Board Members

Board of Directors

The 1947 Partition Archive's Board of Directors come from diverse backgrounds and are lending their knowledge, time and expertise in governance.

Mr. Awais Khan (Chairman)

Awais Khan is the Founder and Chief of Social Ventures at Save the Children Foundation, an international non-governmental organization with an annual budget of $1.8B and offices in over 100 counties. In his capacity, Awais leads and oversees SC Ventures, working with social entrepreneurs to scale innovations in health, education, humanitarian response, and financial services to serve beneficiaries at the bottom of the pyramid. Prior to this role, Awais served as the President and CEO of American Pakistan Foundation (APF), an organization inaugurated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Dr. Moeen Qureshi. Under his leadership, APF worked on several key initiatives, including forming a leadership council comprising of multinational CEOs, and supporting the US Congress and State department leadership to setup a $100M fund for investing in the private sector in Pakistan. Awais was also a partner at Ackrell Capital in Silicon Valley, where he led the firm’s technology and energy practice. In addition to his work with the firm, he was the chair of the editorial board for a leading media publication, and founded a premier annual summit on entrepreneurship and venture capital. Earlier in his career, he was also a member of a startup team that built a technology company, which had an exit of $300M. Awais holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering, and a M.B.A from London School of Economics and New York Stern School of Business.  In 1947 his grandparents migrated from Batala in East Punjab to Lahore in West Punjab.

Mrs. Farhana Afroz

Farhana Afroz is a software engineer at Thermo Fisher Scientific in the San Francisco Bay Area. Farhana has been a Citizen Historian with The 1947 Partition Archive since 2011 and has recorded over 100 partition stories in US and in Bangladesh.

Dr. Guneeta Singh Bhalla (Executive Director and Founder)

Guneeta currently serves as Executive Director at The 1947 Partition Archive. Previously, she was an experimental condensed matter physicist and completed her tenure as a post-doctoral researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley, in December 2012. She studied quantum confinement at interfaces that include oxide heterostructures and domain walls in multiferroics. After a 2008 visit to the oral testimony archives at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial she was inspired and began interviewing Partition survivors in 2010. In 2011 The 1947 Partition Archive was born. She has personally interviewed over 100 Partition survivors and rallied volunteers to join in building the grassroots foundations of this people-powered organization. In 1947 her father's family migrated from Lahore to Amritsar on August 14.

Mr. Naeem Zafar

Naeem Zafar is the president and CEO of Bitzer Mobile and also a member of the faculty at the Haas Business School, University of California at Berkeley, where he teaches Entrepreneurship and Innovation as part of the MBA program. Naeem has launched seven startups and has been an adviser for several dozen others. Naeem is a charter member of The Indus Entrepreneurs, the world's largest non-profit organization focused on fostering entrepreneurship and mentorship and a charter member and current president of the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs. Naeem has traveled to all seven continents and 71 countries to lecture on a variety of topics related to starting businesses and the life of an entrepreneur. He has published six books on entrepreneurship that can be viewed at www.NaeemZafar.com. Naeem is leveraging his business start up expertise in helping to lay the groundwork for developing The 1947 Partition Archive.  In 1947, his father was on the last surviving train from Delhi to Lahore.

Dr. Narinder Kapany

Dr. Narinder Kapany is a physicist best known for his pioneering work in fiber-optics, a term he coined in 1960. His research and inventions have encompassed fiber-optics communications, lasers, biomedical instrumentation, solar energy and pollution monitoring. He has over 100 patents, and was a member of the National Inventors Council. He has received many awards including 'The Excellence 2000 Award' from the USA Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce in 1998. He is a Fellow of numerous scientific societies including the British Royal Academy of Engineering, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a Regents Professor at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), and at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). He was also Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) at UCSC for seven years. At Stanford University, he was a Visiting Scholar in the Physics Department and Consulting Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. As an artist, Dr. Kapany has created 40 "dynoptic" sculptures which were first displayed in a one-man show at the Exploratorium of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1972. Since then, the collection has been viewed at museums and art galleries in Chicago, Monterey, Palo Alto, and Stanford. In 1947, Dr. Kapany was 19 and single handedly helped thwart a mob that was seeking to attack a worker at his home.

Mrs. Tanuja Bahal

Tanuja brings over 25 years of experience working in the non-profit sector.  She presently serves as the Executive Director at the India Community Center (ICC) in Milpitas, CA.  The ICC is currently the largest such center in the United States.  Prior to her position as Executive Director at ICC, she held leadership roles in various organizations in the areas of marketing, program development and fundraising.  In 1947 her family migrated from Sindh to Delhi.

