The replica of a well, reminiscent of the killings committed to protect honour, a lock used to keep values safe during journey, a wedding saree – are among exhibits that will narrate the story of the largest human migration ever, at the ‘Partition Museum’ in Amritsar. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will inaugurate the ‘Partition Museum’ on August 17, two days after the country would have celebrated its 71st Independence Day. Soon after the country attained Independence on August 15, the migration of the lakhs, who found themselves caught on the wrong side of the border in Punjab and Bengal, had begun; and the museum would present and record their stories.
“It is the world’s first museum on partition. There is no such museum anywhere. The partition did not see not just the division of Punjab and Bengal, but also a colossal loss of homes and lives during the largest mass migration in history,” said Mallika Ahluwalia, CEO, Partition Museum. The museum would display over 5,000 items including oral histories, documents, artifacts. A well has also been created to resemble a typical well that one would find in a village in Punjab.
“It has been constructed in the memory of all the women who lost lives either in violence or due to honour killing, which was rampant at that time. People will find it very touching. There is a Phulkari coat and a brief case brought by a couple who were engaged before partition but got separated in the chaos. And then they found each other at a refugee camp in Amritsar and got married in 1948. Another item on display would be a lock, used by a refugee family, on a trunk containing valuables. Someone has given us a wedding saree of her mother, the marriage took place before the partition, and a briefcase having property papers of that time which will be displayed,” she said.
Punjab tourism and culture minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said the state government will extend all support to the Arts And Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the museum. The inauguration of the Partition Museum will be preceded by an online campaign ‘Chalo Amritsar’ to observe ‘Partition Remembrance Day.’
Several high level dignitaries, with a large number of NRIs from partition-affected families, are expected to be present at the inauguration of the museum that will narrate the story of the triumph of the hope of the partition survivors over despair, informed author, columnist and the chairman of the trust, Kishwar Desai.