This week, the Curiosity Club Mumbai are in conversation Malvika Bhatia, the passionate Archive Director of the Citizen’s Archive of India (CAI).

As India celebrated its 73rd birthday this month, its population grows both larger and younger. At the same time, we are losing India’s first citizens every day. For decades, oral history has been considered an important supplement for written sources by historians the world over. CAI aims to use oral history to save our country’s cultural legacy. Using modern technology, the CAI’s vision is to preserve the link between generations of Indians and build the country’s story through its best storytellers – its people.

Malvika believes that history is best taught through story-telling, and that is what she pursuing in her role at the CAI. She takes us through a journey in time, providing a nuanced perspective of what life was like for its citizens during the pre & post-independence eras.

She talks us through some incredible personal accounts – of trailblazing women who were awarded their first degrees 60 years after attending college in the 1930s, of adolescent women in smaller Indian cities who were encouraged by unlikely allies – their mother in laws – to gain higher education, and many more anecdotes that attempt to bridge the gap between textbook history and the lives lived.

Malvika also talks through the challenges of attempting to maintain historical accuracy of personal accounts from a time in people’s lives that was infused with vulnerability, loss and trauma.

We discover that chronicling historic legacy goes beyond the recording of political events, and must also include the capturing of social history & cultural changes.

Catch our full conversation with Malvika in the video.