The Oral Histories project is meant to preserve the memories, lived experiences and opinions of people who are repositories of knowledge in the fields of arts and culture. Initiated in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (IIAS), in 2012, the project has since grown to build an archive of extensive interactions with scholars, practitioners and institution builders. Over 40 interviews have been recorded on video and transcribed.
These recordings, available online at Sahapedia, also provide insights into the time, circumstances and the milieu in which the knowledge bearers have worked and lived. The interactions are not just celebrations of the works of the knowledge bearers; these are critically informed interviews conducted by other experts influenced by or associated with them, who do not refrain from asking leading and provoking questions. The archive of interactions is of immense value for scholars and researchers. Among those interviewed are Teejan Bai, exponent of Pandvani (musical narration of tales from the Mahabharata), S.R. Faruqi, Urdu critic and novelist who revived Dastangoi (art of Urdu storytelling from the 16th century), and Lokesh Chandra, art collector and one of the foremost scholars of Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhism.