DU proposes study of Partition impact on Sindhi language

The Sindh region became a part of Pakistan during Partition. DU intends to document “forgotten stories” of its people

In the run up to setting up of the Centre for Independence and Partition Studies (CIPS), Delhi University has submitted a proposal to conduct research on Sindhi language and the impact of Partition on the language and the community, to the National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language (NCPSL).
The Sindh region became a part of Pakistan at the time of Partition. Now located in southeastern Pakistan, it is bordered by the provinces of Balochistān on the west and north, Punjab on the northeast, the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat to the east, and the Arabian Sea to the south.

According to officials aware of the matter, the university intends to document “forgotten stories” and “creating a repository of oral history transcripts”.

The proposal is among the pilot projects for the upcoming CIPS, they said.

The proposal stated that Sindhi became a “stateless language” during the partition and that the migration of Sindhi-speaking Hindu population is a “unique process which requires further research”.

It added, “It would only be appropriate that documentation on the status of Sindhi language and the population speaking Sindhi is given place in the context of the studies on Partition.”

Shri Prakash Singh, who is part of the governing body, which will oversee the centre, said, “A governing body and a research committee have been constituted. We have recently submitted a proposal to the NCPSL to study the Sindhi language, the community and the impact of the partition on the community.”

NCPSL was established in 1994 under the department of higher education of the Union education ministry.
In its draft proposal to NCPSL, the varsity has sought a grant of ₹1 crore.

If granted, the varsity will use the funds to create a repository of private papers, manuscripts, and newspapers related to Sindh, officials said. It also aims to launch certificate or diploma programmes as well as Value Addition Courses (VACs) and Skill Enhancement Courses (SECs). Workshops, seminars, and conferences are likely to be organised too.

According to the proposal, the university also plans to document narratives of sorrow, hardships and challenges by revisiting the lives of the victims by conducting interviews and creating an oral repository. Singh said, “The centre will focus on compiling and documenting stories of families who were affected by the partition. A lot of it has been documented but some is also pending. To document the real stories, we hope to approach elderly people who might have witnessed the partition.”

A concept note by the university said that the centre should focus on the different facets of the struggle for freedom and stories that seldom find space in mainstream historical narratives. It also aims to focus on the intricacies surrounding Partition such as the strategies by the imperial government, strategies adopted for rehabilitation of the refugees, among others. It will map locations and other details of Partition victims including the migration routes.

Singh said that a space in the Arts Faculty has been identified for setting up the centre, and that the required rooms will be ready in around a month.

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