GUIDELINES FOR WRITING YOUR SUMMARY
Each summary aims to tell a complete story of the interviewee's life, so including many details helps to create an accurate, fully-formed life story. Of course, you don't need to write-up the interview word-for-word--rather, include the major details (at least 3) from each part of life - childhood, Partition, after Partition, and current life. In all, the summary should be 1 to 2 pages in length, or a minimum of 600 words.
This document justifies the stories of these Partition witnesses, and will be read by thousands, possibly millions, in the future, so please write carefully!
Below are some examples of details to include:
1. Pre-partition life: birth date and place, home life, community, school memories, siblings, friends, parents and their occupations,
ancestral background, how communities got along
2. Partition: When/how they heard the news, reaction to news
3. Migrants: Making the decision to migrate, migration route and experiences along the way, how they travel and with whom, feelings during the journey, what was left behind;
4. Non-migrants: Changes witnessed in society and economy, feelings and opinions about the changes or lack of, how their daily lives changed, how communities got along
5. Post-Partition: New homes, adjustment to new place, allotments or compensation, education, career/jobs, marriage, children, traveling, any outstanding details or anecdotes
6. Now: Where they live now, how they spend their time, opinion on Partition, message to future generations
In all, the interview summary is meant to create a full picture of the interviewee’s life story and aims to be report-like. The INTERVIEWER BACKGROUND/ PERSONAL REFLECTION section provides a space to share how you felt about the interview and inspiration you came away with. You can also describe the circumstances surrounding the interview, for example, how you met the interviewee, if the family came and gathered around to hear their story, or if the interviewee is hard of hearing.
After you have written the summary, please submit it to The Archive through this form. Do not share it with your interviewee and/or a member of their family before turning it in online. Your interviewee will be granted the opportunity to make factual corrections about any misunderstandings, misspellings, mistaken dates, names, or places once the interview is fully archived and curated by our team.
The EXAMPLE SUMMARY below is from an interview conducted by Story Scholar Prakhar Joshi with Mrs. Leela Mamtani on January 29, 2014 date in New Delhi. Link to the FB summary or the StoryMap summary.
Mrs. Leela Mamtani was born in Kandyara town of Nawab Shah District in Pakistan on October 21, 1932. Until the age of fifteen, she lived in Kandyara while her brothers lived in Karachi and Hyderabad. Her father was a prominent landlord and they lived in a huge haveli. The house had various secret cupboards called hoori, which were used to hide valuables. In 1947, the family had to abandon two hoori full of riches. Mrs. Mamtani walks down the memory lane when she describes the family life in Kandyara. Her family had very harmonious relations with Muslims and there were brotherly sentiments. Mrs. Mamtani recalls her mischief from childhood and shares memories with friends Devi, Tilli and Sheila. They used to bunk classes and ran into the orchards for fruits or the ponds and waterfalls.
Mrs. Mamtani mentions a festival Thaddari which was celebrated during the monsoon months. It was not a religious festival but a community celebration when all the families got together for singing and merriment, and exchanged sweet breads. Mrs. Mamtani’s family offered prayers to the water god Darya Shah.
Folk songs were a major part of all revelry- community or religious and all major activities like child birth, marriages, crop harvest. Mrs. Mamtani bursts into a melodious song that the women used to sing overnight during celebrations. Another unique aspect was the intricate embroidery work of Sind province, mostly done by Muslim ladies. The markets in Kandyara were elaborate and segregated according to commodities- cloth, general items and food.
The Indian National Congress, in its bid to raise awareness about the national movement, was popularizing the spinning wheel charkha, which went on to become the symbol of India’s freedom movement. Mrs. Mamtani recalls they had a dedicated period at school every day for learning how to spin the wheel and weave yarn. The Congress organized rallied to ignite the patriotic fervor amongst everyone. With an air of pride for the country, Mrs. Mamtani says, “By the time I was fifteen, I had been to jail twice”.
The months of 1947 that saw British India’s freedom and consequent division of the land were met with hardly any disturbances in Kandyara. Mrs. Mamtani recalls sporadic attacks and night long pelting of stones at her house. By December of 1947, the attacks increased in intensity and the family had collected stones and red chilli powder for protection. On Januray 1, 1948 Mrs. Mamtani’s family decided to leave and took a bus to Hyderabad with all that they could carry.
On their way to the port city of Karachi, the family was robbed off everything. After five days, Mrs. Mamtani boarded a ship with her family for Mumbai. The captain of the ship did not know the directions for Mumbai and he anchored in the middle of nowhere. Mrs. Mamtani remembers the conditions of sea sickness and loss that had gripped everyone. The ship then docked in Kutch, Bhuj in Gujarat.
After moving through several towns the family settled in Ajmer, Rajasthan. After her marriage to Mr. Satram Mamtani in 1952, Mrs. Mamtani moved to Delhi. Her talent in singing was acknowledged by a music director Darshan Singh, and he trained her in modern vocal music. Mrs. Mamtani went onto become a radio singer of repute. She sings in Sindhi, Hindi and Punjabi; and works hard to popularize and preserve Sindhi folk songs. Her radio programs are also broadcasted in Pakistan by the External Affairs Ministry of the government of Pakistan.
In 2009, Mrs. Mamtani was invited by the Urdu Services of the BBC London to visit Sindh. She recalls with nostalgia the love and warmth she received as she travelled across the province. She also visited her old house and hometown. People loved her there and arranged for recording her songs.
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ENTER: INTERVIEW SUMMARY
Interviewer, please enter background information on the person you are interviewing. What do they do today? What is their profession and their personal position or accomplishments in life? If they are retired, what was their occupation? Where do they live now? Can you summarize their life story and Partition experience (include names of places and their age during Partition). Is there something very special about their life or migration story? What about their ancestry? How many daughters/sons, grandchildren? Please write a short paragraph here. Use as much space as you like. We recommend ½ to 2 pages for this summary. THIS WILL BE A PUBLIC SUMMARY. CHOOSE WORDS CAREFULLY.
ENTER: INTERVIEWER BACKGROUND/ PERSONAL REFLECTION
Tell us a bit about yourself and your relation to the interviewee. What is your profession and age? How did you feel about the interview? What draws you to this project? How do you know the interviewee? This is your opportunity to provide your personal reflections about the interview and/or the project. THIS WILL BE A PUBLIC SUMMARY. CHOOSE WORDS CAREFULLY.
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This form was created inside of The 1947 Partition Archive.