6 January 2014, Berkeley, CA. — The 1947 Partition Archive, a people-powered non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving and sharing eye witness accounts of the Partition of British India in 1947, has kick-started a crowd-funding initiative to seek support from the public. The 1947 Partition Archive strives to foster grassroots, cross-cultural understanding while systemizing an educational resource for this significant chapter in world history to serve a global community. The online funding drive is live till 31 January 2014 on IndieGoGo.com, the world’s leading international crowd-funding platform that has supported thousands of campaigns worldwide.
1947 marked the end of the British Raj in South Asia and the partition of India and Pakistan, when an estimated 15 million people became homeless making it the world’s largest forced human displacement. Over a million lost their lives, more than 100,000 women were abducted and countless children were orphaned. Many of the eye-witnesses, now in their 70s and 80s, still remain deeply emotionally wounded.
In 2013, The 1947 Partition Archive was able to garner the support of almost 500 volunteers to document nearly 1000 oral histories of people from nine countries who witnessed the Indo-Pak Partition first hand. The Archive also preserves pre-Partition life and culture as well as post-Partition migrations and life changes from all ethnic, religious and economic communities in the form of video (and sometimes audio) testimonies. Interviews are conducted in the language that the interviewee is most comfortable with and already include English, Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Sindhi and others. Last year, the Archive was also able to fund four Story Scholars in South Asia.
This year, The 1947 Partition Archive aims to engage 1000 Citizen Historians and fund 20 more Story Scholars in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to document 3000 stories from the eye witnesses of the Partition.
Says Dr. Soumitree Gupta, Outreach Coordinator for The 1947 Partition Archive, “As concerned global citizens, we believe that a strong foundation in history will pave the way for a more enlightened future for the subcontinent. We are immortalizing their vivid and important memories of the Partition before they are lost forever, and bringing this collective knowledge into public consciousness through creative and scholarly expression. However, we must scale up our efforts fast to collect as many of these stories as we can, and as a people-powered movement, we need your help to preserve these fading memories.”
Individual and corporate contributors can choose to donate from as little as $5 and upwards, to fund various activities ranging from preserving stories to sponsoring Story Scholars. As a token of appreciation, donors can receive personalized thank you e-notes; Twitter and Facebook shout-outs; subscription to The Archive’s annual publication, Junction’47; a signed copy of the book, ‘Cracking India’; a private expert session on oral-history collection; exclusive screenings of the oral history collection; or fund a Story Scholar in a region of their choice. For a very limited time, The 1947 Partition Archive is also offering an opportunity to be recognized into perpetuity as one of its Founding Donors.