April, May, June 2021
Summer Announcements

This April we bring you the third in our Museum Learning Series for teachers!
This edition will be facilitated by Latika Gupta and focused on the family-owned and operated Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum of Central Asian and Kargil Trade Artefacts.
On 18 May, on the occasion of World Museum Day, History for Peace and DAG will be hosting an Open House and high tea for teachers at Ghaire Baire, Currency Building, Kolkata.

Details to follow soon. Keep a look out on our social media profiles. To receive updates, follow us by clicking on the social media icon of your choice.
Dear Reader,
In this newsletter we have for you:
  • The Shared Histories journal: freely available to download and access.
  • Two new teaching/learning resources on Migration: A literature module drawing from the wealth of literature Seagull Books has brought to readers world over, and a film module.
  • On the occasion of 50 years of Bangladesh, a four-part teaching/learning resource on the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War that encourages students to explore the subject through the avenues of photography, songs, paintings and collectible ephemera.
  • News of ongoing activity at PeaceWorks.
For those of you who missed or would like to re-visit them, we have put together a quick recap of the events we have hosted so far this year:
  • Witness to Loss: Parasher's Partition Sketches.
  • Our second museum learning series, Time Travelling through Art: Plassey to Partition, in collaboration with Achi Association and DAG Museums.
Along with the latest additions to our website:
  • Ahimsa Conversations by Rajni Bakshi.
  • The Making of the Indian Constitution: A Focus on Process and Methods, by Arun Thiruvengadam.

Finally, we have for you a curated range of excellent resources from across the web on Migration, and a window to exploring the topic beyond the classroom in our This & That segment.

The Shared Histories journal is now out!

Is it possible to overcome bias and celebrate our common humanity through the shared culture and heritage of the subcontinent?
With this question at the centre, we held the Shared Histories conference for social science teachers at Chandigarh in May 2019. Hosted and co-organized by Saint Kabir Public School, the conference took place over two days holding a mix of illustrated talks and workshops, concluding with an exciting guided tour of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh.
The Shared Histories journal is now up on our website, free for you to access and download.
Talks featured in the journal include:
  • ‘Religion and Region’ by Romila Thapar
  • ‘Learning to Live with the Past’ by Krishna Kumar
  • ‘A Division of Hearts, Minds, Properties, and . . .’ by Urvashi Butalia
  • ‘The Indian Memory Project’ by Anusha Yadav
  • ‘Kapurthala and Partition’ by Cynthia Meera Frederick.

Launching Two New Modules on Migration

How do literature and films narrativize lives of migrants, lives of refugees? Migration is at once deeply intimate yet fiercely public. Despite migration having been a historical reality across the progress of civilisations and societies, why is it met with such intense suspicion and rage today? Why are we, as thinking people, allowing this hostility to foster? With borders being rapidly closed off to outsiders, migrants are being systemically pushed to the peripheries, left struggling to find a space of their own within society. If in literature and cinema we find a mirror to society, it is there we must now turn to understand this othering that has crept within us with such severity.
In this newsletter we have for you two fresh teaching/learning modules!
Understanding Migration: The Literature Module brings you a resource drawing from a selection of Seagull Books' extensive body of literature around migration, to explore these questions in your classrooms. 
Understanding Migration: The Film Module is a resource we developed out of a digital course we designed and conducted for the delightful students of classes 4–5 from Pathways School. The module draws from a wide array of content ranging from Paddington to climate change documentaries, with guidelines and suggestions to direct critical discussions, as well as tried-and-tested project and assignment ideas that encourage your students to recognize and reflect on the role of migration in our everyday through creative means.

Click on the buttons below to download the modules.
Aesthetics of Resistance:
Revisiting 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War through Various Art Forms

‘The existing scholarship on the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh seems to have harped on the contesting histories that rise out of private narratives, both oral and written as well as state-governed narratives. However, examining this strikingly traumatic event of contemporary South Asian history through the lens of various aesthetics such as music, photography, films, sports, paintings and other fine arts might result in a more comprehensive understanding of the liberation war as being primarily a people’s movement, at least on the Bangladesh front. This resource focuses on patriotic songs, ephemera (posters, pamphlets, stickers, political speeches at public meetings, wall writings, audio broadcasts), photography and paintings to explore the ways in which these art forms were weaponised by the East Pakistani artists and intellectuals against the oppressive West Pakistan Army that was bent on annihilating Bengali folk cultures and traditions for the sake of a uniform Urdu language-based cultural identity.’

