Memories of Partition Project Archive

Scope and Content

The collection includes:

  • Oral history and video interviews with participants
  • Exhibition text and photographs of the exhibition space
  • Visitor feedback
  • Artistic interpretation created in conjunction with the Royal Exchange

Administrative / Biographical History

'Memories of Partition' was an 18-month project, run by Manchester Museum, which aimed to capture the collective memory of those affected by the 1947 Partition of India into independent nations of India and Pakistan (and subsequently Bangladesh in 1971).

At the heart of Memories of Partition was a community-based oral history programme, designed to capture, record and interpret some of the many hidden, personal experiences relating to Partition. The project assumed a primarily faith-based approach to community engagement, with the aim that balanced representation was afforded to Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities at all times.

Selected oral histories (and personal effects loaned by the interviewees) formed the inspiration for a series of documentary films, a temporary exhibition at Manchester Museum, public programmes, and a season of newly-created dramatic performance ('Come Closer') developed in a unique collaboration with the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Independence and Partition in August 2017, the project hoped to encourage greater public understanding of the historic and contemporary significance of Partition on Manchester and its diverse South Asian communities. It was part of a Manchester-wide cultural commemoration of the 70th anniversary.

Users are advised that this collection contains testimonies that recount instances of violence by or towards certain religious groups which may be upsetting.


GB3228.77/1: Oral Histories
GB3228.77/2: Memories of Partition Exhibition
GB3228.77/3: Come Closer monologues

Access Information

24 hours notice is required to view this collection. Material will then be accessible through Manchester Central Library Search Room, Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD. To access this collection please: Contact the archive

Acquisition Information

This material principally came from Manchester Museum. The Royal Exchange Theatre was instrumental in facilitating the collection of the Come Closer material GB3228.77/3 directly from the writers.

Alternative Form Available

Final exhibition films available via YouTube: Memories of Partition Videos

Conditions Governing Use

Mixed copyright, speak with Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre staff before allowing copying of any material

Appraisal Information

6 boom mic tracks for the Jason Singh interview: Included in the boom mic tracks was a track of the air conditioning for editing purposes. The five other tracks are duplicates of the lapel mic tracks except the fifth track for which the boom mic did not record sound and so is blank. The lapel mic tracks have been retained and catalogued as GB3228.77/2/3/9.

6 raw audio tracks from a filmed interview (video of interview not provided) with Kanta Sharma and Poornima Toteja. This audio / video was filmed as a possible film for the exhibition, it was not eventually used, no summary or translation was provided for this raw audio. An oral history interview with Kanta Sharma and Poornima Toteja has been retained and catalogued as GB3228.77/1/6, a description of this interview in English has been provided by the project and is included in the catalogue. Also an edited video and raw audio with Poornima Toteja has been retained and catalogued as GB3228.77/2/3/13-14.


No accruals expected as this was a time limited project and is now complete. However three Come Closer scripts have not been deposited and may be added in future.

Related Material

See also Kashmiri Lives collection (GB3228.79) for other material and memories relating to Partition.
See also Commemorating the Partition of India material (GB3228.81).

The archives of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre also contains the institutional project papers associated with the Memories of Partition project.

Books held in the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre:

Violent belongings partition, gender, and national culture in postcolonial India, Daiya Kavita, 2008. Reference: AR.2.01/DAI

Midnight's descendants : South Asia from Partition to the present day / John Keay, 2015. Reference: HI.5/KEA

Advanced history of India, Majumdar R.C., 1973. Reference: HI.5.02/MAJ

Dwelling in the archive women writing house, home, and history in late colonial India, Burton Antoinette, 2003. Reference: AR.2.01/BUR

Freedom, trauma, continuities Northern India and independence, Low, D. A, 1998. Reference: HI.5.03/LOW

Indian migrations / Rachel Warner, 1994. Reference: IM.6.03/WAR

Books held in Central Library Manchester:

Partition in Ireland, India and Palestine : theory and practice / T.G. Fraser, 1984. Ref: 320.54FR1

Midnight's furies : the deadly legacy of India's partition / Nisid Hajari, 2015. Reference: 954.042HAJ

At the time of partition / Moniza Alvi, 2013. Reference: 821.92ALY

Midnight's descendants : South Asia and its peoples from Partition to the present day, Keay, John, 2014. Reference: 954.04kea

Keeping the jewel in the crown : the British betrayal of India / Walter Reid, 2016. Reference: 954.035

Shameful flight : the last years of the British Empire in India / Stanley Wolpert, 2009. Reference: 954.0359

India: a portrait / Patrick French, 2012. Reference: 954.04

India remembered / Pamela Mountbatten, 2007. Reference: 954.0359MOU

Where the river parts [electronic resource] / Radhika Swarup, 2016. Reference: See catalogue

The bloodstone papers / Glen Duncan, 2007. Reference: 823.92

For further information on any of these titles see Manchester Libraries Catalogue

Geographical Names