Kharagpur seminar on Memories and Histories of 1947

On 3-4 January 2018, the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur organized an International Interdisciplinary seminar entitled ”India @70: Revisiting Memories and Histories of 1947”. It was sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research and the Indian Council of Historical Research and marked the 70th year of India’s independence. The seminar was jointly convened by Professor Anjali Gera Roy, IIT Kharagpur and Professor Nandi Bhatia, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Thirty renowned and emerging scholars from universities in India, Canada, USA and Singapore revisited the events of 1947 in the two day seminar juxtaposing histories and memories of Independence. It began with a round table discussion on “History and Memories” featuring noted partition scholars Professor Gyanesh Kudaisya, National University of Singapore; Professor Sucheta Mahajan, Jawaharlal Nehru University; and Professor Bodh Prakash of Ambedkar University Delhi. The discussion was moderated by Professor Gopa Sabharwal, founding Vice Chancellor of Nalanda University.
Other well-known scholars included Professor Himadri Banerjee, former Guru Nanak Chair Professor in Indian History, Jadavpur University; Professor Bhaskar Chakraborty, Calcutta University; and Professor Sukeshi Kamra, Carleton University, Canada. Professor Padmini Mongia of Franklin and Marshall College, USA presented a personal visual narrative of memories of Multan. Along with deliberating on political histories of Independence and partition, historians, sociologists and scholars in literary and cultural studies explored literary, cinematic and testimonial documents to trace the repercussions of the violence of partition across Punjab, Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Tripura, Mizoram and Assam. The seminar also covered the effects of partition beyond the subcontinent in the diaspora to situate it in a global context. The evening saw the screening of two documentary films Dere tun Dilli by Shilpi Gulati and A Thin Wall directed by Mara Ahmed and co-produced by Surbhi Dewan that was attended by the larger community in Kharagpur. The seminar concluded with a workshop of Graduate students from various disciplines.