Kolkata: Oral history is the collection and study of historical information using tape recordings of interviews with people having personal knowledge of past events. IIT Kharagpur has decided to go public with an oral history bank of Partition stories.
The Institute claims that it will be quite different from the official history that they are used to. The humanities and social sciences faculty of the institute —that has worked on the project —announced its findings on Republic Day to drive home the significance of this research.
The bank also has a story of a person named Akhon Shafi Tabassum from Ladakh. Tabassum suddenly got separated from his father, a school teacher, when his village was divided in a half and barbed wires were put up. The project was given to the Institute by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, a wing of the HR ministry.
Faculty members and researchers of the project feel that authoritative official history has often excluded the rhetoric of common people, whose unique stories and experiences have remained unknown and hence an oral history bank of this singularly important event needed to be created.
The team of 11 has created the oral history bank by talking to 200 Partition victims, all in their 70s and 80s, who were young adults at that time. The community crossed over and settled in Ranchi. Similarly there are refugees from East Pakistan, settled in Kharagpur during the Noakhali riots.