This picture is of the world’s first Partition Museum (www.partitionmuseum.org). Opened in October 2016 in the Amritsar Town Hall, the capital city of Punjab. Punjab itself was the divided province that saw most of the migration as well as the violence occurring in 1947.
The Town Hall is a historic building, located only a 5-minute walk from Jallianwala Bagh, where more than a thousand people, including women and children as well as peaceful protesters were killed in 1919 by the squadron of General Reginald Dyer.
The Museum is located in the newly inaugurated Heritage Street, which starts at the famous Golden Temple and ends at the Town Hall. The driving force behind this project is TAACHT (The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust), a not-for-profit that has been able to deliver this project purely on donations, support of volunteers, well-wishers, and those who donated objects and documents to be displayed.
London School of Economics’ South Asia Centre became an academic advisor to the project, advising TAACHT on organising academic seminars, conferences, curating exhibitions and producing academic publications and help promote the story of the partition.
The exhibition is filled with objects, from documents to photographs and other memorabilia, telling stories of the people who have experienced the tumultuous birth of two countries, India and Pakistan. It examines the era before and after Partition through oral histories – the memories of the people, and narratives from their experiences of migration. The Museum is dedicated to the victims as well as survivors and the ‘lasting legacy’ of 1947.
This is exemplified through an incredible love story with the display of a jacket and a briefcase, precious possessions of two refugees amongst 14 million, Bhagawan Singh Maini and Pritam Kaur, who found each other again in a food line. The Museum is home to the many more stories and histories.