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India’s First Partition Museum in Amritsar to Mark 70 Years of Independence From Colonial Rule

The museum is a nonprofit trust that has raised money from companies including the Hindustan Times and Airtel and individuals such as Suhel Seth

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Refugees en route to Pakistan during partition. Wikimedia
  • To mark seven decades of India and Pakistan as independent nations, a new museum has been inaugurated
  • The last of the 14 galleries of the museum is known as the Gallery of Hope, where visitors are invited to write down messages
  • Ahluwalia said she wanted to establish the museum after hearing her 83-year-old grandmother’s stories of the subcontinent for years

Amritsar, India, August 18, 2017: 70 years have passed since Pakistan and India were made from the former British colony. Until now, there had never been an avenue to know about the memorabilia and stories of those individuals who lived through the horror of partition. For marking seven decades of these two nations as independent countries, a new museum has been inaugurated.

“If you look at any other country in the world, they’ve all memorialized the experiences that have defined and shaped them. Yet this event that has so deeply shaped not only our sub-continent but millions of individuals who were impacted has had no museum or memorial 70 years later,” said the Partition Museum’s CEO, Mallika Ahluwalia.

The exhibitions that are held in red-brick building of Town Hall in Amritsar, the border city of north India, include proofs like newspaper clippings, personal items donated and photographs, which show how the area’s freedom fight from colonial rule developed into one of the most violent scenes witnessed by it, as communal clashes killed numerous people of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs communities and an additional 15 million dislodged from their ancestors’ homes.

ALSO READ: Top Highlights of PM Narendra Modi’s Speech on India’s 71st Independence Day

An ancient pocket watch belonging to a person killed in Pakistan during mob violence. A traditional cot of rope carried across the border by a refugee. Fabrics which were woven from craftsmen of the time. And various old family photos.

Screens are put that display video interviews of the now-elderly people who survived. The last of the 14 galleries of the museum is known as the Gallery of Hope, wherein visitors are summoned to write down messages of peace and love on papers in the shape of a leaf before putting them on a tree with barbed-wire. The idea, as said by Ahluwalia, was to invite visitors to contribute in the tree’s “greening” and to reflect and encourage peace between the nations.

“You end up feeling so grateful to that generation who, I think, helped rebuild the nation, despite having suffered such trauma,” said Ahluwalia.

She said she wished to establish the partition museum after hearing the stories of her grandmother who is 83-years-old about the subcontinent before the splitting took place and before she was forced to leave her home in Pakistani as a girl of 13 years.

“What must it have felt like for her, to one day come from, you know, a relatively affluent family, have a normal background, and the next day all you have left of your things is a small suitcase,” Ahluwalia said. Her personal experience made her think it was essential to build the museum, “especially as we saw that generation leaving us.”

This museum is more crucial as it is the first partition museum of India, she said. The tickets are rated low in order to motivate people to visit the museum. It is a nonprofit museum and companies like the Hindustan Times and Airtel and individuals like Suhel Seth have helped it raise money. The place was donated by the government of Punjab.

Shiv Visvanathan, a sociologist said that the subject has been painful for several people, and that reconciliation needs the work of both the sides. The museum too, should reveal realities of both sides, he said.

“If a nation-state becomes the repository of memory, it becomes a one-sided memory,” Visvanathan said. “We have to acknowledge the mutuality of violence. There is no one truth. No one victim.”

This museum is situated in Amritsar, well-known for the famous Golden Temple as this city of Punjab marks one of the first arrival points when refugees made their way to India.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025

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UP Madrasas Defy CM Yogi Adityanath’s Independence Day Orders to Sing National Anthem and Record Proof of Celebrations

The question is, why would BJP-led UP state government issue guidelines exclusively for madrasas to celebrate Independence Day?

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BJP government in UP released an order definiting protocol for independence day celebratin
Madrasas in UP were asked via a government order to record 'evidence' of Independence Day celebrations (representational image) VOA
  • BJP-led UP state government released celebration protocol for August 15
  • Madrasas across different cities of UP decided against singing the Indian national anthem as part of the celebrations
  • Indian Independence Day is celebrated annually on August 15

Uttar Pradesh, August 17, 2017: As India celebrated its 71st independence day, celebrations took place in all states of the country. However, some discrepancies were observed in various cities of Uttar Pradesh, where madrasas celebrated the day following ‘confusions’ created by Uttar Pradesh government’s recent orders on the celebration protocol in Islamic schools.

