India Opens Its First Partition Museum In Amritsar

A new museum on the Partition of India opened yesterday, as India and Pakistan complete 70 years of independence.

Partition Museum, Partition, Amritsar, India at 70

In the 70 years of our independence and the partition of India and Pakistan, there has never been a venue dedicated solely to the terror or the survival stories of this defining moment, until now.

A new museum dedicated to the Partition was inaugurated yesterday in the city of Amritsar.

Source : hinduthan times

Amritsar was chosen as the location for the museum as the Punjabi city was one of the first cities that welcomed the refugees with open arms. 81-year-old Sohinder Nath Chopra recounts his experience as a 12-year-old fleeing the newly formed Islamic state saying, “Hindi film songs were being played loudly,” Chopra told the Associated Press. “There were people standing on both sides, holding bread, vegetables, water. And everybody started crying.”

Expressing the need to document this historic event, Mallika Ahluwalia, the CEO of the Partition Museum said, “If you look at any other country in the world, they’ve all memorialized the experiences that have defined and shaped them. Yet this event that has so deeply shaped not only our subcontinent but millions of individuals who were impacted has had no museum or memorial 70 years later,”

Source : hindusthan times

She also says that her grandmother’s tales of an undivided India and her experience of fleeing from her ancestral home in Pakistan inspired her to create this museum. “What must it have felt like for her, to one day come from, you know, a relatively affluent family, have a normal background, and the next day all you have left of your things is a small suitcase,” Ahluwalia said.

The inspiration of the museum also came from the stories of the Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto, who has written extensively on this topic. His brutally honest accounts of the Partition and what followed are heart-wrenching.

Housed in the Town Hall building of Amritsar, the 14 galleries of the museum include photographs, newspaper clippings and donated personal items that tell countless stories associated with the violent episode and the communal clashes that followed.

Source: hindusthan times

The museum has screens that show video interviews with the now-elderly survivors. The last gallery, called the Gallery of Hope, invites the visitors to scribble messages of love and peace on leaf-shaped papers before hanging them on a barbed-wire tree. The idea, Ahluwalia says, is to have visitors participate in the “greening” of the tree and to think of peace and reconciliation between the torn nations.

The museum is a nonprofit trust that has raised money from individuals such as Indian ad guru Suhel Seth and companies including Airtel and the Hindustan Times. The Punjab government donated the space. The museum was inaugurated on August 17 at the hands of the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh.

Information Source : hindusthan times

Title image: quint

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Manali Kulkarni (WRITER)

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