Board of Advisers

Our advisers come from diverse backgrounds and are lending their knowledge, time and expertise in helping to launch and develop our programs.

In alphabetical order:

Arun Seth

Arun Seth is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta and has worked in senior commercial positions in the UB Group and HCL among others for the last 40 years. He has been the non-Executive Chairman of Alcatel-Lucent India since May 2011. He has worked for BT Group in India in a variety of positions over 17 years before retiring in July 2012 as non-Executive Chairman. He was on the board of Tech Mahindra (earlier Mahindra BT) since inception, on the board of Airtel Board untill 2002, as well as Jubilant Foodworks (Dominos), Cadista Pharma (a Jubilant group co) in USA, Centum Learning (a Bharti Group co), Usha Breco Ltd, Samtel Avionics (in a JV with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd). He is a Charter Member of TiE Delhi, Indian Angel Network and on the Advisory Board for National Entrepreneurship network. He is deeply interested and actively involved in philanthropy and has served on NGO boards such as Helpage India where he chairs the Resource Committee, Katha, SPIC-MACAY and India Sponsor Foundation. He is also a Trustee of The Nasscom Foundation, which drives CSR initiatives for the IT Industry. 

Azmat Malik

Azmat was a senior executive in marketing and operations at major US, European, and Asian companies in the semiconductor industry. He provides strategy, marketing and operations consulting to early and mid-stage companies in cleantech, electronics, and medical devices. He has advised emerging companies in setting go-to-market strategy, and prepared founders for seed, angel, and growth funding. His industry focus is in Power Electronics, Cleantech, Medical Devices, Sensors and MEMS. From 2004 to 2009 he was Associate Professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, teaching 2nd year MBA courses in marketing strategy, consumer behavior, and advertising. During that time developed executive programs for multinational corporations, new entrepreneurship programs, and as faculty advisor and Executive-in-Residence at the incubator. He is active in the angel investor community, focused on energy efficiency, smart grid, electronics thermal management, and medical diagnostics. He serves on the Executive Committee of Silicon Valley IEEE society chapter, and is President of the Engineering Alumni Society of the University of California, Berkeley. At the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative [iNEMI] he is engaged in Solid State Illumination, Energy Storage, and Thermal Management groups. Mr. Malik was active in the Cleantech Open Accelerator, and has mentored startups which have become commercially successful. He has MSEE and MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Deap Ubhi

Deap is an entrepreneur and angel investor, and currently works with Amazon's Startup team in the Bay Area. Deap is the co-founder of India's largest reviews and recommendations engine (burrp! acquired by Network 18); Jaypore.com (India's most beautiful products); and worked with Sequoia Capital India on their portfolio company FreeCharge as their interim-COO (couponing meets mobile minute top-ups). Deap has invested in Jaypore.com, Housing.com (India's Zillow), Juspay.in (India's Stripe), WizRocket (Mixpanel killer) and TinyOwl (Yelp meets GrubHub for India). 

Idris Kothari

Idris Kothari is a serial entrepreneur and has co-founded four successful companies: Vertical Systems, Inc, PC Chip-sets, ASICs and Network security. He is currently president of Vertical Systems, Inc. He has extensive experience spanning 25 years in emerging technologies and management, including 15 years in high tech start-ups in the Silicon Valley. He is a charter member of the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs.

Dr. Janmeja Singh

Dr. Janmeja Singh is a clinical psychologist and organizational consultant. He was a Visiting Professor/Lecturer in Psychology at the University of California in Berkeley from 1991 through 2009. He is the President Emeritus and Chief Psychologist at the Portia Bell Hume Behavioral Health and Training Center, Concord, CA. He also served as the Dean of the Rosebridge Graduate School of Integrative Psychology for ten years and as the Assistant Director of The Center For Training In Community Psychiatry and Mental Health Administration at Berkeley for fourteen years. For two years he worked in a State Hospital and for 16 years in the Community Mental Health Programs.

Kiran Jain

Kiran Jain is the Senior Deputy Attorney for real estate, land use and urban development in the City of Oakland. Since 2005, Kiran has been an advisor to Kiva.org, serving as the crowdlending platform’s first attorney. In 2010, she helped launch LawPivot, a crowdsourced platform for those seeking legal advice, which was recently acquired by RocketLawyer. She has served on several non-profit boards including the Asian Law Caucus, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California and the Bar Association of San Francisco. Kiran received her A.B. in Economics from Barnard College, Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and J.D. from Georgetown University. Kiran's family originally is from Sialkot, Pakistan and migrated throughout Northern India after Partition before settling in Ludhiana, India. She grew up listening to stories of Partition and the deep impact it had on the arc of her family history and final migration to the United States.

