London: A new 1 million pound project to set up a museum in Amritsar dedicated to the history of India’s Partition has been kick-started with a series of brainstorming sessions in the UK. A meeting in a room in the House of Lords complex brought together a group of historians, authors and academics this week to explore the span and scope of the Partition Museum Project, which was launched in India in August.
“We are creating a people’s museum, in which we will focus greatly on oral histories, apart from public and private documents. We therefore require information on Partition survivors as well as documentation.
“We are working with institutions both in India and the UK,” said Kishwar Desai, chair and trustee of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which initiated the project. “We recognise that creating a museum to an event like the Partition is not an easy task. The Partition was an event that ripped through the fabric of a nation and, as such, has a strong emotional resonance for many.
“Through this project, we hope to eventually create a physical space that will be a memorial to the personal and human tragedies of this event, a commemoration of the resilience of people that migrated, a reminder of the need for continuous dialogue,” she said.
The trust is in the midst of negotiations with the Punjab government over an old colonial building near Golden Temple in Amritsar, where the museum is expected to be located. It requires an estimated 1 million pounds of funds, to be raised through donations, for the creation and running of the museum for a year.
The trust plans to seek collaborations from all the countries involved in this part of the Indian sub-continent’s history – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Britain. A series of travelling exhibitions will be hosted throughout 2016 with the launch of the new museum planned for the early half of 2017.