screen to offer professional commentary on the ongoing crisis. Sanjay is currently the associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital, as well as an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine, in addition to his role as a medical correspondent for the news outlet. He's even currently hosting Jeopardy!.
During a news segment, Sanjay shared an anecdote from his personal life about his parents' struggle to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He claims they had to wait in line for nine hours to receive it, highlighting a problem with the vaccine's distribution.
But who are Sanjay's parents?
Sanjay Gupta's mother fled from Pakistan to India as a child.
Both of Sanjay's parents immigrated to America from India, but Sanjay's mother originally relocated to India from Pakistan (then Sindh) when she was 5 during the Partition of India. In 1947, British India split into India and Pakistan, and Sanjay's mother traveled to India as a Hindu refugee.
Sanjay shared some of the experiences his mother went through in a 2014 essay about discovering his roots when he and his family traveled to India.
"I didn’t know when my mom fled as a 5-year-old refugee from the bloody partition in 1947 that her Hindu relatives all disguised themselves in the traditional garb of Muslims to blend in and ensure their safety," he wrote. "I saw that scared little girl in my mind and better understood the remarkably resilient woman who grew up to be my mother. At one point during our trip, she turned to her three granddaughters and said, 'I am proof that anything is possible.'"
He wrote about how they traveled to a Karachi beach and how his mother shared details she hadn't talked about before.
"For the first time, she shared some of the awful details of her life as a refugee," he wrote. "That beach was the last place she saw before leaving the war-torn country. She never imagined returning."
Sanjay often talks about his parents in his work, though he never mentions them by name.
Both of Sanjay's parents are India immigrants.
Both Sanjay's mother and father eventually decided to immigrate to the U.S., settling down in Novi, Mich. The pair didn't meet until after they immigrated.
In an interview with Emory's alumni magazine, Sanjay shared that his parents' hard work and determination were part of what inspired him to ultimately pursue medicine.
“Nobody in my family practiced medicine, and my grandfather had a stroke,” he recounted. “I was a kid at the time, and the doctors who cared for him were particularly generous with their time in terms of telling me what they were doing. At a point when you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do with your life, to see somebody who goes in and takes care of your family member and makes them better and is just a great person on top of that — that’s what got me interested in medicine.”