Professor Vishwa Nath Datta had been seated in his chair. Utsab got his camera ready while Nonica helped her father put on the hearing aid. I switched on the sound recorder, and was excited to talk to the 1926-born historian who grew up in his ancestral home, just ten minutes away from Jallianwala Bagh.
Interviewing family members is messy. The interview does not stay confined to the questions one asks. Indeed, it spills into stories that the person wants to share, inviting you to look through surfaces you thought were opaque, provoking you to stare hard until your surprised eye comes to rest on shapes whose unrecognisable contours changeContinue reading “Traversing Geographies of Memory: Interviewing family members”
In 2008 I was helping an NGO put together an oral history archive. Armed with my minidisc recorder, I had travelled to some remote villages in India where this NGO had had an impact. I was visiting remote village in Madhya Pradesh because the children here had demanded that their elders hire for them aContinue reading ““We are not snake charmers”: Encounters with identity and reptiles”