Building MomentumOther projects have sought to bring people from the two countries together over the years, including student exchanges and art projects, said Urvashi Butalia, the author of “The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India.”But she said Punjabi Lehar is unique because it celebrates the identify of Punjab, one of the states of British India that was divided by partition.
(It was also the site of several bloody clashes afterward that pitted Muslims against Hindus and Sikhs.)
“It harks to an identity that existed before partition, and in some ways continues after — a regional, linguistic, cultural identity, which links people together despite religious differences and rejects the assumption the British made at partition, that the only identity that needed to be foregrounded was the religious one,” Ms. Butalia said.
Mr. Dhillon, who is Muslim, said that his interest in partition’s legacy comes from his grandfather, who would tell the family stories about their ancestral village in Indian Punjab, and the Sikh friends and neighbors he used to know.
Urvashi Butalia, Lehar, foregrounded, Ms, Butalia, Dhillon
India, Punjab, British India, Indian Punjab