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Borders without barriers: Museum of Peace at Attari dedicated to Atal Bihari Vajpayee

The country’s first open-air, story-telling museum has 48 panels depicting pre-partition Punjab in three sections, beginning with the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

punjab Updated: Aug 21, 2018 22:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Attari
Museum of Peace,Attari,Atal Bihari Vajpayee
The Museum of Peace was opened at the Sarhad restaurant complex, 2 km from the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar, on Sunday.(HT Photo)

India’s first Museum of Peace at Sarhad near the Attari-Wagah border is open to the public and dedicated to late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on August 16.

In his quest for lasting peace in the subcontinent, Vajpayee had crossed the Attari-Wagah border in a bus to Lahore in February 1999.

The Museum of Peace that was opened at the Sarhad restaurant complex, 2 km from the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar, on Sunday is India’s first open-air, story-telling museum, a release said. It has 48 panels mounted on pedestals that depict pre-partition Punjab in three sections, beginning with the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The panels display Ranjit Singh’s military conquests such as the capture of Peshawar Fort, Jamrud Fort and Zamama Gun. The panel showing the map of Ranjit Singh’s empire ends with: “Ranjit Singh’s greatest achievement was not military conquest but political. He was able to unite Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs under a banner and deliver peace and prosperity to Punjab.”

Sarhad owner Aman Jaspal says the best tribute to Vajpayee would be to throw open the barriers at the border so that people, the real stakeholders in the peace process, can meet freely.

Aman says both governments should announce a Vajpayee Day Visa, at least once a month, for students and senior citizens, to cross the Attari-Wagah border to meet people and visit places on the other side. “This will help remove misconceptions and misgivings, if any, on either side,” says Aman.

The Museum of Peace was conceived, designed and curated by retired Punjab civil servant DS Jaspal. “The museum is a celebration of the composite culture of pre-partition Punjab in general and Amritsar-Lahore in particular,” says Jaspal.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 10:16 IST