Cambridge University's Centre of South Asian Studies, to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence, is staging an exhibition over four floors of the Alison Richard Building. The exhibition will comprise of Centre's unparalleled collection of more than 100,000 photographs, 600 written collections, 900 maps and thousands of hours of film footage. The exhibition named Freedom and Fragmentation: Images of Independence, Decolonisation and Partition will run till October 27, 2017. Though the exhibition is primarily about partition and independence of India, it covers almost 200 years of life in India under the colonial rule and the early-decades of post-colonial India.
The exhibition features first-hand photographs of Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah. The exhibition will also feature flyers, posters, image of important sites related to freedom struggle.
Dr Edward Anderson who is the co-curator for the exhibition and Smuts Research Fellow in Commonwealth Studies, talking about the Indian Independence and Partition, said, "Partition was a painful, traumatic experience for tens of millions of people. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives and up to 14 million people were displaced in the single largest migration in human history. We are not saying this is the definitive story of partition and independence - it's the one drawn from our collections. We want people to learn more about the way in which India and Pakistan gained their freedom - and the colonial state from which they achieved it."
The four floors of the exhibition explores one of the four themes - Repression and Resistance, Ideas of Independence, Partition, and The Raj.
Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies Professor Joya Chaterji said, "This exhibition explores what freedom meant to people on the ground as power was transferred not to one, but to two nations - India and Pakistan - and euphoria mingled with the agony of refugees, and relief with horror at the brutality of partition. We need to be conscious that our archive is an elite archive, primarily seen through the eyes of elite, white men which can obscure and silence many other versions of what was happening at that point. That's what archives do, not just this one. Despite this caveat, we believe that the images and texts on display provide a rare insight into a pivotal moment in history."
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