Madrasas are a specific type of religious school or college for the study of Islamic subjects, though it may not be the only subject studied there.

The UP government had issued a notification to all madrasas across the state ahead of the Independence Day, devising guidelines for the celebration of Independence Day. According to the government circular, flag hoisting and the recital of the national anthem must take place at 8 am on the Independence Day across all madrasas. In addition to this, they were also instructed to film the events organized to celebrate the day as proof.

Though many madrasas paid heed to the government orders, some maintained that they never received any official intimation of the celebrations.

According to Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahli, head of Darul Uloom Firangimahal, an “unnecessary hype” had been created in the context of the government order as Independence Day has always been celebrated across all madrasas with zeal and enthusiasm.

Sharing similar views, Ashraf Usmani, spokesperson of the Darul Uloom Deobandh insisted that the protocol of the celebrations had been the same in the past too. He also added that none of the madrasas in his knowledge had received any such circular.

According to Usmani, there was no need to give an “evidence” of the celebrations. “This is the function of our freedom, why will we not celebrate it” he added, mentioned PTI report.

Asserting the same opinion, Firangimahli, who is also a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, also believes that the BJP-led state government should not have issued the order specifically addressing the madrasas but instead released it for all schools, colleges, and universities.

The Yogi Adityanath-led state government’s orders had created ripples immediately following its release and there were reports of clerics divided upon it.

Following this, about 150 madrasas connected with the Barelvi sect had decided to defy the orders of the government. It was decided in a meeting held on August 14 that celebrations were to take place with gusto, and the events of the day would include unfurling the Indian tricolor and distributing sweets to pay tribute to the freedom fighters. However, according to a PTI report, Maulana Shahabuddin Rizvi, national general secretary of All India Jamat Raza Mustafa had said that “No action will be performed which goes against the Shariat like the singing of the national anthem and videography.”

According to them, the word ‘adhinayak’ in the Indian national anthem was originally written in praise of the British in 1911, which is against the shariat.

Prohibitory orders were immediately promulgated in Bareilly district on the night of August 14 after a few Muslim organizations decided to defy government orders.

ALSO READ: India Celebrates its 71st Independence Day: What People Want Freedom From?

As per reports, on August 15, in Kanpur, Meerut and Bareilly, three of the biggest madrassas of the state, a majority of the madrasas celebrated the Indian Independence Day by unfurling the national flag, however decided against signing the national anthem. The students are believed to have sung Sare Jahan Se Achha, a 20th century patriotic song and not record the proceedings of the event.

Minority Welfare Officer of Bareilly, Jagmohan Singh was later quoted by PTI reports, saying that a formal report on the recitation of the national anthem and the videography of events undertaken to mark the Independence Day was being sent to the government for scrutiny.


 

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These 10 Events after Independence changed India Forever

These ten events that happened in the past changed the country forever: 

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Independence Day
India is Celebrating its 71st Independence Day. Wikimedia
  • India celebrates the Independence day on 15th August
  • Since the partition and Independence of 1947, the country has come a long way on its own
  • We look at ten events that changed India forever

August 15, 2017: Today India celebrates its 71st Independence Day. In 1947, India became a sovereign nation independent of foreign rule, which came at the cost of a partition.

However, in these 71 years, India has come a long way to become a reputable nation in the international standings.

These ten events that happened in the past changed the country forever:

1. The Indo-Sino war of 1962: 

The 1962 war with China resulted in a humiliating defeat for India. While India was trying to stand on its own feet, independent from the foreigners, the savage offense from China was a blow to India’s confidence. The communist China attacked India on 20th October 1962 in Ladakh. Some say the war emerged out of nowhere. India did not see it coming, and was not prepared for it. The war, however, created animosity between two neighbors who are today the regional powers in the continent.

2. The Indo-Pak war of 1971: 

India and Pakistan have been at war since the partition. The 1971 war between the two countries lasted just 13 days, but a major event of history was written. Bangladesh was liberated from Pakistan and became an independent nation. With this creation, the geopolitics of the Indian subcontinent changed forever. A buffer zone in the form of Bangladesh had emerged. Further, the dispute of Teesta river was a continual issue until recently.

