The Indian Memory Project is a growing online archive that aims to trace India’s history through the intimate lens of family pictures. But this is so much more than your grandparents’ Facebook. The pictures, which range from formal portraits to casual holidays photos, are fragments of life in India between the 1890s and the 1980s.
“We don’t really know much about our own country,” said Ms. Yadav. “It’s so diverse but all we see are clichés.” The India Memory Project, which was launched in February 2010, is also part of an ongoing group exhibition in Delhi’s Vadehra Art Gallery. Called “Something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” the show is centered around the family portrait and runs until May 20.
But for the purpose of Ms. Yadav’s project, her web portal is all you need. In one picture, dated 1953, an army officer poses triumphantly next to a tiger after a hunt. This was just one of the 13 tigers Captain Prabhakar Raj Bahuguna killed in his lifetime, explains his daughter in the text that comes with the image. She goes on to say that her father, filled with remorse, became an active conservationist later in his life. He even blamed his failing eyesight on the tigers’ revenge.
The online archive, which now includes around 70 pictures, is set to grow. Ms. Yadav sees it as a project with no real end date. Anyone can submit a photo, so long as it meets a few requirements. All pictures must have an Indian connection, and must have been taken before 1990. A short text should accompany each image. For more details, go to the Indian Memory Project site.