After the Partition: A Shared Cultural Heritage in Essex

After the Partition: A Shared Cultural Heritage in Essex

Funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Over half a million Sikhs, Hindu’s and Muslims came to Britain because of the upheaval of Partition, the promise of economic opportunities and a safer life. Essex Cultural Diversity Project has been awarded funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Sikh, Hindu and (Pakistani) Muslim communities living in Essex to reflect on seven decades of their family’s lives, to explore experiences, challenges, successes, and social change from 1947 to today. The project will pose the question: how has British culture changed and how have they changed British culture?

With few original settlers surviving, this is the last chance to bring three generations together to document the fortunes of settlers and their families who can trace their migration directly to Partition between India and Pakistan.

This will be a rare chance to focus on lived experiences since Partition, rather than on the experience of Partition itself, opening opportunities to explore this unique cultural context within and between communities.

As time passes and memories fade, it is important for Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims to capture what shaped their modern heritage for posterity, and to reflect on wider issues of migration and colonialism today.

We aim to capture people’s memories through oral history recording, films and interviews. We will also create a touring pop-up exhibition with original images, memories, materials and artefacts, belongings from the time of the Partition which migrants bought with them when settling in the UK.

ECDP Creative Director and CEO said ‘This is an excellent opportunity to for us to highlight the significance of Partition and how it affected people who came to settle in Essex after 1947. Through the project we will raise awareness about diverse communities, traditions, and cultures, and promote community cohesion through a heritage focus on the story of the Partition. We are keen that the second and third generations born in Essex from Hindu, Sikh and Muslim communities connect and communicate with the first generation of migrants from the subcontinent to learn more about the Partition and how they have contributed to the wider society in Essex over the years.’’

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