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The Makers Of Modern Punjab - What They Had To Say - Book By Dr Kirpal Singh & Prithipal Singh Kapur

Preface To 'The Makers Of Modern Punjab - What They Had To Say' By Dr Kirpal Singh & Prithipal Singh Kapur

Oral history is a significant methodology for recording contemporary history. In certain respects, it has proved better than the documents wherein some of the details are always missing. Usally all types of in-depth information can be gleaned during the interview with the informant. Hence, Oral History is a  more comprehensive source for construction of history.

The year C.E. 1947 is landmark in the history of Southeast Asia as India and Pakistan (including the present Bangladesh) became sovereign  countries. After independence, it was realized that the British Government had not properly preserved records of freedom struggle as these were kept in a section marked as Thaggi and Dacoity in the National Archives, previously known as Imperial Record Office, New Delhi. Determined efforts were set afoot to collect material regarding freedom struggle. In the wake of this exercise, it was also decided to collect statements of those who were associated with the movement.

There has been a Sikh History Research Department in existance at Khalsa College, Amritsar since C.E. 1930. It is perhaps one of the oldest history research centres in  our region. I was selected to head this Department in 1950. The tragedies of partition were still fresh in the minds of the people. Therefore, I got one research assistant appointed to record the statements of refugees from the West Pakistan. These statements were complied in the form of a book, which was, published by the Chief Khalsa Diwan, Amritsar under the title Shahidian.

In C.E. 1956, we appointed a youngman who had just come out of the college after postgraduation, as a Research Assistant to record the statements of eminent freedom fighters and important political personages. He was Prithipal Singh Kapur who subsequently rose to be Director, Punjab State University Text Book Board and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev Dev University at Amritsar. He found the assignment exciting and enthusiastically collected a number of statements in English and Punjabi within  a short period. In those days, tape recorders were still to get popular in India. One had to record a statement by writing. Four of the statements recorded by him are included in this volumes.

In 1973, Punjabi University, Patiala where I was then working as a Reader in the Department of History, decided to set up an Oral History Cell in the Punjab Historical Studies Departmnet. The Syndicate of the Punjabi University , Patiala appointed  me as Project Officer for this Cell. One Research Assistant was appointed to assist me. Subsequently in 1981, I became the Professor and Head, Punjab Historical Studies Department where Oral History Cell had been located. During my tenure, staff of the Oral History Cell was increased and I got myself enrolled as a member of the Oral History Association ,USA, which enabled me to have access to literature relating to the Oral History methodology. we decided to take the following steps to systematize the recording of statements:

1. As a first step, we identified notable persons who had taken part in important political and social reform movements.

2. A detailed bio-data of such persons was obtained .

3. A questionnaire was prepared for tape-recording the statements.

4. Conversion of tape-recorded statements into script.

5. Approval of script by the person interviewed.

In India, it is not easy to collect the data of Oral History on the lines specified above. But still our systematic method of interviewing the important personalities with certain well  thought-out questions proved to be more rewarding.

The Partition of Punjab in C.E. 1947 was followed by uprooting of more than ten million people, forced cross mass migration between the East and West Punjabs accompanied by massacre of about half a million persons and abduction of about fifty thousand women and children. How and why this happened, has been selected to be the main subject of Part II of this book.

In 1964, I was deputed by the Punjab Government to collect the historical material relating to partition of the Punjab from England. This opportunity was utilized for recording the statements of important British personalities who were present in India during the time of the trauma of partition of Punjab or were involved in the happenings in one way or the other. The interviews with these personalities were fixed with the help of Shri Kewal Singh, ICS, the then Deputy High Commissioner for India in U.K. who took keen interest in this Project. The main theme of these interviews was why there had been so much bloodshed during and after the partition of Punjab. The explanations varied from person to person. But all opinions remain significant for the researchers and students of history . All these statements were compiled in the form of a book entitled Select Documents on Partition of the Punjab.

Professor Prithipal Singh Kapur, the co-compiler had been very closely associated with this project since its very inception. Needless to mention that he contributed handsomely in finalizing this compilation.

It will be in fitness of things to acknowledge with thanks the facilities extended to me by the authorities of Khalsa College, Amritsar and the Punjabi University, Patiala for taking the initiative to record oral evidence of the notables of the period. Thanks are due to all those who were interviewed for their co-operation and courtesies extended. I am grateful to Late Dr Kharak Singh, Editor of Abstracts of Sikh Studies, a Journal of Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, who took keen interest in the publication of this work and even volunteered to edit it.

Thanks are also due to Professor Malwinderjit Singh, formerly of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, who provided some documents relating to Parmanand of Jhansi to facilitate cross-checking of some facts. A mention is necessary about the keen interest evinced by our learned Publishers, S. Gursagar Singh in the publication of this work.

 

Table Of Contents For 'The Makers Of Modern Punjab - What They Had To Say' By Dr Kirpal Singh & Prithipal Singh Kapur

 

Contents

 
  Preface ix
  Editor's Note xiii
1. Introduction 1
2. Master Tara Singh 6
3. Baba Kharak Singh 15
4. Malik Hardit Singh 22
5. Khizar Hyat Khan 45
6. Principal Bawa Harkrishan Singh 48
7. Principal Niranjan Singh 99
8. Professor Narain Singh 116
9. Sardar Gurdial Singh Dhillon 123
10. Parma Nand of Jhansi 128
11. Brigadier Sukhdev Singh 149
12. Major General Mohinder Singh Chopra 158
  Appendix: Major J.M. Short 169

 

Books
Author Dr Kirpal Singh & Prithipal Singh Kapur
Pages 174
Cover Hardbound
Language English

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