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.
This year, on Thursday 20th October, we will celebrate the festival of light at Studio Spaces in Wapping. A night-time affair filled with poetry, live music and bespoke dance performances curated in partnership with our good friend Sweety Kapoor.
Tuesday 12th April – 1973, BOMBAY. It is almost light outside. It must be about six. He’s been awake half the night trying to figure out what to do. Lying on his bed, he stares through the rotating blades of the ceiling fan which only serve to stir the close warm air of his room. He needs to think – he’s running out of time. But his eyes feel salted and his head throbs.
In August, we held a series of events to commemorate 75 Years of Indian Independence and the creation of Pakistan. Before the events took place, we were delighted to sit down with Soumik, a super-talented musician, composer and sarod player, who composed the musical score to accompany the 75 Years series. It was a real pleasure to discuss music, identity and inclusivity, amongst many other topics. We invite you to read on to learn more about how he created such a joyous atmosphere at our events.
With greatest delight, we are beyond excited to share that this November we’ll be opening the doors to the brand-new, most fine and gorgeous Dishoom Canary Wharf! Our newest home, nestled in a little corner of Wood Wharf, will bring to life the glittering-shimmering, big-business, metropolitan scene of ‘70s Bombay. When fortunes were made and lost, swindles plotted and uncovered, and dreams were dreamed and broken.