The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT) has recently, in October 2016, set up the world’s first Partition Museum, at Town Hall, Amritsar. The Museum, open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., receives large numbers of visitors daily—from schoolchildren to Partition Survivors, from international tourists to village dwellers, from politicians to scholars. On some days, more than 1000 visitors have come to see the curtain raiser exhibition, which represents some of the highlights of the final Museum.
The present Museum exhibition has been set up in the restored portion of Town Hall. The Town Hall is currently under restoration, and we are working towards inaugurating the second and last phase of the Museum by early 2017, in time for the 70th year of the Partition of India, and as soon as the rest of the wing of the historic Town Hall allotted to TAACHT to set up the Museum is handed over to us.
The Museum is part of the newly inaugurated Heritage Street at Amritsar, which starts at the Golden Temple and ends at the Town Hall. The Partition Museum was inaugurated (with the curtain raiser exhibition) on October 24, 2016, by the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Badal. It was then visited by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley, along with the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, and Hon’ble Union Ministers, including Ms. Harsimrat Kaur Badal on November 1, 2016, which is also Punjab Day.
Setting up the Partition Museum was the main goal of TAACHT, a not-for -profit NGO, that is working purely through donations and through the support of volunteers and well-wishers. It is now partnered by Hindustan Times, The Tuli Family, and Teamworks Fine Arts Society. Other donors are also helping, including many individuals, who have given large and small donations. People have also contributed objects and documents to the Museum dating back to 1947, for which we are extremely grateful. This is completely a People’s Museum, and examines the pre- and post- Partition era through the memories of the people.
The Partition Museum Project (TPMP) was initiated by The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT) to work towards the establishment of a world class, physical museum, dedicated to the memory of the Partition of the sub-continent in 1947 — its victims, its survivors and its lasting legacy. In one of the greatest and most painful upheavals of contemporary history, over twenty million people migrated to a new homeland on the other side of a quickly demarcated border, leaving behind precious memories. Often, the journey and relocation was accompanied by traumatic events, and millions of men, women and children lost not just homes, but lives in the attempt to cross over. Perhaps the sacrifice of those millions was seen as a necessity for acquiring Independence, and so there has been, largely, a silence around the Partition.
Soon it will be seventy years since the Partition, but until TAACHT set up the Museum, no memorial, no designated space, no commemoration of any kind to document the migration that led to the birth of the two nations. The Partition Museum Project initiated by The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust has created that space. Since the project was launched last year, it has received the support nationally and internationally of many well-known personalities, some of whom are listed below.
The LSE South Asia Centre is delighted to be an academic advisor in the Partition Museum project. The Centre will draw upon its cutting-edge interdisciplinary resource base, and will advise The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust in organising academic seminars & conferences, in curating exhibitions, and producing academic publications.
The LSE South Asia Centre was established in 2015, and marks a step-change in LSE’s engagement with the region. LSE has more than 70 subject-experts whose teaching and research interests concern South Asia. The Centre harnesses this world-class inter- and multi-disciplinary expertise to underwrite the School’s fundamental mission of impacting public awareness through informed knowledge.
In its 120-year-old history, LSE’s relationship with the Indian subcontinent goes back to its beginnings. Sidney & Beatrice Webb, founders of LSE, visited India in 1911-12. Mr. Nandlal Maneklal Muzumdar was the first non-European President of the LSE Student’s Union as early as 1912-13; Sir Ratan Tata made an endowment for a Professorial Chair to encourage research on India’s social policy, economy & labour in 1913 – the first Chair was held by Major The Rt. Hon. The 1st Earl of Attlee, Clement Richard Attlee (later Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1945-51); Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, architect of the Indian constitution completed a Masters and PhD at LSE (1916-23); Mr. K. R. Narayanan, Hon’ble ex-President of India, studied with the renowned political scientist Sir Harold Laski before returning to India in 1948; and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is an ex-faculty member and current Fellow of LSE.
In 2014-15, LSE was ranked 2nd in the world (ahead of Oxford and Cambridge) in the social sciences, making it the best higher education institution in the UK in its field; the UK-wide Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 assessment has confirmed this position for LSE as the top university in the UK based on the proportion of world-leading research, a comment on the outstanding scholarship produced across its 24 departments and several interdisciplinary institutes and centres.
The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust
Anjolie Ela Menon
Oral Histories and Media
Ganeev Kaur Dhillon
Board of Patrons
Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed
Ratnesh and Sangeeta Mathur
Gurpreet Kaur Maini
Sukrita Paul Kumar
(Design/ Curation/ Collaborations)
(All members whenever requested, have been working on the Project on a voluntary basis.)
Support for recording oral history
Grateful Acknowledgement: Barkha Dutt, Megha Balooni, Aanchal Malhotra, Suvani Suri, Aditya Arya, Design Habit, Namrata Sarmah, Sonal Narain, Swati Mishra, Diksha Sharma.