34 Mellen Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Art, Innovation, Social Good, University
How can personal narratives help most accurately contextualize the complex cultural histories, identity, and collective memory of the brutality of the British India Partition?
It has been 70 years since the British India Partition, an event that marked the end of the colonial rule of British India and the creation of India and Pakistan. The event was marked by brutal violence between Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other. It is estimated that over 12 million people were displaced and over 1 million people lost their lives in what has been identified by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) as one of the worst forced migrations in history. It was reported that thousands of women were abducted or raped, and many were never accounted for. Perpetrators, victims, bystanders, and saviors were on both sides of the conflict lines. Those who survived the event were brutalized, traumatized, and carried the scars of their suffering which, in so many ways, have continued to dictate the relations between the two countries today. Unlike other horrific events, such as the Holocaust, there is no memorial on either side of the border to remember the people affected by the Partition.
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s photo-animation exhibit, “Open Wound: Stories of Partition”, and the work of The 1947 Partition Archive seek to address that gap by giving voice to the turmoil experienced by those who were displaced by the Partition.