A collection of horrid and emotional tales told by 4300 eye witness, about the incidents happened during India – Pakistan parition, will go public for the first time. A part of complete oral history will be released online on 10th August from Stanford’s digital library repository , founder of The 1947 Partition Archive told.

Bhalla said the remaining collection is too sensitive or delicate to open for public and would be available only to researchers and intersted parties , only by visiting selected university libraries, which are in collaboration with the project. Ashoka University, University of Delhi and Guru Nanak Dev University in India; and Lahore University of Management Sciences and Habib University in Pakistan ; are among the universities which are part of the project.

Archive contains 4,300 oral history interviews and over 30,000 digital documents and photographs, collected from 12 countries in 22 languages. Which makes it one of the largest oral history archive on any topic in South Asia.

We are excited to be releasing this work into the public domain so that it is accessible to all, giving each of us an opportunity to discover our rich history for ourselves,” Bhalla, 37, was quoted in an official statement as saying. Stanford University librarian Michael Keller said the project is tremendously important as part of the historical record and to make readily available for deeper discovery and research.

The material is of particular interest to Stanford as research efforts are underway at the Center for South Asia and the Handa Centre for Human Rights and International Justice. Pilot adoption of the collection into the three Indian university libraries is being supported by Tata Trusts.

“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 firsthand authenticity,” Tata Trusts’ arts and culture head Deepika Sorabjee said.

Historian Priya Satia of Stanford University said: “It’s important because for the last 70 years we have been telling the story of Partition through the lens of high-political negotiations among figures like Jinnah, Gandhi, Nehru, Mountbatten.”

“But none of these political elites foresaw the shape that the Partition would take. We can only understand it by looking at the stories of the people who gave it that shape,” Satia added.

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Karu Cheema

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