This multimedia resource is an excellent source of potential lesson ideas. We encourage you to use them, get creative and share with us what you come up with!

Click on the button below to view this concise resource.
Ongoing Project
The Anne Frank Youth Network Programme
Photograph in image of screenshot above sourced from Wikipedia (available at https://bit.ly/39WhPeg).

On 13 March we flagged off the Anne Frank Youth Network programme with a group of around 50 students from three schools: Akshar and Modern High School in Kolkata, and Saint Kabir Public School in Chandigarh. Presently ongoing, the digital programme involves weekly sessions that draw from and improvise with existing resources under the Programme, working with adolescents towards building a critical and empathetic understanding of coexistence with difference.
For a sense of how these sessions unfold, click below to access our reports of the pilot we did with the students of Shiv Nadar School earlier this year.
Latest from History for Peace
Witness to Loss: Parashers Partition Sketches
Prajna Parasher and Aloka Parasher

Missed this illustrated talk and conversation on artist, sculptor and writer S.L. Parasher? An excellent resource to introduce or enhance your students’ interest in the Partition from a deeply intimate perspective, now catch the video on our website!
‘As those born on the cusp of the shift from memory—what our parents told us, and re-memory, what we have to learn for ourselves—we must feel a special responsibility toward Partition, to the violence of the birth of modern India and to the unrecorded lost who paid with their expectations, often with their lives, for our current well-being. Parasher's Partition Sketches are a window into this largely empty space. They are that rare transitional item that flows directly from the immediacy of his experience in a transit camp in 1947 to our experience in 2021 trying to imagine hopelessness and despair, of the lives which have given us our own, of a time where everything which was dependable had been ruptured and nothing of the future could be imagined. The very fragility of these pieces—they are largely on scraps of available paper—is testament to the nearly impossible journey they have made from that moment to this one. Unlike written records, scant as those are, and unlike recreations such as film, these sketches are a constant, as real now as they were in the muddy, fly strewn and exhausted moments of their creation.’
Time Travelling through Art:
Plassey to Partition

Concerned that the past year of virtual classes has taken a toll on meaningful engaged teaching and learning? That your students are widely disparate in their learning levels owing to unequal digital and computer accessibility? The DAG Museums team came up with a Whatsapp-friendly module to get students exploring History through art.
This March we initiated our second museum learning series, Time Travelling through Art: Plassey to Partition. Brought to you by Achi Association India and History for Peace, this hybrid module was developed and presented by the DAG Museums team, using art from the DAG museum–exhibitions to explore familiar landmarks in the history of modern India through the perspectives of artists, travellers, teachers and everyday people.
Taking participants through the evolution of art in Bengal from the arrival of the first European painters in the late-18th century to the post-independence period, the series encompasses the early phases in Bengal art known as the Dutch Bengal style, the rise of the Bengal School, art practices at Santiniketan, visual depictions of the famine, and comes down to the turbulent 1970s.

Ahimsa Conversations
by Rajni Bakshi

Brainchild of author–journalist Rajni Bakshi, Ahimsa Conversations is an exploration of the multi-faceted and evolving concept of ahimsa after Gandhi. So far over 50 Ahimsa Conversations with activists, scholars and business people from 10 different countries have been published on-line.
‘It’s been a while now since Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day became a contentious moment in our public life. The simple, multi-faith prayer meeting on the lawns of Gandhi Smriti, presided over by the Prime Minister, still routinely happens. But inevitably, it is news of some glorification of Gandhi’s assassin that goes viral on social media.
For many Indians this situation reinforces a long-held belief—namely, that nonviolence began and ended with Gandhi.
On the contrary, the story of nonviolence after Gandhi is deeper and richer than is commonly acknowledged. A large volume of both academic and activist literature has continuously documented the innovations in nonviolence theory and practice over the last 70 years.’
To read more about Rajni Bakshi's project and access the Youtube channel, click on the button below.
The Making of the Indian Constitution:
A Focus on Process and Methods
Arun Thiruvengadam

