Introduction to partition and the practice of memory

Churnjeet Mahn, Anne Murphy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In October 2016, the Partition Museum opened in Amritsar, Punjab with the aim of delivering, ‘a world class, physical museum, dedicated to the memory of the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 — its victims, its survivors and its lasting legacy.’ Claiming to be the first museum of its kind, the museum sits in Amritsar’s Town Hall and is part of the city’s ‘Heritage Mile’ linking the Town Hall to the Golden Temple. The museum contains a representation of a well to signify honour killings and suicide, contains extracts of oral histories, from significant players in the execution of Partition, to ordinary refugees. Red and white are dominant colours through the exhibition space and several maps illustrate the borders and boundaries of the emergent nations. Alongside the 1947 Partition Archive, which collects oral histories from across South Asia on an online platform, the museum represents a significant step towards bringing memories of Partition into contact with the present and for a broad public. Restoring and conserving memories of Partition, and housing and displaying them in a museum, frames such memories in the context of heritage and its management. The conservation of these memories becomes an act of restorative justice, although their caretaking by the state or institutions can complicate the way in which they can be used to interrogate the ongoing effects and legacies of Partition. Across Amristar, new statues to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the architect of the Indian constitution, BR Ambedekar have been erected alongside the augmentation of existing sites of commemoration, such as Jallianwala Bagh. Histories of nation, empire, decolonization, and violence have thus been simultaneously renovated in Amritsar, a kind of cacophony of memory inscribed in the built environment. Heritage can be understood as a practice of memory: a process whereby the past is selectively used for contemporary cultural and ideological imperatives, often around national, ethnic, religious or cultural belonging. Memory can be institutionalised, and through this process it can lose its vital character.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationPartition and the Practice of Memory
EditorsChurnjeet Mahn, Anne Murphy
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
Pages1-14
Number of pages14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

Heritage
Oral History
Town Hall
Golden Temple
Restorative Justice
Refugees
Players
Constitution
Physical
Statue
Punjab
Suicide
Decolonization
Built Environment
Survivors
Killing
Cacophony
Religion
South Asia
Augmentation

Keywords

  • Partition museum
  • Punjab
  • memory
  • culture

Cite this

Mahn, C., & Murphy, A. (2018). Introduction to partition and the practice of memory. In C. Mahn, & A. Murphy (Eds.), Partition and the Practice of Memory (pp. 1-14). Basingstoke. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-64516-2
Mahn, Churnjeet ; Murphy, Anne. / Introduction to partition and the practice of memory. Partition and the Practice of Memory . editor / Churnjeet Mahn ; Anne Murphy. Basingstoke, 2018. pp. 1-14
@inbook{d435e9a65bd2479fb55b98f451711c02,
title = "Introduction to partition and the practice of memory",
abstract = "In October 2016, the Partition Museum opened in Amritsar, Punjab with the aim of delivering, ‘a world class, physical museum, dedicated to the memory of the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 — its victims, its survivors and its lasting legacy.’ Claiming to be the first museum of its kind, the museum sits in Amritsar’s Town Hall and is part of the city’s ‘Heritage Mile’ linking the Town Hall to the Golden Temple. The museum contains a representation of a well to signify honour killings and suicide, contains extracts of oral histories, from significant players in the execution of Partition, to ordinary refugees. Red and white are dominant colours through the exhibition space and several maps illustrate the borders and boundaries of the emergent nations. Alongside the 1947 Partition Archive, which collects oral histories from across South Asia on an online platform, the museum represents a significant step towards bringing memories of Partition into contact with the present and for a broad public. Restoring and conserving memories of Partition, and housing and displaying them in a museum, frames such memories in the context of heritage and its management. The conservation of these memories becomes an act of restorative justice, although their caretaking by the state or institutions can complicate the way in which they can be used to interrogate the ongoing effects and legacies of Partition. Across Amristar, new statues to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the architect of the Indian constitution, BR Ambedekar have been erected alongside the augmentation of existing sites of commemoration, such as Jallianwala Bagh. Histories of nation, empire, decolonization, and violence have thus been simultaneously renovated in Amritsar, a kind of cacophony of memory inscribed in the built environment. Heritage can be understood as a practice of memory: a process whereby the past is selectively used for contemporary cultural and ideological imperatives, often around national, ethnic, religious or cultural belonging. Memory can be institutionalised, and through this process it can lose its vital character.",
keywords = "Partition museum, Punjab, memory, culture",
author = "Churnjeet Mahn and Anne Murphy",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1007/978-3-319-64516-2",
language = "English",
isbn = "978-3-319-64515-5",
pages = "1--14",
editor = "Churnjeet Mahn and Anne Murphy",
booktitle = "Partition and the Practice of Memory",

}

Mahn, C & Murphy, A 2018, Introduction to partition and the practice of memory. in C Mahn & A Murphy (eds), Partition and the Practice of Memory . Basingstoke, pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-64516-2

Introduction to partition and the practice of memory. / Mahn, Churnjeet; Murphy, Anne.

