Museum of Memories - Untold Stories of Partition

The partition of India was one the most defining events in our nation's history. It was also perhaps the largest migration of history with some 18 million affected. The worst affected from partition was Punjab. When I was exploring Amritsar, I stumbled upon very unique and one of its kind museum, to remember and commemorate all those who lost their lives or had to leave their home behind.

The Partition Museum

Museum is housed in a heritage building in the town hall, walk able distance from Golden temple. The historic decision to create the partition museum at town hall was taken by the Punjab govt in May 2016. Town hall is 100 years old building and has many doors with Venetian glass, beautifully arched verandahs.
Lets peep in to history
On June 3 1947, Mountbatten proposed a plan known as Mountbatten plan which accepted the division of India.Partition was based on the principle of Muslim majority provinces going to Pakistan and the rest to India. But Bengal & Punjab had a narrow majority of Muslims over the rest. These two Provinces had to be divided along religious lines. In order the determined exactly which territories to assign to each country, in June 1947, Mountbatten asked Sir Cyril Radcliffe to chair two Boundary commission one for Bengal, one for Punjab. Each commission was to have two members nominated by India national congress and two by Muslim League. 
Radcliffe arrived on July 8 and he was given just 5 weeks to mark a border line, a line that would split one nation to two independent nations. 
Radcliffe was talented but had no knowledge of India and had never been to India before. Mountbatten chose him precisely for that reason so no one would accuse him of a bias one way or another. The members of Boundary commission were eventually divided and could not agree on the division. The decision was this left to Radcliffe. He had to act fast in a very hot summer. He needed more time but it was not available. He completed his report on 12 August 1947.
India and Pakistan attained independence at the midnight of 14-15 Aug 1947. Mountbatten didn't want the boundary decision to be announced before 14/15 August.

 Source - Google/TOI

Even with the uncertainty of the border announcement, people had begun to move already before August. There were were even more massive movements of people between mid-Aug and November 1947, the largest migration perhaps the all time. Estimates suggest as many as eighteen millions people might have moved eastwards or westwards.
Violence escalated, Women suffered more as they were victims of rape by the other community or killed by their own to save family honor. Many families walked across while rains obstructed them, Trains crowded with anxious passengers and plying the very short distance between Lahore and Amritsar arrived packed with no one alive. There is no accurate count of how many died, perhaps half a million on the Punjab border a lone.
The most tragic aspect of the mass displacement was that those who left their homes and had to make news ones went on thinking of themselves as displaced or as as refugees. 

The Partition Museum has comprehensive archive for official documents and photos, aim primarily to be a people's Museum gathering the stories, photographs, letters and other personal artifacts of those millions who experienced partition.


Its very difficult for us to understand the pain and how much people suffered from partition but we can certainly be sensitive. While exploring the museum and reading through various newspaper articles, personal letter I could imagine the horror of Partition. Painful memories, yes but I think its good idea to preserve these memories and pass it to generation next.

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