On 14th August, 2021 Prime Minister Narendra Modi solemnly declared that henceforth 14th August will be observed as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’. The partition still remains a compelling account of human hardship and tragedy ever known to humankind. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), to mark the memory, struggles and sacrifices of our people, held series of events like conferences, seminars, book releases, film screening competition, exhibition and lectures on the theme of partition.
In series of events marking ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ IGNCA launched a book “Revisiting Partition: Tales of Displacement, Horror, Negotiation and Reconciliation” edited by Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi and Prof. Ravi Prakash Tekchandani and published by IGNCA. The chief guest of the event was Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Hon’ble Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs. The special guest of the event was Prof. Amita Dev, Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi Delhi Technological Women University. The editors of the book Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary, IGNCA, Prof. Ravi Prakash Tekchandani, University of Delhi and Prof. K. Anil Kumar, HoD, Janpada Sampada, were present along with eminent dignitaries.
Meenakshi Lekhi while speaking on the occasion of book launch said that what India received was not independence but ‘Dominion Status’ on the pretext of partition. The real facts about partition were removed deliberately from the pages of history. She further reiterated that there should be serious documentation and research on the aspects of partition. She also shared personal anecdotes related to partition and added that the biggest displacement happened through Montgomery district. Smt. Lekhi continued in the same vein and said women who had the strength and empowered by all means in erstwhile United India had to leave their home and hearth and run without wearing slippers. The circumstances in which people came here in India none of them choose wrong means for livelihood or became plunderers rather partition is the story of resilience and strength of character of the survivors. She concluded by saying that many mistakes were made during the times of partition, generations lost their lives and homes which they built by their hard work and we gave it up by one signature.
Dr. Amita Dev’s family also went through the horrors of ‘partition’, which is why she broke down in tears while narrating the story of her family’s displacement and struggle during Partition. She said that it was necessary to remember the horrors of partition so that the coming generations could feel the pain involved in it. Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi said in his address that small tragedies have also been recorded in history, but one of the biggest human tragedies in history, the tragedy of ‘Partition of India’ did not find that place in history due to various political reasons. He also said the book is an organizational effort to research and document the partition which will enable people to learn about the forgotten tragedy. He also informed about the programs organized by IGNCA last year on ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’. Prof. Ravi Prakash Tekchandani said that this is not a celebration, but a moment of remembrance. There is no political sense behind the remembrance, but it is a moment from which we can learn and build a better future. He said that in the partition a part of Bengal and Punjab came to India, but not a single village of Sindh came to us, this is a great irony.
To mark ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ film screening was organized by IGNCA’s Media Centre for the second consecutive year. In this screening, three films based on the theme of ‘Partition’ were screened, which have been awarded in the film competition organized by the Media Centre. The first prize went to Namita Sachdev’s film ‘Prasidh Kahaniyan’, the second prize to Amit Kumar Sharma’s film ‘Vibhajan Ka Aakhri Natak’ and the third prize to Swapan Kumar Sarkar’s Bengali film ‘Amar Desh Amar Maa’. A good number of short and documentary films were sent by many filmmakers in this film competition, out of which three were selected for screening and award. The audience was moved by watching these films which presented the pain of partition in a poignant manner and felt the pain that the victims of partition had to go through.