Wed 15 May 19
Award-winning BBC journalist Kavita Puri will tell the previously-untold stories of those who lived through the partition of India 70 years ago at a public event this month.
Inspired by her father’s own experiences, Kavita’s landmark three-part series Partition Voices, for BBC Radio 4, has created, for the first time, an oral history of the end of the British Empire and the difficult birth of two nations, India and Pakistan.
She will discuss the project and the lives of those affected by partition - many of whom are now part of the fabric of British contemporary life - in conversation with the Head of the Department of History, Dr Mark Frost, on Thursday 23 May, 5pm-7pm.
‘Memories of Partition and Migration’ is open to all and free to attend. It is the second annual public history debate hosted by the Department after the inaugural debate, in 2018, which welcomed BBC journalist Clive Myrie who discussed the US Presidency.
Professor Lucy Noakes, of the Department of History, said: “We are committed to making history accessible and visible to as many people as possible and our public history debates are a great opportunity to hear about the histories and the history making that underpin some of the ways that the past becomes visible, and shapes our lives today.”
Having been shrouded in silence for decades, Partition Voices, gives voice to the millions of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims caught up in the aftermath of the fall of the British Empire in India. Many of those South Asians who had previously been subjects of the British Raj made their homes in Britain. Determined to preserve these accounts Kavita has recorded a series of first-hand testimonies, revealing the partition’s enduring legacy in Britain today.
Partition Voices has already won the Royal Historical Society's Radio and Podcast Award and its overall Public History Prize. The testimonies are being archived by the British Library Sound Archive and a book, based on the BBC series is due out later this year.
Kavita previously charted the migration of South Asians to post-war Britain in her Radio 4 series, Three Pounds in My Pocket. She works for BBC Current Affairs as Editor of Our World, a foreign affairs documentary programme.