“I still know their addresses."
August 8, 2019 12:17 PM   Subscribe

The Partition Archive has been preserving oral histories of the 1947 Partition since 2010 through crowdsourcing and through collection by scholars. Over 7,500 oral histories have been preserved on digital video. Many are available on the Partition Archive's Youtube channel or through the archive's partnership with Stanford University. The generation that still remembers the birth of modern India and Pakistan are now elderly men and women, and it's a race against time to record as many stories as possible. “That segment of the population is disappearing really, really fast,” said Guneeta Singh Bhalla, the Berkeley, Calif.-based executive director and driving force of the archive, speaking by telephone. “Within the next five years the vast majority of what's remaining is going to be gone." posted by spamandkimchi (2 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
My whole family traveled to India in 1988 and it was the first time back for both my parents. We visited my father's hometown and he knocked on the door of his old house and explained that he used to live there. The Sikh family that was living there let us in and my father gave us a little tour. We also visited my mother's hometown, but that was more of an ancestral hometown than where they were living prior to partition. Apparently some relative way back was a holy person of some kind and had a pretty nice tomb. They both still had friends and relatives there who they hadn't seen in decades and I think the only time we stayed in a hotel was when we visited Agra, everywhere else we stayed at someone's house. My father passed away 20 years ago and while my mom is still alive but she's over 80 now and while she'll probably live to 100 every week she gets news that a friend of hers has passed away. So I can appreciate the race against time to get these stories down.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:45 PM on August 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

The father of my children was born just before Partition. He was very small. I think he may actually have been premature. His family fled due to Partition and I think it had some awful mental health effects on him. I wonder sometimes if he might have turned out differently without all the trauma?
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:50 PM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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