Largest collection of Partition witness accounts set for release

CHANDIGARH: Interviews of over 4,300 Partition witnesses are set for public release in collaboration with a consortium of research universities. Part of The 1947 Partition Archive’s collection, the stories have been collected from across the world over the last seven years.

Largest collection of Partition witness accounts set for release

File photo

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6

Interviews of over 4,300 Partition witnesses are set for public release in collaboration with a consortium of research universities. Part of The 1947 Partition Archive’s collection, the stories have been collected from across the world over the last seven years.

A portion of the complete oral history interviews will be released beginning August 10 and become available via live streaming from Stanford University Library’s Digital repository, accessible to anyone with an internet collection. The remaining collection, deemed too delicate or sensitive for open accessibility, will be available to researchers and interested parties by visiting select university libraries in the collaboration, including Ashoka University, University of Delhi and Guru Nanak Dev University in India, along with Lahore University of Management Sciences and Habib University in Pakistan. Talks are under way with universities in the UK and Bangladesh.

(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

Guneeta Singh Bhalla, who began the project of collecting stories of Partition, says the content in the collection could challenge our current understanding of South Asian history and identity. 

Stanford University Library’s Digital Repository and discovery environment includes a strong video preservation program that will ensure access to the interviews in perpetuity.  “The videos being gathered by The 1947 Partition Archive are tremendously important to capture and preserve as part of the historical record, and to make readily available for deeper discovery and research,” said Michael Keller, Stanford’s university librarian.  The material, according to Keller, are of particular interest to Stanford given research efforts underway on campus at the Center for South Asia and the Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice.

A pilot adoption of the collection into three Indian university libraries, including Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Ashoka University in Sonepat and University of Delhi, is being supported by Tata Trusts. “The Arts & Culture portfolio at the Tata Trusts has worked with preserving archives, through digitization, paper conservation and dissemination. The 1947 Partition Archives of oral histories is of particular interest, in this 70th year of India’s Independence, as time erases direct testimonies, so vital in first hand authenticity,” notes Deepika Sorabjee, Head, Arts & Culture, Tata Trusts.

Noted historian Priya Satia at Stanford University says the collection opens a window not only on Partition itself but onto historical anthropology of culture, pre-Partition culture, and about post-Partition politics, and identity. “The research it will allow on Partition itself is momentous—finally we have an opportunity to get away from high-political narrative of why and how it happened. Finally, we can get a sense of what happened on the ground, how it affected people and how those effects changed over time,” she says.

How big archive is

  • Has over 4,300 oral history interviews and over 30,000 digital documents and photographs collected from 12 countries in 22 languages
  • Probably is the largest oral history archive on any topic in South Asia, and amongst one of the largest video-based oral history archives in the world
  • End goal is to record at least 10,000 oral history interviews from surviving witnesses

Top Stories

Centre worried lockdown exemptions for farmers not percolating to field level

Centre worried lockdown exemptions for farmers not percolating to field level

More relaxations for agriculture-farming sector, tea industr...

22,000 Tablighi Jamaat members, their contacts identified, quarantined: Govt

22,000 Tablighi Jamaat members, their contacts identified, quarantined: Govt

'Rate of rise in coronavirus cases in India less than other ...

Coronavirus: Punjab announces Rs 50-lakh cover for frontline cops, sanitation workers

Coronavirus: Punjab announces Rs 50-lakh cover for frontline cops, sanitation workers

Finalise security plan for smooth procurement: CM to DGP

India-US to deploy full strength to fight Covid: PM Modi

India-US to deploy full strength to fight Covid: PM Modi

Research institutions from two countries engaged in multinat...

Cities

View All

Two Jamaatis test +ve in Mohali, district count 12

Belong to Kumbhra and Mauli Baidwan, admitted to hospital

Grocery stores in Chandigarh run short of branded stock

Companies, distributors yet to streamline delivery system, a...

19-year-old budding golfer converts backyard into range

Aadil, who won his maiden PGTI title last month, tries innov...

Healthy baby born to Covid-19 positive woman at AIIMS; first such case in Delhi

The baby's mother who was nine-months pregnant had tested po...

Delhi reports 91 new cases in 24 hrs; total rises to 384

CM launches WhatsApp helpline 8800007722 for info on Covid-1...

Bust virus myths via ‘Chai and Why?’

TIFR will interact with people to give them scientific knowl...

Not wearing mask may land you FIR

Police have registered several FIRs under Disaster Managemen...

Shimlapuri patient off ventilator, stable

Health team searches for contacts

Patiala villagers self-isolate

Seal entry and exit points of their area/localities

Mosques inspected

Fear being created by fake video: Patient

Says person shown in clip not me, urges people to follow hea...