Guneeta Singh Bhalla is the founder of The 1947 Partition Archive, interviewing Partition survivors at Amritsar, India. Picture courtesy: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Metha Daoheung
- tensions in the border between India and Pakistan restrict visits.
- Facebook and YouTube allow people to connect across borders.
- Online projects tell partition tales
Guneeta Singh Bhalla
As a child, Guneeta Singh Bhalla listened to her mother tell how she came into newly independent India after escaping Pakistan in 1947 along with her children. She witnessed terrible images of violence and carnage that kept her awake throughout the rest of her life.
The stories were not included in Singh Bhalla’s school textbook books, and she therefore created an online history called the 1947 Partition Archive It has around 10,500 oral stories The largest selection of Partition memories from South Asia.
“I didn’t want my grandmother’s story to be forgotten, nor the stories of others who experienced Partition,” said Singh Bhalla, who moved to the United States from India at age 10.
“With all its faults, Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool: the archive was built off of people finding us on Facebook and sharing our posts, which brought much more awareness,” she said to The Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The division of the colonial India in two parts, mostly Hindu India and mainly Muslim Pakistan in the close of British rule, triggered one of the largest massive migrations in the history of humanity.
More than fifteen millions Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs changed countries during the current turmoil of the political landscape, accompanied by bloodshed and violence which claimed more than a million lives.