Prime News, National, Partition, Constitution, Democracy, Freedom, New Delhi, August 27:- An exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here based on Partition recalls the events of one of history’s worst tragedies and its aftermath and also highlights the oral histories of survivors and their families.
Entitled “Partition of India…1947”, and organized by the Partition Museum and the Ministry of Culture, it was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Culture, G Kishan Reddy, on August 14, coinciding with the “Partition Horror Remembrance Day”. It will be on view until August 31.
Traveling down memory lane of the horrors of the score, the exhibition unfolds with an art installation “River song” by artist Debasish Mukherjee. The red and beige cotton threads, in the 40-foot-tall art, represent people on both sides who lost everything in the unfortunate events of partition.
Some sections of the exhibition guide visitors through historical events that paved the way for an independent India while others show how people migrated and took refuge in parts of Delhi.
A canvas tent on display in one of the sections gives visitors a sense of how refugee families, often more than two, shared space in the camps during monsoons and winters and amid diseases like cholera.
A ‘singer’s sewing machine’ on display in this section, a prized possession of Bimla Goulati’s mother that she carried to India, tells the story of those migrants who brought the memories from their homes to the other side of the border.
The “Rebuilding Lives” section shows how Delhi and these migrants have rebuilt themselves here and reconnected with their communities and displaced people.
The Mianwali settlement, now located in Gurugram, was one of the few housing societies built by these migrants. They also launched a monthly newsletter – Mianwali Gazette – with a page printed in Urdu, as they were used to this language, and the reverse in Hindi. The gazette is still being printed.
Many people who have visited their old homes across the border after years have been welcomed with open arms. Among them was Priyanka Mehta who visited her maternal grandmother’s house in Lahore which was assigned to the Iftikhar family after partition. A photo of Mehta with the Iftikhar family during his visit can be seen in the “Gallery of Hope” section of the exhibit.
When then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf visited India in 2005, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh presented him with a painting of the old haveli of the old in Daryaganj and his deed of birth. The “Beyond Borders” section presents these historic moments in India-Pakistan relations.
A “bright red letterbox of dreams and hopes” has also been installed in the exhibition where visitors can write letters for the future generation about what they aspire to achieve for India.
In a small yellow postcard, Dr Jaseela Majeed writes: “The Score Museum left me in tears. My grandmother donated her jewelry as a little girl during Mahatma Gandhi’s independence movement in Kerala. I remember she told me this story. I am truly touched to see many other incidents described here.
According to Partition Museum officials, there has been an overwhelming response from visitors for the curation and the narrative they are presented through the exhibit.
The Delhi Partition Museum is set to open by the end of this year in the Dara Shikoh Library at Kashmir Gate. (Neelam Bagha, PTI)