“Art for Partition,” an event held Saturday in downtown Berkeley, sought to raise funds for the preservation of stories from survivors of the Partition of 1947 in South Asia. The Partition of 1947 involved the division of colonial India into the sovereign states of Pakistan and India after the dissolution of the British Indian Empire. It resulted in the displacement of 12.5 million individuals and the deaths of around 1 million, and it bred an atmosphere of mutual hostility that still exists between the two states today.
The event consisted not only of the showcasing and auctioning of artwork but also of a series of presentations given by members of local academic institutions and a panel of survivors of the Partition. The afternoon was marked by stories of brutality as well as compassion, and it moved many among the culturally diverse audience to participate in the auction. At the end of the day, attendees left with a greater appreciation for and knowledge of the events of 1947. Moreover, they were shown the need for remembrance and discussion — no matter how painful the memory. As the event advocated, perhaps this is where the solution to current Indian-Pakistani conflict lies.