'Punjab Under Siege' an exhibition on the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre curated by the Partition Museum of Amritsar, India concluded on Thursday, November 28 with hundreds attending it during the week-long event at Saint Peters Church in Wellington.
Organised by Ekta New Zealand, the inauguration of the exhibition was attended by the High Commissioner of India in Wellington Muktesh Pardeshi, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, and Chief Government Whip Michael Wood among other dignitaries and community leaders.
Mr Pardeshi and Michael Wood also notarised the poster of the photo exhibition during the inauguration ceremony.
The exhibition in the Garden Room of Saint Peter's Church displayed images, videos and written content telling the story of one of the greatest tragedies in modern history.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Shekhar Bandyopadhyay highlighted that the real learning from the tragic episode is that rightful protest by the public cannot be put down state oppression. He noted
that General Dyer’s use of brute force to break the morale of the people resulted in the start of the crumbling of the mighty British Empire.
A curator from the Partition Museum in New Delhi, India, Ganeev Dhillon, the driving force behind the exhibition which through two years of research brought together the eye witness accounts, pictures and official documents displayed at the exhibition.
Ms Dhillon has also created the exhibition in Amritsar in India and Manchester in the UK.
Sunita Musa and Charanjit Singh of Ekta who co-chaired the project said that the community has the responsibility towards the 400 or so people who were killed that Vaisakhi Day to tell their story.
“We should not forget these Shaheed’s nor their sacrifices. We had a Remembrance ceremony on 12 April and have now brought the photo exhibition. Wellington is the second city in the world to host this exhibition outside India,' Ms Dhillon said.
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre completed it's centenary earlier in April 2019, and an official centennial event was organised in Wellington then which was also attended by the British High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke.
Ganeev Kaur Dhillon (curator from the Partition Museum), Sunita Musa (Ekta NZ Project Leader), Chief Govt Whip Michael Wood and Geetha Grewal (Ekta NZ Volunteer)
On April 13, 1919, some 50 British-Indian army soldiers began shooting at unarmed civilians who were taking part in a peaceful protest against oppressive laws enforced in the Punjab region.
At least 379 Sikhs were killed, according to the official record, although local residents said in the past the toll was far higher. The massacre took place in the walled enclosure of Jallianwala Bagh, which is still pocked with bullet marks.
Notarised Poster of the exhibition
All photos supplied by Sunita Musa