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Amritsar’s Town Hall is site of new Partition Museum

The historic Town Hall in Amritsar, a gracious late-19 century building that stood witness to the unrest in the Punjab after the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre and the Partition, will be the site of the new Partition Museum.

This was announced in London today by Kishwar Desai, Chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which has initiated the project and will manage the museum.

The museum, Ms Kishwar said, will “raise the veil of silence” that surrounds Partition, an event that saw the displacement of 14 million people, the largest in recorded history. The Museum will be a “space of commemoration and documentation” of the sacrifices made during this mass migration, where “people lost their loved ones and their homes, and were forced to rebuild their lives upon arrival,” she said.

Fleeing the mayhem and violence in both countries at the time, the migrants lived in camps and rudimentary shelters till they found alternate accommodation.

“The Museum will be a space of memory, healing and reconciliation. It will also memorialise the grit, courage and spirit of that generation,” Ms Kishwar said.

The Punjab government has donated one wing of the Town Hall for the project. The museum’s collection of artefacts, art, documents and oral histories will be built through contributions and donations from private and public sources.

The British Library, the UK Parliamentary Library, the National Archives, Punjab Archives, Panjab Digital Library, Cambridge University, London School of Economics, Southampton University and Amity University are formally associated with the Partition Museum project.

An ongoing exhibition and curtain raiser to the larger project titled Rising From The Dust: Hidden Tales From India's 1947 Refugee Camps is on view at the Visual Arts Gallery in Delhi. It displays some of the art, photographs, artefacts and documents relating to the period.

Ms. Kishwar says that hundred of visitors have been to the Gallery to see the exhibition, leaving behind oral histories and memorabilia. A series of lectures on curating the Partition Museum attended by international experts has just concluded in Delhi.

The Trustees of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust include Ritu Kumar, Anjolie Ela Menon, Barkha Dutt, Kishwar Desai, Bindu Manchanda,Vikramjit Sahney, Dipali Khanna, Bela Sethi, Mallika Ahluwalia and Sunaina Anand.

Its board of advisors and patrons is headed by Kuldip Nayar, and includes Shyam Benegal, Lord Meghnad Desai, Abha Bunty Sawhney.

Anyone who wishes to contact Ms. Desai for more information, or wishes to contribute material or oral memorabilia to the Museum can emailladykishwardesai@gmail.com, or phone in to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust at 9810406230.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 11:45:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Amritsar%E2%80%99s-Town-Hall-is-site-of-new-Partition-Museum/article14382597.ece

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