Partition Museum at Delhi's Dara Shikoh Library to open on May 18

The much-awaited ‘Partition Museum’ at the Dara Shikoh Library building at Kashmere Gate is set to open its door to visitors on May 18, coinciding with International Museum Day.
Tarishi Sharma, Advisor, Delhi Government. (Photo | Twitter)
Tarishi Sharma, Advisor, Delhi Government. (Photo | Twitter)

NEW DELHI:  The much-awaited ‘Partition Museum’ at the Dara Shikoh Library building at Kashmere Gate is set to open its door to visitors on May 18, coinciding with International Museum Day. Personal belongings of families who migrated from the other side of the Radcliffe Line dividing erstwhile Punjab province such as books, sewing machines, bank documents, photos and utensils have been displayed in seven galleries.

Officials said the museum will enable visitors to develop an understanding of the trauma that the city and the refugees experienced during the 1947 migration through exhibits and photos of refugee camps. “We want to inaugurate the Partition Museum at the Dara Shikoh Library building on May 18. A file has been sent to the minister for final approval,” said an official.

The hapless Mughal prince Dara Shikoh was the heir apparent of Emperor Shah Jahan. He built this library-cum-mansion along the Yamuna bank around the time when the construction of Red Fort was going on during 1639-48. He is believed to have translated the Upanishads into Persian in this library, which in later years served as the residence of the Mughal viceroy of Punjab Ali Mardan Khan and a powerful British officer in the Mughal court David Ochterlony at the beginning of the 19th century.

Currently, the property is a part of the Ambedkar University campus. The proposal to convert the heritage property into a city museum was floated more than a decade ago. However, the Delhi government held talks with The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TACHT) to set up the Partition Museum, sometime in 2020, when it was being restored by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Subsequently, the trust was awarded the task to develop the museum under the ‘Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ scheme of the tourism ministry.

The property will also house a first-of-its-kind museum depicting the life of Shikoh, a gallery on antiquities including Painted Grey Wares, terracotta animal figurines, shaped beads, and ivory buttons collected from three historic sites in Delhi and a special wing dedicated to Sindhi people and culture.

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