This one-day conference held at the Harvard Business School India Research Center in Mumbai  brought together business historians, business archivists, and business practitioners to discuss the role of oral history in the growth of business history in India. Geoffrey Jones (Business History Initiative) discussed the Creating Emerging Markets project and how the oral histories being generated were being used in  both teaching and research. 

Chinmay Tumbe (IIM-Ahmedabad) reviewed how oral history had developed in India and its role in business history. Among other recent initiatives he discussed Itihaasa, a project to document the growth of the Indian IT industry through oral history ( 

During the afternoon the conference heard presentations from the Chief Archivists of two of the most important corporate archives in India. Vrunda Pathare (Godrej Group) discussed her group’s remarkable oral history program, which has undertaken audio interviews with dozens of present and former staff. These interviews, which can be consulted at the Archives, are noteworthy for capturing the memories of present and former staff at all levels of the organization. Finally, Usha Iyer (Cipla Ltd) explored the challenges of making business archives relevant within her own company, noting how she employed innovative and proactive social networking strategies to build a strategic presence. 

Throughout the day participants explored the continuing methodological challenges in conducting oral history, including the choice between audio and video recordings, and the language in which such interviews should be conducted. The urgent need to develop agreed standards was stressed by many participants, and an increasing number of Indian companies sought to create corporate archives, including oral history collections. There was also considerable discussion of the ongoing challenges faced by researchers who sought to use oral history material in academic journals. 

The proceedings were summarized and contextualized in a brief paper by the IRC team.