Looking Back, Informing the Future: The 1947 Partition of British India
The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, in partnership with the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard, is collecting and analyzing oral histories from survivors of the 1947 Partition with a focus on underrepresented voices, such as women, Muslims in India, Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Parsis, Dalits, and Christians. Led by Professors Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School and Faculty Director of the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, and Karim Lakhani, Charles E. Wilson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and Founder and Co-Director of Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard, more than 2300 narratives of survivors have been collected in the period of 2017–2019.
Most of the narratives were collected with the help of trained volunteers in the region through the Ambassador Model, who interviewed the survivors in their native languages using a semi-structured questionnaire. In addition, partnerships with organizations such as the Citizens Archive of Pakistan and Independent University, Bangladesh helped in the story collection process.
Professor Tarun Khanna and Shubhangi Bhadada discuss the project and some of the results below.