Work delayed due to Covid, Partition museum opening pushed to Republic Day next year
New Delhi: The opening of the first Partition museum in Delhi, which was slated for Independence Day this year, has been pushed to Republic Day next year as the Covid-19 crisis halted on-site work between April and July, officials told HT
New Delhi: The opening of the first Partition museum in Delhi, which was slated for Independence Day this year, has been pushed to Republic Day next year as the Covid-19 crisis halted on-site work between April and July, officials told HT.
The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TACHT), which has the experience of having set up a similar museum in Amritsar and is managing the Delhi project, resumed work on setting up the museum, at the Dara Shikoh Library Building in Kashmere Gate inside the Ambedkar University campus, earlier this month.
“We started on-site work around two weeks ago. At present we have started the carpentry work to get the rooms ready for the museum installation along with working on curation and other areas. Due to Covid-19 crisis, even the restoration work in the building allotted for the museum had come to a halt due to lack of labourers and other factors and we were only handed the museum in the second week of July,” said Kishwar Desai, chair at TACHT.
“If there is no third wave, we should have the Partition museum ready by early January, in time for Republic Day. It is challenging as we have to maintain all Covid protocols, including wearing masks and ensuring physical distancing. We are also trying to ensure that our workers are vaccinated on time,” she said.
The museum is likely to have 10 galleries housing around 200 artifacts, including letters, certificates, clothes, utensils and photographs belonging to those who migrated to Delhi from across the border during the 1947 India-Pakistan partition.
The site, which will also be developed as a cultural hub, will contain three museums related to the history of Delhi and the changes brought about by events and individuals. While the first one – Partition museum – is expected to be ready in January next year, a second museum on Mughal prince Dara Shikoh and a third on medieval and ancient antiquities from the Delhi state archaeology department will come up later.
“Our curation is almost done. Acquiring a few artifacts got held up because people had to send it from different cities and the lockdown made it difficult. But we are now in the process of getting them as the Covid-19 situation looks better,” Desai said.
The trust is also collaborating with Ambedkar University’s Centre for Community Knowledge which will provide some of the narratives and oral histories for the museum.
From a century-old land deed scripted in Urdu, including information on a piece of land in Jhang, Pakistan, to a wedding card from 1947, TACHT has also collected various bare basics that people managed to bring with them, such as clothes, utensils, letters, documents, photographs and certificates, while hurriedly trying to cross the border during the Partition, which left two million people dead and displaced 10 to 20 million people.