Partition and the Practice of Memory . ed. / Churnjeet Mahn; Anne Murphy. Basingstoke, 2018. p. 1-14.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - Introduction to partition and the practice of memory

AU - Mahn, Churnjeet

AU - Murphy, Anne

PY - 2018/1/3

Y1 - 2018/1/3

N2 - In October 2016, the Partition Museum opened in Amritsar, Punjab with the aim of delivering, ‘a world class, physical museum, dedicated to the memory of the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 — its victims, its survivors and its lasting legacy.’ Claiming to be the first museum of its kind, the museum sits in Amritsar’s Town Hall and is part of the city’s ‘Heritage Mile’ linking the Town Hall to the Golden Temple. The museum contains a representation of a well to signify honour killings and suicide, contains extracts of oral histories, from significant players in the execution of Partition, to ordinary refugees. Red and white are dominant colours through the exhibition space and several maps illustrate the borders and boundaries of the emergent nations. Alongside the 1947 Partition Archive, which collects oral histories from across South Asia on an online platform, the museum represents a significant step towards bringing memories of Partition into contact with the present and for a broad public. Restoring and conserving memories of Partition, and housing and displaying them in a museum, frames such memories in the context of heritage and its management. The conservation of these memories becomes an act of restorative justice, although their caretaking by the state or institutions can complicate the way in which they can be used to interrogate the ongoing effects and legacies of Partition. Across Amristar, new statues to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the architect of the Indian constitution, BR Ambedekar have been erected alongside the augmentation of existing sites of commemoration, such as Jallianwala Bagh. Histories of nation, empire, decolonization, and violence have thus been simultaneously renovated in Amritsar, a kind of cacophony of memory inscribed in the built environment. Heritage can be understood as a practice of memory: a process whereby the past is selectively used for contemporary cultural and ideological imperatives, often around national, ethnic, religious or cultural belonging. Memory can be institutionalised, and through this process it can lose its vital character.

AB - In October 2016, the Partition Museum opened in Amritsar, Punjab with the aim of delivering, ‘a world class, physical museum, dedicated to the memory of the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 — its victims, its survivors and its lasting legacy.’ Claiming to be the first museum of its kind, the museum sits in Amritsar’s Town Hall and is part of the city’s ‘Heritage Mile’ linking the Town Hall to the Golden Temple. The museum contains a representation of a well to signify honour killings and suicide, contains extracts of oral histories, from significant players in the execution of Partition, to ordinary refugees. Red and white are dominant colours through the exhibition space and several maps illustrate the borders and boundaries of the emergent nations. Alongside the 1947 Partition Archive, which collects oral histories from across South Asia on an online platform, the museum represents a significant step towards bringing memories of Partition into contact with the present and for a broad public. Restoring and conserving memories of Partition, and housing and displaying them in a museum, frames such memories in the context of heritage and its management. The conservation of these memories becomes an act of restorative justice, although their caretaking by the state or institutions can complicate the way in which they can be used to interrogate the ongoing effects and legacies of Partition. Across Amristar, new statues to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the architect of the Indian constitution, BR Ambedekar have been erected alongside the augmentation of existing sites of commemoration, such as Jallianwala Bagh. Histories of nation, empire, decolonization, and violence have thus been simultaneously renovated in Amritsar, a kind of cacophony of memory inscribed in the built environment. Heritage can be understood as a practice of memory: a process whereby the past is selectively used for contemporary cultural and ideological imperatives, often around national, ethnic, religious or cultural belonging. Memory can be institutionalised, and through this process it can lose its vital character.

KW - Partition museum

KW - Punjab

KW - memory

KW - culture

UR - https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-64516-2

U2 - 10.1007/978-3-319-64516-2

DO - 10.1007/978-3-319-64516-2

M3 - Chapter

SN - 978-3-319-64515-5

SP - 1

EP - 14

BT - Partition and the Practice of Memory

A2 - Mahn, Churnjeet

A2 - Murphy, Anne

CY - Basingstoke

ER -

Mahn C, Murphy A. Introduction to partition and the practice of memory. In Mahn C, Murphy A, editors, Partition and the Practice of Memory . Basingstoke. 2018. p. 1-14 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-64516-2