The India Center Hosts Partition Presentation

By Puja Shanbhag

On April 12, 2023 the India Center hosted Guneeta Singh Bhalla, Ph.D., founder of the 1947 Partition Archive. Bhalla presented on her project on India’s Partition. The talk touched on the cataclysmic Partition of India in 1947, which led to one of the largest mass migrations in history. Bhalla offered individual Partition stories from the book 10,000 Memories: A Lived History of Partition. The book includes stories of Partition survivors from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session led by India Center affiliate faculty member Amrita Ghosh, Ph.D. 

Guneeta Sing Bhalla, Ph.D. presenting at the India Center's Partition event.

Bhalla opened her talk by explaining the inception of The 1947 Partition Archive, recalling her grandparents’ Partition stories as she was growing up. Later, she realized the need to record these stories to remember the events and individual experiences of the Partition. Since the creation of The 1947 Partition Archive, it has become one of the largest records of oral history with more than 10,000 Partition survivors’ stories recorded. The archive is based on crowdsourced, community-based recorded data, while also training local community members to document, preserve and share oral histories of Partition witnesses in their communities.

After discussing several Partition stories, Ghosh led a Q&A with Bhalla, followed by questions from the audience. Bhalla and Ghosh reflected that Partition still lingers as a trauma and affects subcontinental politics and cultures. However, the stories from the archive reflect an empathy from the people who experienced the Partition, regardless of their gender, religion or nationality. 

View the recording here.

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