Dr. Lisa Rubens

Dr. Lisa Rubens is an historian with the Regional Oral History Office who directs projects on university history and the history of social movements. She has a Masters in City Planning and a Ph.D. in History, both from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Lisa Ruben has provided assistance in developing our oral history collection protocol.

Dr. Priya Satia

Dr. Priya Satia is Professor of History at Stanford University where she teaches courses on modern Britain and the British Empire. Her research interests span modern British cultural and political history, colonialism and imperialism, the experience and practice of war, technology and culture, human rights and humanitarianism, the state and institutions of government, arms trade, political economy of empire, and environmental history. Satia's latest book Spies in Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain's Covert Empire in the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2008) has been the recipient of several book prizes including the 2009 AHA-Pacific Coast Branch Book Award, the AHA Herbert Baxter Adams Book Prize in 2009, and the 2010 Pacific Coast Conference of British Studies Book Prize. She has also authored a number of award winning articles in academic journals.

Dr. Roshni Rustomji

Roshni Rustomji has lived, studied and worked in India, Pakistan, Lebanon, the United States of America and Mexico. She is the coeditor of BLOOD INTO INK: SOUTH ASIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN WRITE WAR and the editor of LIVING IN AMERICA: POETRY AND FICTION BY SOUTH ASIAN AMERICAN WRITERS and ENCOUNTERS: PEOPLE OF ASIAN DESCENT IN THE AMERICAS. Her short stories have appeared in journals and anthologies in the United States of America, Canada and Pakistan. Her novel THE BRAIDED TONGUE was published in 2003.

Sumer Johal

Bio coming soon.

Story Scholar Program Advisers

Story Scholar program advisors are key to the success of our Story Scholar Program in South Asia.  Advisors are academics affiliated with an accredited institution and provide important guidance to Story Scholars in their region.


Dr. Balwant Dhillon - Story Scholars Program Adviser, Amritsar and Gurdaspur

Dr. Balwant Singh Dhillon is Director, Centre for Studies on Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He has been Professor and Head, Department of Guru Nanak Studies, Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Religious Studies and has also served on the Senate and Syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He received his Bachelors degree in History from Rajasthan University, Jaipur, and in Religious Studies from Panjabi University, Patiala and was awarded Doctroral Degree by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar for his thesis on The Sikh Gurus and the Mughal State. He has got about 34 years teaching and research experience. He specializes in the study and analysis of documents/manuscripts in Rajasthani, Hindi, Gurmukhi and Persian.

Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed - Story Scholars Program Adviser, Lahore

Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed was born in Lahore, Pakistan, on 24 February 1947. He received PhD in political science from Stockholm University in 1986. He taught in the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University during 1987-2007. He then joined the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore (NUS). He is currently Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Stockholm University, Honorary Senior Fellow at ISAS and Visiting Professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore. His has published extensively on South Asian politics, especially Pakistan’s. His recent publications include published research includes the following books, Pakistan: The Garrison State, Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947-2011), Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2013; and the Best Non-Fiction Award Winner at the Karachi Literature Festival, 2013, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Account, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Dr. Muhammad Shehryar - Story Scholars Program Adviser, Lahore

Dr. Muhammad Shehryar Shahid is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Suleman Dawood School of Business at LUMS, the leading business studies university in Pakistan. He has a doctorate degree from the University of Sheffield, UK in the area of Entrepreneurship. He is is a leading member of the Entrepreneurship Working Group at the university, which is responsible to govern all entrepreneurship related activities for the university both within and outside the campus. Previously, he has served as the Head of Management and Organisation Division and the Director of Centre for Entrepreneurship and SMEs (CESME) at the University of Central Punjab, which is also amongst one of the largest private sector universities in the country. He has taught courses, like Entrepreneurship, Business Model Development, Lean Launchpad and SME Management at both undergrad and postgrad level. His research interests are in the areas of informal economy and entrepreneurship. Apart from his academic commitments, he is also a practicing entrepreneur and runs a medium-sized manufacturing business in Lahore, Pakistan.

