The LUMS Digital Archive; Exploring Alternate Histories, curated by Dr. Ali Raza and Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi

Dr. Ali Raza and Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi, Associate Professors at the Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences, have curated a first of its kind Digital Archive at LUMS. A collaboration with the Technology and Peace Initiative (TPI), the Archive is a research repository that aims at collecting, cataloging and preserving rare material (books, pamphlets, newspapers and other items) of historical significance and making them available to researchers. In particular, the Archive focuses on events, groups, movements and personalities relating to broader historical, political and cultural trends in South Asia, with an emphasis on preserving the accounts of marginalised and subaltern groups. In doing so, the archive hopes to bring researchers, students and colleagues together to explore alternate histories.

As of now, the LUMS Digital Archive has four projects on its website titled; Partition Testimonies: Ishtiaq Ahmad Collection, Partition Abduction 1947, Punjabi Literary Journals and Reports on Anti-Ahmadiyya Violence. The first project is a collection of partition interviews that span both sides of the border. Generously donated by Professor Ishtiaq Ahmad, the two hundred interviews explore themes of violence, communal relations, migration and longing. The second project, Partition Abductions 1947, uses archival material to map the abductions of women and children during the Partition. The map identifies both the areas and the number of victims down to the village level. It hopes to make the data specific down to the tehsil level. The third project, is a collection of Punjabi literary journals donated by fiction writer, Julien Columneau. This collection of Punjabi Literary journals features key publications from the 1950s and 1960s that provide a fascinating insight into Punjabi print worlds in West Punjab. The fourth project is a collection of excerpts from the record of the daily proceedings of the court of inquiry, which was constituted to probe into the violence against Ahmadis and the imposition of Martial Law in Lahore March 1953.

The Digital Archive is now live and calls fellow students, researchers and scholars to use it as an emerging source. Through this Archive, LUMS hopes to create a space that encourages scholars to share their primary research and help expand the field of historical inquiry.

Find the website here