In August 1947, after long years of bitter struggle, India and Pakistan finally won their freedom as new independent countries. New democracies were born, people found their voice and were finally able to determine their own destiny. This demands celebration, particularly in this year, a 75th anniversary.
However, at the same time, there is a bitter-sweet quality to the remembrance. In his speech of August 1947, Pandit Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister spoke of the ‘labour pains of the birth of freedom’. He was referring to the violent rupture of partition, the bloody fracture of the Indian subcontinent into two independent states: a Hindu-majority India and the Muslim-majority Pakistan. This sparked one of the largest migrations in human history. Overnight friends became enemies, terrible scenes of murder left countless dead and countless lives completely shattered, with over million people killed. All suffered. Though amidst the horror, there were acts of kindness and humanity. These memories, both good and bad, must be passed down; almost all Partition survivors have already died, and now, more than ever, there is real urgency to listen and to honour these memories.
We must continue to talk about one of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century so that we can ensure that such horrors don’t happen again. For anyone looking to learn or read more on Partition, this page holds a series of resources, for all ages, created by people knowledgeable and knowing about such matters. It is by no means definitive – we have simply found them to be useful, inspiring and accessible.
The origins of chintz can be firmly – and humbly – traced back to 16th century India. The word ‘chintz’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘chint’, meaning spotted or splattered. These intricate designs and endless patterns were traditionally hand-printed using wooden blocks - kalamkari - and brilliantly coloured natural dyes.
We often find it too easy to hurtle through the days, in an attempt to outpace the bustling city – be it London or Bombay – which always seems to be running away like a steam-engine train on a rickety track. Occasionally, it does us good to pause for thought, to disembark the carriage and sit on the platform awhile.
How does one create a space where people can truly connect over food? How can a host make their guests feel relaxed, at ease, and suitably cared for? Since launching our all-new Dishoom Crockery, we have been pondering the answers to these questions even more than usual. We recently discussed them with Creative Director - and frequent dinner party hostess - Kirthanaa Naidu when we invited her to create a first-class tablescape in our Canary Wharf café.
Each year, the spring equinox – when day and night are equal length – marks a transition in earth’s relationship with the sun. This event, sacred to many cultures throughout history, today thrives as a new year celebration for hundreds of millions.
In Bombay, London, and throughout the South Asian diaspora, you’ll find many folks of the Zoroastrian faith (amongst others) celebrating this new year, or Navroz as we like to call it.