Before the pandemic hit the world and drastically altered the pace of our lives to differing degrees, History for Peace began 2020 on a rather active note with two social science teachers’ conferences in the first two months of the year.Here is an excerpt from one of the talks, by Arun Thiruvengadam, Professor of Law, Azim Premji University:
‘I feel it is important to understand the background context and atmosphere against which the Constitution was created [. . . .]Ours was a very literal division. Partition also caused the break-up of the Indian subcontinent as nationhood came in the aftermath of independence. Divided societies have certain characteristics. In India, ethnic violence was very much part of the mix. Partition, as we know, caused almost fifteen million people to migrate on both borders, on West and East Pakistan as they became, there were populations moving around, evacuated in many cases. The number of deaths in Partition is a question historians are still grappling with [. . . .]In 1948, they were still at an early stage of the working out what the constitution would contain. The entities represented in the Assembly had different affiliations and interests: those from the British Indian provinces as well as those from the Princely States. We know the convoluted story of the 562 Princely States.
[ . . . .]Beyond these difficulties, the framers were conscious that they were coming out of 200 years of an exploitative colonial economy. At the time, the global economy was in shock. The recent end of the Second World War meant that all the great powers were grappling with the economic consequences of one of the most devastating events in world history. War was breaking out in Kashmir—the first war started as the various parties were trying to resolve the status of Kashmir. Finally, there were also the Communists who had openly declared that they were going to oppose the new Indian state. It was against this atmosphere, that this group of people came together and said: we are going to now think of drafting a constitution for the new India.’
Resources from the Web

Re-Imagining Migration has put together a comprehensive ‘Understanding Migration’ resource classified into three categories: Life before migration, The Journey, and Adjustment. Take a look at it here.

Europeana has an extensive range of creative resources on Migration drawing from literature and the arts. Here are a few that particularly caught our attention: People on the Move; I Am the Change: Refugees, Art and Activism; and
Migration in Artworks. Is Migration too mature a subject for younger students? We think not. Aside from our Understanding Migration film module, here's something you could draw from for an even younger audience: From Cuddly Toys to Leaves.

Even a cursory browse on the web gives us a sense of the extent of efforts made to develop freely accessible teaching resources on Migration. However, the dearth of classroom tools on the subject made in or for the Indian subcontinent’s context was noticeably gaping. While we have tried to address this to some extent in our Understanding Migration film module, we invite you to use the platform of our website and connect with your peers in sharing experiences of/ideas for bringing migration into Indian classrooms.
Want to first discuss possibilities with your peers from across the subcontinent and further? Start a discussion group here.

To help you get started, here are a few potential sources for your Migration lesson ideas/teaching resources:

A treasure trove of information, including data, on Emigration, Immigration and Diaspora Relations in India.

Want to use our Understanding Migration modules as a model but draw from 20th century cinema made in the subcontinent instead? This Cinemaazi piece on the migrant experience as depicted in Hindi cinema of the 1940s–'50s might just inspire you. Why stop here? There's a world of cinema and literature from other decades, in different languages, waiting to be explored!

What do indentured labour and Bhojpuri virah geet (songs of separation) have to do with each other, or migration? To find out, read this piece by Alok Gupa for Down to Earth. On this subject it may be worth your time to explore this film by Simit Bhagat, and the Bidesia Project which aims to conserve Bhojpuri folk culture.

Food is one of our favourite ways to get students thinking about migration from a personal place(take a look at our Understanding Migration film module): Where do our favourite dishes come from, how did ingredients native to one place travel thousands of miles across the world, how do cuisines and culinary methods evolve? These two Sahapedia articles could give you some ideas: Hyderabadi Cuisine: Tracing its History through Culinary Texts; Maska Bun and Migration: Irani Cafes in Bombay.

For an engaging, accessible read (for you and your high school students) that can be an excellent starting point to dig further, consider Chinmay Tumbe's India Moving: A History of Migration (Penguin Viking, 2018). Below is a talk the author did for Karwaan - The Heritage Exploration Initiatives Online History Festival.
This & That

If you are passionate about music and history, Tony Gatlif's Latcho Drom (trailer above) might be just the watch for you. This incredible documentary reconstructs/imagines the historical migration of the Romani from the Indian subcontinent westwards to Spain, through their changing music forms.

Here's a fascinating piece we found in Scroll.in about a community from Madhya Pradesh that continues to be largely nomadic to this day. Their profession? Repairing harmoniums, an instrument whose modified form is widely used in North Indian classical music and Sufi Qawwali, but whose origins lie in Europe. Read the article here.