By TwoCircles.net news desk
Gulberg Society: A Museum of Resistance. Yes, this will be the name of the museum of its own kind to come up in Gujarat, and also in India for the first time. The museum will map several instances of communal violence and victimization perpetuated over decades in India.
Be it the survivors from Meerut or Bhagalpur, victimised Kashmiri Pundits or Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir or Sikh survivors of 1984 – all victims of violence, regardless of community, will find a space and a voice at the museum. A brainchild of social activist Teesta Setalvad, the museum of resistance (only Bangladesh on the subcontinent has one such resistance museum) will consist of films, documents, art and literature related to communal violence.
The Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace have been working on the project for one year. Why they chose Gulberg Society for the museum has logic. On 28th February 2002 as Gujarat was scarred deeply through well planned pogrom, Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad witnessed 70 of its people massacred. For over six years, these two organizations have together resisted the sale of this housing society to hawks from among the criminals. The space today is empty but full of battered memories of the victims and survivors.
These NGOs have devoted the better part of two and a half decades combating the forces of communalism, hatred and division. By establishing this museum, they want to institutionalise their efforts for the future.
The museum will be a professionally built institution that will acknowledge the horrors and scale of communal conflict that has plagued independent India and contain widespread documentation of the same. Victim survivors of those acts of violence will be the soul and centre of this museum.
To make their dream project a reality, the organizations need individual and generous contributions. Contributions should be made to Sabrang Trust, Mumbai. These will be publicly displayed in a scroll of honour. The members of the Board of Trustees of these two organizations include prominent citizens of the country Vijay Tendulkar, Alyque Padamsee, Javed Akhtar and Rahul Bose.
This has been a precious project, close to our hearts for the past six months to a year.
We also know that there will be bumps and roadblocks on the road ahead, as a vindictive state tries to thwart us at every juncture. We know that this idea, one of its kind, must be located in Gujarat (Only Bangladesh on the subcontinent has one such resistance museum). We know, therefore that this must become a reality. Part of the battle against the state wll be building up a Movement for the Gulberg Society--Museum of Resistance with the support of each and all of you.
For this we need you. And all your ideas. For the victim survivors of Gujarat 2002, for those of us at Sabrang and Citizens for Justice and Peace who have devoted the better part of two and a half decades battling the forces of communalism, hatred and division, this will be an effort, unqiue and the first, to institutionalise these efforts for the future. All documentation, posters and films that we have accessed, and archived, including our own will be housed in the Gulberg Society---Museum of Resistance. Narratives of survivors, communities will enjoy a special focus here.
We also would like to invite you to a Day Night Vigil at the Gulberg Society on February 28, 2008 to commemorate Six years of the Genocide of Gujarat 2002 and to formally inaugurate this idea and movement.
Gulberg Society: A Museum of Resistance
Gulberg Museum of Resistance will be a professionally built institution of resistance that acknowledges the horrors and scale of inter community conflict that has plagued independent India and contain widespread documentation of the same. Victim survivors will be the soul and centre of this museum of resistance and will every year commemorate the February 28, 2002 with prayers and remembrances. Films, documents, art and literature on the subject will be available on the site that will become a live centre of activities for the anti-communal movement in the country. No one will, when this project is complete, be able to arrive in Ahmedabad city without paying a visit to what transpired here in 2002.
Be it Gulberg Society, Meghaninagar, Ahmedabad, Naroda, Sardarpura or Odh, the locations of orgies of violence stand as ghostlike relics even today. The tiny blocks, apartments and homes within Gulberg Society in the city of Ahmedabad have evidence of the depth and scale of the violence unleashed in the damaged and scarred walls, cracked by ravaging furnaces of flames that charred electric connections. Room after room and home after home in this society will be sombre reminders to us all, supporters of the resistance, of the horrors unleashed by communal violence.
For this to happen and to ensure safe passage of sale to the survivors, we are inviting individual and generous contributions that will make this dream come true. Contributions should be made to Sabrang Trust, Mumbai. These will be publicly displayed in a scroll of honour.
In remembrance of Gujarat 2002 before and after
Hailing from India's largest religious minority, Gujarat's survivors today live in hope of justice that has in most cases, been delayed if not denied. Nineteen of Gujarat's 25 districts were torn apart by bitter targeted strife that left 2,500 dead. To date, of the total of 413 'missing' bodies, 228 have not been found. Four hundred girls and women were victims of sexual violence. Over 1,68,000 persons were turned, overnight by a remorseless administration into internally displaced persons. Totally, 23,873 homes were seriously damaged or totally destroyed. A total of 14,330 shops, informal businesses and 1,100 hotels were irretrievably damaged. Six years later, the victim survivors face a denial of justice and pathetic compensation. Of the 566 Mosques, Dargahs, Madrassas and Churches specifically targeted in the violence, 167 have still not been repaired. Few were repaired through state funds, a vast majority through community funding.
Members of the Board of Trustees of Sabrang and CJP:
Vijay Tendulkar (President), IM Kadri (Vice-President), Arvind Krishnaswamy (Treasurer),Alyque Padamsee, Javed Anand, Cyrus Guzder, Javed Akhtar, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam, Nandan Maluste, Anil Dharkar, Rahul Bose and Cedric Prakash.