Srishti #chasingmemories/Srishti & Fakhra are planting trees across borders
ABOUT THE 1947 PARTITION ARCHIVE’s 10,000 story mission
The 1947 Partition Archive is on a mission to ensure that people’s history of South Asia’s Partition is not forgotten. We document and preserve eye-witness accounts from ALL communities affected by the partition of British India. The aim is not only to preserve the stories for future generations but also to empower the partition witnesses and their families to re-write the existing narratives of Partition as well as to bring the knowledge of Partition into wider public consciousness.
We started this work in 2010 and have made a significant intervention already with nearly 7500 oral histories recorded, making it the largest oral history record from South Asia. Prior to this, the collective memory of Partition was on the verge of being lost. It is our goal to record 10,000 stories in the next year as thousands of people await the opportunity to share their memories. Given that Partition happened more than 70 years ago, there is a great urgency today as those who remember are in their 80’s and 90’s today.
My main inspiration is the strength, values and the story itself of the partition witnesses. The fact that we are aiming to collect 10,000 stories through #chasingmemories means we are directly contributing to this important event of South Asian history and that remains a
constant motivation. Every story is distinct and yet interlinked with emotions, nostalgia, camaraderie which stands out for me.
Having organised numerous Voices of Partition events in Mumbai at large and at universities we can realise the urgent need of spreading knowledge, discussing the chronology of stories as well the overall socio-cultural impact of the Partition with communities and students today!
It is truly enriching to see how each memory connects to the community’s history thereby connecting to a city’s history. Dehradun in Uttarakhand is my hometown & where my grandparents generation moved to from Abbotabad, Northwest Frontier Province during the Partition was much affected by the refugee displacement at the time of Partition and central to events and narratives alike, as are several other small towns with numerous untold stories. This forms a core area of interest for me to share through #chasingmemories and engaging in dialogue around people's history and the Partition. The oral history method aligns with my doctoral work with Borderland communities who also witnessed the Partition and presents an opportunity for me to pursue story collection for the 1947 Partition Archive.
My interest in Partition histories in general started taking root during my master’s dissertation on cross-cultural analysis of women’s literary narratives in 2007. At that time, oral histories of 1947 Partition were absent in mainstream popular culture or social media.
I believe The 1947 Partition Archive has made a tremendous impact in bringing many unheard voices of Partition from narrow domestic walls to the public reading consciousness at large, not only through social media but also through art exhibits, book launches, academic seminars, and print media.
After having documented close to 300 stories of diverse South Asian geographies, I feel now is the best time and opportunity to be #ChasingMemories with the dynamic people of South Asia who have made my journey worthwhile, and do my part to help fund raise for The 1947 Partition Archive in meeting its goal of 10,000 stories.
Gujranwala, where I live is a city still reeling from effects of Partition: unplanned urbanization, rapid population growth, and internal displacement of refugees settled in small villages around the district, with still a lot many unheard stories waiting to be recorded. The Archive’s oral history method promotes critical inquiry and is in line with the freedom I need to interact and empathize with the Partition witnesses, without any bias or judgement. I hope to introduce these methods into the classroom for middle school students of history and geography, in the very near future.
Our step further towards Indo-Pak Sapling planting:
Fakhra lives in Gujranwala Cantt, West Punjab. Srishti lives in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Both of us hail from Partition families. This summer we are coming together across the borders and combining our two passions: ecological preservation and preserving our history. Together we are planting 72 saplings to honor the memory of Partition witnesses.
The 72nd anniversary of independence from the British is upon us. This August, we invite you to join us in commemorating cross-border shared histories, and mutual trust that endure between people inspite of the 1947 Partition.
Starting from August 14th, we are planting 72 trees in India and Pakistan to honor the memories of Partition witnesses around the world, recorded by The 1947 Partition Archive.
War is not a solution to the problems of extreme proportions like global warming, inflation, poverty, drought, floods, population explosion and acid fog, all of which pose serious threats to our health and safety.
The UN has forecast a climate emergency in 2050. We can only be prepared for such emergencies when we work together to safeguard our future.
Was your grandfather/grandmother born in Pakistan, and migrated to India in 1947 or born in India and migrated to Pakistan or Bangladesh? For every INR 150, 500 or 1000 you donate, we will plant a tree, in India, or in Pakistan, in their honor. (Nominate your ancestor and their place of birth in your donation.)
Join us in planting trees, and help us preserve 8 invaluable oral histories of our shared heritage, for a greener, cooler and oxygenated South Asia.
The 1947 Partition Archive provides a platform that empowers citizens from all ethnic, religious and social-economic backgrounds to discover and share their own histories.