Largest Collection of Witness Accounts of Partition to Be Made Public

The 1947 Partition Archive’s collection, comprising over 30,000 digital documents and photographs collected from 12 countries in 22 languages, will be released beginning August 10.

Partition refugee. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Partition refugees. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: A collection of oral histories from over 4,300 witnesses of Partition is set for a public release 70 years after the greatest mass migration in modern human history. The interviews – a portion of which will be released beginning August 10, available via live streaming from Stanford University Library’s Digital repository – are a part of the 1947 Partition Archive’s collection.

The world’s largest collection of Partition witness accounts will be released in collaboration with a consortium of research universities in India, Pakistan, Britain and the US – while the remaining collection, deemed highly sensitive for open accessibility, will be available to researchers and interested parties.

The archive – stories for which have been collected over the last seven years – comprises over 30,000 digital documents and photographs collected from 12 countries in 22 languages. The final goal of the project is to collect at least 10,000 oral history interviews from surviving witnesses.

“The stories are changing the way we see ourselves and our history,” said Guneeta Singh Bhalla, the founder of the 1947 Partition Archive, in a statement.

As many as 15 million individuals were displaced during the 1947 catastrophe, while nearly two million died owning to the communal violence and accompanying lawlessness.

Tata Trusts is supporting a pilot adoption of the collection into the libraries of Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Ashoka University in Sonepat and the University of Delhi.

“For us in the subcontinent, Partition is as much a part of our daily life as are the clouds in the monsoon season,” said Sohail Naqvi, the vice chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences. “We grew up hearing these stories whose endings we could only decipher by swimming in tear-filled eyes. It is time to tell that story in full so that one day we may heal.”

According to historian Priya Satia of Stanford University, the project provides a glimpse not just into the Partition but also into the historical anthropology of culture, pre-Partition culture and post-Partition politics and identity. “Finally, we can get a sense of what happened on the ground, how it affected people and how those effects changed over time.”

Satia says these views of history are essential because for the last seven decades, the stories of Partition are being told “through the lens of high-political negotiations between figures like Jinnah, Gandhi, Nehru, Mountbatten,” none of whom foresaw the shape that Partition would take, which she says can be understood only by looking at the stories of the people who gave it that shape.

The post Largest Collection of Witness Accounts of Partition to Be Made Public appeared first on The Wire.

India News - Latest Headlines

In Jharkhand’s Ban of Book on Adivasis, an Attempt to Deter Tribals From Dictating Their Future

In Jharkhand’s Ban of Book on Adivasis, an Attempt to Deter Tribals From Dictating Their Future 
 While the state government lost no time in banning a book on the grounds that it portrayed the (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 06:30 PM
While the state government lost no time in banning a book on the grounds that it portrayed the Santhal women in a bad light, it has done little to solve the issues of unemployment and widespread...

For One Family, Wounds of Partition Are Still Raw, but Fond Memories Remain

For One Family, Wounds of Partition Are Still Raw, but Fond Memories Remain 
 Sikh siblings Gurbachan Kaur and Ajit Singh recount the days of Partition when they had to flee from (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 06:30 PM
Sikh siblings Gurbachan Kaur and Ajit Singh recount the days of Partition when they had to flee from Pakistan to India....

Elephant Census Recalls Gaps in Addressing Conflicts with Humans

Elephant Census Recalls Gaps in Addressing Conflicts with Humans 
 Villagers are often the first line of defence against elephants wandering into farmland and (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 06:15 PM
Villagers are often the first line of defence against elephants wandering into farmland and settlements, so community-led efforts with traditional methods have come to the fore....

Population Ageing is One of the Greatest Challenges Facing the 21st Century

Population Ageing is One of the Greatest Challenges Facing the 21st Century 
 The combination of declining birth rates, increased longevity and growing proportions of the elderly (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 06:00 PM
The combination of declining birth rates, increased longevity and growing proportions of the elderly is raising serious economic questions around the world....

The Human Cost of the Obsession with a ‘Swachh Bharat’

The Human Cost of the Obsession with a ‘Swachh Bharat’ 
 The Swachh Bharat Mission’s unthinking obsession with ‘behavioural change’ is taking an (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 06:00 PM
The Swachh Bharat Mission’s unthinking obsession with ‘behavioural change’ is taking an unconscionable toll on the poorest....

Read: Tripura CM’s I-Day Speech That DD, AIR Refused to Broadcast

Read: Tripura CM’s I-Day Speech That DD, AIR Refused to Broadcast 
 Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. Credit: PTI (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 05:05 PM
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. Credit: PTI...

Supreme Court Orders NIA Probe Into Kerala ‘Love Jihad’ Case

Supreme Court Orders NIA Probe Into Kerala ‘Love Jihad’ Case 
 The order came after the NIA told the court that the marriage in question could be part of a ‘ (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 04:12 PM
The order came after the NIA told the court that the marriage in question could be part of a ‘larger mechanism’ to convert Hindu girls to Islam....

More Than Modi’s Embrace Through Words, Political Will Is Needed to Resolve Kashmir Issue

More Than Modi’s Embrace Through Words, Political Will Is Needed to Resolve Kashmir Issue 
 Modi’s remarks of seeking a peaceful resolution to the issues plaguing the Valley have been (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 02:16 PM
Modi’s remarks of seeking a peaceful resolution to the issues plaguing the Valley have been welcome by several leaders, but many worry his words are simply symbolic without any concrete action...

Suicide Bombers Claim 27 Lives, Hurt 83 in Northeast Nigeria

Suicide Bombers Claim 27 Lives, Hurt 83 in Northeast Nigeria 
 FILE PHOTO: Boko Haram militants (in camouflage) embrace and shake hands with Boko Haram prisoners, (The Wire) on 16 Aug 2017 01:56 PM
FILE PHOTO: Boko Haram militants (in camouflage) embrace and shake hands with Boko Haram prisoners, released in exchange for a group of 82 Chibok girls, who were held captive for three years by...