I heard about Citzen Archive of Pakistan (CAP) first when they visited Lums to recruit volunteers. Their project sounded interesting but a lot of people including me could not visualize the end result of their initiative. It was only yesterday that I experienced their dream in a stunning exhibition at Mahotta Palace. The exhibition is aimed at introducing Pakistan’s initial history and its challenges for survival to the children. Most of it is interactive and leaves vivid imprints in children’s mind.
First you witness Sindh’s brief history and Jinnah and Gandhi’s sayings portraying difference in their perspectives on the partition. In the balcony, CAP has reproduced a refugee train’s compartment, a small refugee tent and a registration desk. There is a reproduced copy of 47’s newspaper which children are asked to take with them. The train compartment has audio/visuals which tells story of refugees on their journey to Pakistan. Tent and desk uses goods used actually in corresponding setups. Then you move on to see refugee model camps which were established close to gora qabrustan. A passport desk is restored in the same manner as the rest and one passport copy (as in 47) is given free to the visitors.
Inside the room you can see some old restored images of Karrachi, audio/visuals, army/police uniform depicting life back in 47. In the end CAP has put a board asking people to document their memories of the era. That in one sense is the best part where you could read feelings in words by survivors of the era, a unique way of preserving and transferring the message to new generations at the sametime. CAP has come up with genuine souveniers which includes shirts, bags, mugs, cards etc. which adds to the experience.
CAP’s initiative is unheard of and a delightful way of learning our history for children and elders alike in a country where there is dearth of such activities. We all ought to contribute. atleast by paying a visit!!