ALSO READ: PM Narendra Modi Condemns Religious Violence on 71st Indian Independence Day, Warns “Will Not Accept Violence In The Name Of Faith”

3. The National Emergency of 1975: 

Indira Gandhi government declared the National Emergency in 1975. The fundamental rights of the people and the constitution became worthless. Liberty was erased from the lives of the citizens. All in all, it was an attack on the very democracy of India. Many people were put behind bars and opposition was totally shut off.

4. Anti-Sikh Riots in 1984: 

The Khalistani militants who were demanding a separate state were terminated by the government of India as part of the Operation Bluestar. Indira Gandhi had ordered an attack on a militant group hiding in Golden Temple, Amritsar which is considered the Holiest place for Sikhs. What followed was the assassination of Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. The agitated public thus initiated a revenge against innocent Sikhs. In Delhi alone, 2,733 Sikhs were killed. This incident still influences the political atmosphere of Punjab.

5. The VP Singh Mandal Commission: 

After independence, the scheduled castes and tribes were recognized as in dire need of social welfare and opportunity to equality. But the Other Backward Classes (OBC) were not involved. It was in 1990 when PM VP Singh declared that the Mandal Commission report, submitted in 1980, was accepted. It changed the phase of many spheres of citizen lives. Education universities were flooded by young people who sought retributive justice. Many enjoyed prosperity and better standards of living.

6. Liberalization in India: 

The Liberalization policy of 1991 was presented by Finance Minister Manmohan Singh. It proved to be the most historic policy in the country’s legacy. Economic reforms were introduced in the country. India was further integrated with global markets and finance. This led to India enjoying a massive rate of progress.

7. 1992 Demolition of Babri Masjid: 

Hindutva ideology possessed people destroyed the Babri Masjid upon learning that four hundred years ago a Muslim ruler had destroyed the Ram Temple where the Lord was born. Hindus demanded a Ram temple be built. This case became a famous dispute between two religions that once coexisted peacefully in one nation. It also influences the politics of the country today.

8. Gujarat Riots 2002: 

A train was set ablaze on fire in a conspiracy. The train was returning from Ayodhya to Gujarat and was carrying Hindus. In retaliation, hundreds of Muslims were killed. The Chief Minister of the state at that time was Narendra Modi, who is the current Prime Minister of India. He came under a lot of fire for the inability to control the situation.

9. Mumbai Terror 2008: 

Popularly referred to as the 26/11, this was the worst attack on the Indian soil. It revealed the loopholes in security arrangements of India and thus improved army and weaponry.

10. 2014 PM Elections:

The 2014 elections shocked Congress and their supporters. For the first time in the country, a party other than Congress received a majority in the Lok Sabha. The whole status quo of the country trembled. The party which is communal in nature was now at power.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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On India’s 71st Independence Day Google celebrated it with an Artistic Doodle

Google’s tricolor doodle on I-Day

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Google Doodle
  • The colorful doodle includes a motif of – The Indian Parliament, a symbolic wheel for the Ashok Chakra and India’s national bird peacock
  • The special doodle has been designed and created by Mumbai-based artist Sabeena Karnik
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort today

New Delhi, Aug 15, 2017:  To honor the  71st Independence Day of India today, the search engine giant Google displayed an artistic doodle.

The colorful doodle includes a motif of – The Indian Parliament, a symbolic wheel for the Ashok Chakra and India’s national bird peacock, all submerged in shades of saffron, green, white and blue. A brilliant interpretation of India’s Independence Day. The word ‘Google’ is displayed across the Parliament House, made out of ribbons of the Indian tricolor- saffron, white and green.

ALSO READ: Maoist Supporters Hoist Black Flags to Unsung India’s Independence Day as Black Day

According to PTI report, Google said in a statement “A unique paper-cut art style has been used to create a Doodle fit for the bold and colorful celebration of today’s events. The Parliament House depicted commemorates this day, this movement, and this triumph of independence.” The special doodle has been designed and created by Mumbai-based artist Sabeena Karnik.

On previous Independence Day, Google dedicated a doodle to the historic “Tryst with Destiny” speech of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.  Google’s way of showing respect for Independence Day with doodles for India in the past was done with the help of the Red Fort, various versions of the Indian flag, Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March and Indian postage stamps among others.

On 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian National Flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each Independence Day since then, the prime minister customarily raises the flag and gives a speech to the nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort today.

The Independence Day holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades, and cultural events. There is a national holiday on this occasion, and schools and government offices distribute sweets, but no official work is done today.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
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