HUDDERSFIELD TO CELEBRATE 75 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN
Huddersfield’s St George’s Square will be filled with music, dance, theatre and film on the afternoon of Sunday 21 August with a special event to mark the 75th anniversary of independence in India and Pakistan. Curated by Let’s Go Yorkshire, THE WHITE LINE Celebration will also commemorate the 1947 partition of British India when a line was drawn across the sub-continent resulting in the largest migration in human history. With almost 15 million people on the move. Hindus and Sikhs exited from West Panjab into the “new” India, while many Muslims departed India into the new state called Pakistan.
As Mandeep Samra, who has curated the event for Let’s Go Yorkshire, explains: ‘The human impact of partition was incalculable and has resonated through time and place to where we live now in Huddersfield. After the Second World War the UK, in the face of severe shortages in many industries, invited men and women from India and Pakistan to help rebuild the economy. In the 1950s and 60s, immigrants who had survived the uncertainties and turmoil of partition came to Britain in search of a better life, taking up employment in factories and foundries in expanding cities and towns including Huddersfield’.
Jamil Akhar MBE JP, from the South Asian Consortium Kirklees says: ‘This event is about acknowledging the past whilst also celebrating the huge contributions that the South Asian community has made to British culture and for everyone to appreciate and celebrate South Asian history and culture in Kirklees’.
Huddersfield-born artist Hardeep Singh Sahota who describes himself, first and foremost as a ‘Sikh Yorkshire lad’ and will be performing Bhangra at the event, agrees: ‘This event is a special tribute to mark this historic occasion and an opportunity to invite local people to come together and celebrate 75 years of India and Pakistan’s independence’.
As well as Bhangra, the event line-up will include: Giddha Boliyan (traditional Panjabi folk songs) by Balle Balle Sangeet; a new commissioned play by Chol Theatre reflecting partition survivors and their families’ stories of loss, displacement, hope and arrival; and film screenings including ‘A NEW LIFE IN HUDDERSFIELD: MEMORIES OF PARTITION AND MIGRATION’ by Let’s Go Yorkshire, ‘INTERWOVEN soundscape’ and the new video of the ‘INTERWOVEN Ensemble performing Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song’ by Woven in Kirklees. And of course, expect to be served authentic Indian street food from local cuisine Dabbawala and delicious chai tea from Mr Bean Coffee Van!
THE WHITE LINE Celebration is at St George’s Square, Huddersfield on Sunday 21 August between 1pm and 4pm.
The event is funded by Arts Council England and the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme, a government funded scheme led by Historic England, in partnership with Kirklees Council.