Dr. Om Juneja - Story Scholars Program Adviser, Baroda and Ahmadabad

Dr. Om Juneja is currently President, International Council for Canadian Studies and Emeritus Professor H M Patel Institute of English, Vallabh Vidyanagar and was Professor and Head, Department of English and Founding Director, Center for Canadian Studies at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. Himself a “witness of Partition” imbibing the spirit of his generation: hard work, patriotism, adventure, idealism and dedication to a cause, he is actively involved in studying Partition as depicted in literature, media and films. An eminent scholar in the field of post colonial studies, and south Asian Diaspora in North America, Dr. Juneja practices, teaches and writes a blog on yoga.  In 1947 Dr. Juneja migrated from Midh Ranjha in East Punjab to Agra in India.

Dr. Saleem Kidwai - Story Scholars Program Adviser, Lucknow

Prof. Saleem Kidwai, historian, translator and author was born in 1951 in a family of eminent educationists, academicians, activists and political leaders. He was educated at Universities of Delhi and McGill. Prof. Kidwai taught at University of Delhi from 1973 to 93. He is now an independent researcher and writer. Cultural conservation and popular history are now his main concern. Prof. is active in the archiving of memories of the city of Lucknow as well as both Queer history. He is also a translator and an author.


Dr. Sucheta Mahajan - Story Scholars Program Adviser, Delhi

Prof. Sucheta Mahajan is Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has been Gillespie Visiting Professor at the College of Wooster, Ohio, US, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center and a Visiting Professor at the Maison des Sciences de l' homme, Paris. Her significant books include Independence and Partition: The Erosion of Colonial Power in India (2000); India's Struggle for Independence (1988; with Bipan Chandra et al); RSS, School Texts and the Murder of Mahatma Gandhi- The Hindu Communal Project (2008; with Aditya and Mridula Mukherjee) and Education and Social Change: MVF and Child Labour (2008). She has also edited many books such as Rites of Passage, A Civil Servant Remembers: H.M. Patel ( 2005); Composite Culture in a Multi-Cultural Society (co-edited with Bipan Chandra), and most recently, Towards Freedom 1947: Documents on India's Freedom Struggle (2013). Her fields of interest span the short and long history of the twentieth century, its politics, political economy and social change, and the oral history of independence and partition.


Dr. Trishanjit Kaur - Story Scholars Program Adviser, Patiala

Dr. Trishanjit Kaur is serving as Professor & Dean of the Faculty of Education and Information Science at Punjabi University in Patiala. She has contributed nearly 100 papers including research articles in peer reviewed journals, conference papers, book chapters, book reviews, and more. She also serves on the editorial boards of numerous prestigious international peer reviewed LIS journals. Dr. Kaur is a life member of several national level associations of Library and Information Science. She has served as General Secretary of the Indian Association of Teachers of Library and Information Science (IATLIS). She has been a member of the Canadian Library Association and the American Library Association (ALA). She has also served for two terms (2007-09) on the International Relations Committee (IRC) Sub-committee Near East and South Asia of American Library Association. She has participated and presented papers at various conferences held in India, USA, Canada, Thailand, and Finland. Her paper “Strategies of Preserving Memories of Refugee Women in India: A Case Study of Punjab” for the 78 IFLA Satellite Meeting, Tampere (Finland) from 8-10 August 2012 was highly appreciated and ignited her interest in The 1947 Partition Archive. She is a Punjab based adviser to the Story Scholars Program.

Previous Advisers

We are immensely grateful to those who have taken the time to advise us throughout our inception.  The following advisers have completed their Board of Advisers terms:

Michael Singh

Michael Singh is an independent film maker based out of Hollywood, CA. He wrote and associate-produced the definitive biographic documentary Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory (1995) about the famed Gospel singer. In 1999-2000 he was writer and senior producer of Chicago’s Lifeline, the TV series that launched Discovery’s Health Channel. In 2009 he wrote/produced Valentino’s Ghost for national broadcast on PBS. Michael’s work has ranged from field-producing for The Sally Jesse Raphael Show to co-writing—with the late counterculture guru Timothy Leary—the interactive version of William Gibson’s science-fiction classic Neuromancer distributed by San Francisco’s Activision. 

Omair M. Farooqui

Mr. Omair Farooqui is a business attorney specializing in Intellectual Property, corporate law, and civil litigation. Mr. Farooqui's Intellectual Property experience includes patent litigation and patent prosecution involving mechanical, biomechanical, chemical, electrical and software technologies. He has extensive experience in trademark prosecution, counseling and litigation, as well as copyright and trade secret counseling and litigation. Mr. Farooqui also has significant experience working with nonprofit organizations with regards to inception, governance, and finance. He is co-founder of the lawfirm, Ellahie and Farooqui, LLP.