Amar Nath Sehgal Oral History Project

Amar Nath Sehgal Oral History Project is a collaborative effort with the Partition Museum to document and preserve the experiences of millions of people who were affected by the Partition of India in 1947. This event marked the largest mass migration of the 20th century, with millions of people displaced and many losing their lives.

The collection of oral histories aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Partition and its aftermath, including the freedom movement, the uprooting of homes, the struggles and challenges faced by Partition survivors, the building of new homes across the border, the process of reconnecting with communities, and the emotional and psychological toll of returning to the places that were once home.

Through these oral histories, the project seeks to honour and give voice to the millions of people who experienced the Partition firsthand and provide future generations with a deeper understanding of this complex and traumatic event. The stories of the Partition survivors and their families are a testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity.

The Partition of India is a significant event in world history, and its impact is still felt today. By preserving these oral histories, the Amar Nath Sehgal Oral History Project, in collaboration with the Partition Museum, ensures that the voices of those affected by this event are heard and remembered for future generations.

Amar Nath Sehgal

“My ambition in life is pure and simple…to be creative, to bring forth my creative work as simply as possible to humanity, and bring humanism to the forth” – 

Amar Nath Sehgal. 

Amar Nath Sehgal, a South Asian modern artist and physicist by education, was born in pre-Partition India in Campbellpur, Attock district, North of present-day Punjab province in Pakistan. His ambition in life was clear and straightforward: to create and share his art with humanity while bringing humanism to the forefront.

Sehgal’s experiences during the Partition left a lasting impact on his artistic style. His works often feature simple yet highly expressive forms that convey powerful emotions, such as anguish, helplessness, oppression, and a yearning for hope. Through his art, Sehgal sought to evoke a sense of empathy and understanding in his viewers, highlighting the human condition and the need for compassion.

Although he was educated as a physicist, Sehgal became known for his exceptional talent in the arts. The traumatic events he witnessed during the Partition left an indelible mark on his works, which are characterized by their simple yet highly expressive forms that convey a deep sense of pathos. His sculptures capture human emotions such as anguish, helplessness, oppression, and a yearning for hope. It is in this context that Shukla Sehgal’s personal account of her husband’s early days as a struggling artist and their life together adds depth to our understanding of Amar Nath Sehgal’s artistic vision.

This monitor provides a captivating window into the lives of over 200 individuals whose oral histories are being played throughout the museum. These poignant accounts shed light on the arduous journeys undertaken by countless individuals who migrated in kafilas or on foot in the aftermath of the 1947 Partition.