University partners with the Pothohar Association on rekindling project

The University of Wolverhampton has partnered with the Pothohar Association UK to document the journey of migrants to the UK in a project – ‘Rekindling Pothohar’. 

The Pothohar Association has been awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to undertake the project, recording the history of their journey from Pothohar, following the partition of India in 1947. The project will map their journeys from there into India, East Africa and other countries and then to the United Kingdom. The Pothohari community is one of the most financially successful minority communities in the UK today. 

The University’s Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies, together with colleagues and students from the Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences will work alongside the Pothohar Association and Digital Works to create a documentary and exhibition to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Partition of India, which takes place in 2022. 

The Pothohar Association UK strives to enhance the cultural heritage of migrants predominantly from the Pothohar region of West Punjab (which now lies in Pakistan).  Pothoharis first started to settle in the UK in the early 20th Century with the majority arriving in the UK in the early 1950s from India, East Africa, Iran and other countries, and were spread all over the country. 

Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, Director of the Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies at the University, said: “Pothoharis are highly resilient as a cultural group; having a rich history spanning 5,000 years and we’re delighted to be involved in creating a documentary and exhibition project that will examine the contribution of Pothoharis to the UK over the last century.  

“Members of the Community survived both Indian Partition and expulsion from various East African countries and are playing an integral role in British society from serving in the House of Lords; the Judiciary; major charities and businesses.

“This project will explore the roots and record the successes of the community. The project will also give many of our students in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences the opportunity to work on research and collecting data from interviews for the documentary and the exhibition. It will also bring together staff with expertise in migration and accessing archives.”
  
With a membership of over 1,500, the Pothohar Association UK has organised events ranging from charity dinners, annual lectures at the Mayfair London, health awareness days and family sports events. Recently the Association has started working with other charities to tackle the challenges posed by the Pandemic. 
  
The Association is looking for any memorabilia that may be useful for the digital exhibition. The project is of historical importance for generations to come and community support is vital to the success of the project. Volunteers for the project are also welcome, training will be provided for film making and interviewing. Contact for more information: gen.sec@thepothohar.com 

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