|WHY PEACE MUSEUM ?|
The partition of India was one of the most traumatic events of the twentieth century. The Radcliffe Line, which severed Punjab into two--East Punjab on the Indian side and West Punjab on the Pakistan side-- resulted in the greatest displacement of human population in human memory.
Today, both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. While a large majority of the people live below the poverty line, both countries spend a huge proportion of their budgets on purchase of armaments. Ironically, while hawks on both sides, from time to time, raise the battle-cry, there are today, vibrant, growing and vociferous voices on both sides of the border in favour of peace.
During the last several years politicians, lawyers, businessmen, media persons and eminent public personalities and peace activists have been crossing the Attari-Wagah border and speaking out for peace, harmony and friendship. The Museum of Peace, it is hoped, will add strength to these efforts by reminding the people of the common ties that bind them and their stake in a peaceful future.
BORDERS WITHOUT BARRIERS !
The Attari-Wagah border was witness to some of the most gruesome and horrendous violence on the eve of partition in August 1947. Between August-October 1947, the entire Punjab was in the grip of bloody, communal violence which resulted in Muslims travelling west to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs towards East in India. Nearly ten million people crossed the Punjab border. The estimates of deaths vary between half million to two million.
Today, the Attari-Wagah border attracts nearly 8,000 visitors on the Indian side and another 2,000 on the Pakistan side daily to witness the famous "Beating the Retreat Ceremony". This ceremony is a daily ritual where the Pakistani and Indian flags are lowered amidst a spectacle of aggression, bordering on hostility. The nationalist and jingoist slogans, which accompany this ceremony, draw an enthusiastic response from the crowds on both sides of the border.
To draw people away from the culture of war slogans and the environment of hostility and hate, the Museum of Peace at the Attari-Wagah border will rekindle the hope of our people in a peaceful future.
Liberty and freedom of movement are inalienable rights of every human being. Barriers and barricades erected at the borders do not merely divide boundaries but also people who become hostages and pawns in diplomatic power-play.
Twenty years ago in Berlin, in a unique assertion of the power of the people, the world witnessed the historic demolition of the Berlin Wall which had forcibly divided a people bound together by a common history, culture, tradition and family relationships.
It is on the people again that we must pin our faith that sometime in the near future we will have at Attari-Wagah A BORDER WITHOUT BARRIERS!