Perhaps, no other event affected the country as deeply as partition. Now, Punjab is all set to witness the inauguration of “Partition Museum” in Amritsar on August 17. Narrating the story of indisputably history’s largest migration ever, the museum will display a well – reminiscent of the killings to protect honor, a lock – used to guard valuables throughout the journey and a wedding saree, among other exhibits.
The inauguration of the museum will take place at the hands of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on August 17, two days after India celebrates its 71st Independence Day. The museum will narrate the stories of lakhs of people, mostly hailing from Punjab and Bengal, who were forced to migrate because they had suddenly become aliens in their own land.
“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,” stated Mallika Ahluwalia, CEO, of Partition Museum. Over 5,000 items ranging from documents, oral histories, and artifacts, would be displayed at the museum. A well, typical of the one used in a village of Punjab, has also been created.
“It has been constructed in the memory of all the women who lost lives either in violence or due to honor killing, which was rampant at that time. People will find it very touching. There is a Phulkari coat and a briefcase 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 went on to say.
The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the museum, would receive every kind of support from the state government, said Punjab Tourism and culture minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Several high-ranking dignitaries, along with a large number of NRIs, will be present to mark the occasion. The inauguration of the museum will witness the narration of events which will emphasize triumph and hope over despair, stated author, columnist, and chairman of the trust, Kishwar Desai.