Bloomsbury Festival 2017: a celebration of independence

Amrit Kaur Lohia performs at the Bloomsbury Festival

Bloomsbury Festival 2017 runs from 18-22 October, and presents an imaginative programme of events, reflecting the diversity and vibrancy of the institutions and inhabitants who call Bloomsbury home.

It is perhaps apt, in a year, which sees the 70th anniversary of the Partition of India, that the theme of the Festival is independence.

Located in the heart of Bloomsbury, SOAS University of London has had a long association with the Festival, and this year in no exception.

Behind the Indian Boom

Running for the duration of the entire Bloomsbury Festival and on to 16 December, Behind the Indian Boom: Inequality and Resistance at the Heart of Economic Growth is an exhibition in the Brunei Gallery, which highlights the story of the Dalit and Adivasi peoples and how they risk being left behind as India’s economy rapidly expands.

The Dalits and Adivasis face daily struggles and hazardous working and living conditions, often finding themselves the subject of exploitation and cheap labour in a range of industries, from tea and cotton production, to construction and mining.

The Brunei Gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.30AM to 5PM; late night Thursdays until 8PM.

Women’s Voices from the Partition of India

Amrit Kaur Lohia is a a sārangī player and vocalist who specialises in Punjabi folk, jazz and soul (she also plays mbira and dilruba).

As part of SOAS’s Concert Series, Amrit will be performing in the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre on 18 October at 7.30PM.  The concert can be booked via Eventbrite.

Amrit will be performing a selection of songs, which recount the story of India’s partition, as well as some classic Punjabi folk songs, and some of her own compositions based on the works of the famed poet Amrita Pritam.  She will be accompanied on tabla by Prata Singh Lohia.

Veer Zaara

Screening on 20 October at 7PM in the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, Veer Zaara is a 2004 Indian romantic drama by acclaimed director Yash Chopra.  The film stars Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherjee, with cameo roles for Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini.

The backdrop of the story is India and Pakistan in the 1980s and an ill-fated love story between an Indian Air Force pilot, Veer Pratap Singh, and a wealthy Pakistani woman from an influential family, Zaara Hayat Khan.

Veer Zaara was the highest-grossing Bollywood movie of the year at the time of its release, and won several film awards.

The screening in the Brunei Gallery is free; seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

Want to learn more?

SOAS University of London offers the modules Histories of Partition: India and Pakistan 1947 (I) and (II) on its BA History and BA History and… undergraduate degree courses.

Students of South Asian music can take modules on Classical Singing in India: Continuity and Change and Music, Religion and Society in South Asia on the BA Music, BA Music and… and BA Global Popular Music degrees.

Find out more







Share this post