The Grand Trunk Road is the oldest, longest and most historic trade and military route in the Indian subcontinent. Writer and oral historian Irna Qureshi travelled with photographer Tim Smith along a significant section of this road to gather material for an exhibition, The Grand Trunk Road – From Delhi to the Khyber Pass. Irna and Tim’s journey started at Delhi in India and ended at the Khyber Pass, which straddles Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. They chose to concentrate on this section of the road because along it are dotted the homelands of the majority of people who have migrated to the UK from the North of India and Pakistan.
The exhibition’s format used oral history extracts and photographs which were interwoven to narrate the story. During 2006, Irna interviewed about 100 people for the exhibition, in India, Pakistan as well as in the UK. Interviews were conducted in a number of different languages and local dialects, and then translated into English. People were interviewed in their homes, at their places of work, at places of worship, and in schools, barber shops, cafes and restaurants. Irna also met people at social gatherings such as weddings, and at shrines and melas. In this resource, Irna Qureshi uses photographs and oral history extracts from the exhibition as well as previously unseen material to explain the methodology she used to collect people’s stories. You will find this resource helpful if you are planning your own oral history project or if you simply want to conduct some interviews.