H-HistBibl: Launch of the digital archive “The Long Emergency. Media and Democracy in India”. “The government of India declared a national emergency citing internal instability in June 1975. By June 26th, the day after emergency had been declared, media outlets in the country had received instructions on news that must be censored. Some newspapers ran blank editorials as protests. In the eighteen months that followed, the press censorship rules remained in effect and additional forms of pressure were exerted on the media. These ranged from the withdrawal of state advertisements to income tax raids on media owners and phone calls to journalists conveying ‘helpful suggestions’ about the news they might (or might not) carry. Many journalists were arrested for protesting the emergency, or for holding views that were considered inimical to state authority. Many others supported the emergency as a necessary measure. Most, however, lay low until the emergency was lifted and the media began reporting actively on the news that they had not covered in the years of the emergency, in a burst of ‘new journalism’ that would shine a light on post-emergency abuses of power as well.”
New-to-me, from Pacific Standard: Saving The Library Before It Burns. “In July of 1947, Surjan Singh Sood sensed a coming danger. The British government had announced a plan to divide colonial India into two separate states and Surjan, having already received threats on his own life, wanted to move his family to safety. He loaded his wife and children into a friend’s car and sent them away, across the Punjab province of British India, from Lahore to the city of Ludhiana. At the time, there was no border to cross between Pakistan and India, and the family made the trip with only one or two boxes, leaving most of their possessions at home. To Surjan’s middle son, Kulbhushan, it seemed inconceivable that they would not return. But a month later, Lahore became part of Pakistan. His father’s decision to move the family quickly to Ludhiana may have saved their lives.” This story is about a digital archive for the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.
Firstpost: Photojournalist TS Satyan’s work gets new lease of life with Bengaluru MAP’s digital archive. “The image as a medium of disseminating or recording information has only gone from strength to strength ever since the camera was invented. The role of the photographer, the once ordained writer of history, though has diminished with time to the point that it now faces a crisis of identity. With a camera in everyone’s hands, who really is a photographer and who isn’t? Though time and technology may have blurred the boundaries of functionality here, back when the photographer was a distinct amalgam of curiousness and glassy tools, his or her eye represented a vision. Aptly then, a collection of photographs captured by one of India’s first photojournalists, TS Satyan, has been brought online by the Bengaluru-based Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), giving Satyan’s work a new lease of life.” I could not find an URL in the article, but you can see at least some of the photos at http://map-india.org/special-collection/the-t-s-satyan-collection/ . These are really arresting. What a beautiful use of light.
The Hindu: This archival project wants you to talk to your grandparents. “Mumbai-based Malvika Bhatia is putting together a public archive of India’s history as told by its oldest citizens. I catch Malvika Bhatia on a busy day. She has just been granted access to the photo archive of politician Vijaylakshmi Pandit’s nephew, the scholar Gokul Pandit. As the project head at Citizens Archive of India (CAI), Bhatia pieces together scraps of history and memorabilia to present a compelling portrait of India before independence.”
The Hindu: Inscription stones of city now on Google Maps. “After an exhibition showcasing the surviving inscription stones of the city, the Inscription Stones of Bangalore team has put all the traced and untraced inscriptions on Google Maps. Not only are locations of the inscriptions marked on the map, but also the full text of the inscription in Kannada and English, current status, size of stone, year of installation, the publication where the inscription is documented, reference documents and photographs-videos of the inscription.” Have no idea what inscription stones are? Read this earlier article from The Hindu.
Tribune India: 100 years later, voices from WWI. “Ten years ago, voice of Mal Singh, a prisoner of war from the First World War, came to India. Held captive at the Half Moon Camp in Germany, the man was batting for hope, remembering the good times in India — the butter he would eat and the milk he would drink…. He was desperate to return home, but doubted if he ever would.” Some of these testimonies are now on YouTube.
Hindustan Times: Delhi’s oral history: Now, government will archive your memories, traditions. “Museums and libraries in the city have stacks of its records — rich with tangible heritage, tales of rulers and their nobles. However, it does not have much to offer in terms of nuanced personal accounts of places in Delhi, past events and its citizenry. This ‘vacuum’ has captured the attention of the department of archives, which has planned to launch ‘oral history project’ to gather and record people’s memories and experiences.”