A SPACE FOR HEAL­ING

Mu­seum of Par­ti­tion

India Today - - THE ARTS -

WHEN SHE BE­GAN ASK­ING peo­ple to share their sto­ries of Par­ti­tion and give her one ob­ject that they had brought with them, Kish­war De­sai, a writer and an artist, was try­ing to archive the big­gest mi­gra­tion in his­tory for which there are writ­ten records and pho­to­graphs but no arte­fact. Com­ing from one such fam­ily, she re­mem­bers how her grand­fa­ther never spoke of things left be­hind. Or even the pain. There had to be a space for cathar­sis where peo­ple could share their own ex­pe­ri­ence of Par­ti­tion and help per­son­alise its his­tory.

Like the phulkari coat Pri­tam Kaur Mian­wali, then 22, brought with her when she fled from Gu­jran­wala. “When Pri­tam Kaur crossed the bor­der with a bag slung across her shoul­der she had just this phulkari coat among her few pre­cious pos­ses­sions—a small com­fort in her trau­matic so­journ, and a re­minder of hap­pier days.” Like­wise, Bhag­wan Singh Maini, then 30, car­ried with him a leather brief­case that held his de­grees as well as his prop­erty doc­u­ments. They got mar­ried in the refugee camp in 1948. “These (the coat and the leather brief­case) are a tes­ti­mony to the life they lost, and found, to­gether,” says De­sai.

The Arts and Cul­tural Her­itage Trust (TAACHT), which is housed in the 150-year-old Town Hall in Am­rit­sar, is a repos­i­tory of art, arte­fact, doc­u­ments and oral his­to­ries. Opened in Oc­to­ber 2016, it is spread across three rooms and will even­tu­ally have seven gal­leries across 16,000 square feet. There will also be a gallery of hope. “That’s why this mu­seum is there. To heal,” says De­sai.

“THE MU­SEUM WILL BE A SPACE OF MEM­ORY, REC­ON­CIL­I­A­TION AND HEAL­ING. IT WILL ALSO MEMORIALISE THE GRIT, COURAGE AND SPIRIT OF THAT GEN­ER­A­TION,” SAYS DE­SAI

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.