Homepage

We reconnect Partition refugees with their childhood homes and communities

Project Dastaan (داستان‎/दास्तान: “Story”) is a peace-building initiative which examines the human impact of global migration through the lens of the largest forced migration in recorded history, the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan.

Afghanistan Map

Pakistan

India Map

India

Bangladesh Map

Bangladesh

We reconnect Partition refugees with their childhood homes and communities

Project Dastaan (داستان‎/दास्तान: “Story”) is an Oxford University-backed peace-building initiative which examines the human impact of global migration through the lens of the largest forced migration in recorded history, the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan.

“I once asked my grandfather what the most important event of his lifetime had been. He didn't say World War 2 or the Cold War or the development of the atomic bomb. He said, 'Partition.' When I asked why, he replied, 'Because two-thirds of my neighbors left and I never saw them again... This is a great project…”

Untitled design-36
Mohsin Hamid, Author, Reluctant Fundamentalist

“So excited for this project. It sheds light on an important part of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi history”

Untitled design (2)
Malala Yousafzai Noble Peace Prize Laureate

“Partition is to modern identity in South Asia, what the holocaust is to Jewish identity. It's the absolute lynchpin and central event of modern South Asian history, which is why I think that Project Dastaan is so important, and why I think you have to support it”

untitled (2)
William Dalrymple, Acclaimed Historian and Writer

“This imaginative and poignant project underscores something policymakers on both sides often overlook: the myriad ways in which memory and shared experience continue to knit together present-day India and Pakistan. The value of the project therefore lies not only in the incredible gift it offers to the participants, but also in its gentle yet powerful critique of the conflict and dislocation between the two countries”

kate
Dr Kate Sullivan de Estrada, Director of South Asian Studies, Associate Professor in the International Relations of South Asia - University of Oxford

“You don't have to be brown to want to support this film. Just spread the word, like, tweet it out, put it on your socials. Ultimately I think it's an important project that should exist in the world.”

20180852_1430414920381878_2577465829163532288_n
Suroosh Alvi, Co Founder, VICE Media

“The Partition discourse continues to live in the hearts and minds of South Asians even today, 70 years later..... Although new identities have now been formed, meaningful connections to both sides of the border are deep-rooted. Project Dastaan is looking to follow those unforgotten trails, to reawaken and cherish valuable moments for those directly affected and those wanting to learn about this historic journey.”

Untitled design (1)
Dr. Sundas Ali, Lecturer at Hertford College, University of Oxford (Politics and Political Sociology) and a Senior Researcher in the UK Civil Service
OUR PROJECT, YOUR STORIES

Turning closed borders into open virtual frontiers

The 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan was the largest forced migration in human history. Over 14 million migrated and over one million perished. After 72 years, Partition continues to be a lived experience for many across the subcontinent. The political relations between India and Pakistan are hostile, plagued by the legacy of Partition and the four wars that followed it. Even today, most refugees have not been able to return home.

When Partition violence was at its height, Gandhi had said that no peace would be possible until the refugees displaced were able to return to their homelands.

Project Dastaan makes that return possible.

OUR MISSION

The Project has three arms: our Social Impact Program, an interactive VR Experience, and a Documentary.

Social Impact Program

Our Social Impact Program will reconnect 75 Partition survivors with their childhood homes across the border. We aim to find the exact locations and memories that these survivors seek to revisit and recreate them through bespoke 360VR experiences.

Child of Empire

Child of Empire is an interactive VR documentary experience which puts you in the shoes of a migrant in 1947. Appealing to a wider audience base, it will be distributed at film festivals and museums worldwide.

The Lost Migration

The Lost Migration combines documentary-style storytelling with Verite art film elements to engage young desis and non-community members alike. Throughout the film, Ehsan Siddiqui is seen making his journey back to his childhood home in Lucknow, India.

OUR PROCESS
OUR VALUES

Project Dastaan aims to act as a step towards mutual understanding between India and Pakistan. We want to immortalise the experiences of the Partition generation and create a lasting impact between generations old and young.

Cultural Preservation

We want to preserve and promote knowledge of the shared cultural heritage of the subcontinent using VR. We also want to train young volunteers across India and Pakistan to learn and innovate methods to record and preserve memories from the subcontinent.

Awareness and Empathy

We aim to recognize and remember the shared trauma that the generation of Partition went through, and help them tell their stories to younger generations in India, Pakistan as well as diaspora and beyond.

Peacebuilding

We want to create social awareness and create peace across borders and across generations. We will facilitate cultural exchange through VR exhibits at museums throughout India, Pakistan and the UK.

Education

We recognise that Partition is usually studied from a macro-political lens. Our Project seeks to educate future generations about the micro-level effects of Partition on the average individual from and interested in the subcontinent.

Major partners:

We work with:

As featured in: