Tuesday, December 09, 2008


She made me proud to be an Indian in 1971 and again in 1974. I was in my teens then, but in 1975, she lost my respect by declaring emergency and disgusted me so much that I actively worked to help defeat her in the general elections in 1977.

And then, like a phoenix she rose from the ashes and came back to power in 1980. Her third term as prime minister was not like her earlier stints. This was not the same person, perhaps she had lost direction, or perhaps personal tragedies had somehow changed her. Then came Operation Blue Star in 1984, and her subsequent killing by her Sikh bodyguards.

She had been a part of my existence during my formative years and I still remember the sense of loss that I felt when I received that news. The pain and hurt transformed into anger at some point. And for a long time after that, every Sikh, in my eyes was a criminal and somehow responsible for the atrocity. I had heard about the resulting riots and killings of Sikhs in Delhi but never realized either the magnitude or the brutality or the senselessness of it all. Perhaps I just trivialized it as something bound to happen after the murder of Indira Gandhi.

I was trying to educate myself about what happened in 1984 and came across Mai's blog. Reading her account as well as others brought the horror of what transpired in 1984 to life.

I do not know if Mai and Suni were lucky in that they hailed from Canada and left India soon afterwards. The Indian Sikhs had to pick up the pieces of their lives after suffering the losses of their loved ones and facing economic hardship. As well as fighting for justice within a system that was unsympathetic towards their plight.

Justice, however late, is the only solace that we can offer them and I sincerely hope that the Sikhs do receive it.


Does it matter said...

Yes, exactly what Bhindranwale and his types wanted - alienating and separating Sikhs from the mainstream and vice versa. Luckily a mix of strong political will and equally strong law enforcement by folks like Ribeiro and KPS (though somewhat to the dislike of human rights folks) ensured the re-integration of Sikhs and there is no such feeling today.

Yes, justice needs to be done. Ofcourse they also say, justice delayed...

Today, however, the risk is with Muslims being associated with terror and we are, I fear, again at the brink. Or am I wrong..

Vinod_Sharma said...

Indira Gandhi was responsible for many of the ills that plague India today. Though she had some sterling qualities, her paranoia about losing power led to her committing many blunders.

I cannot even presume to understand the grief of those who suffered in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 or of the relatives of those who were killed before and after that by militants in Punjab. Dark days, whose guilt we have to live with.

Let us pray that days like those are never seen anywhere in India, indeed the world, again.

Mai said...

Now that I am here, I don't know what to say. Perhaps that we were not lucky, rather we were blessed to have Canada to go to.

Thankyou for being open to personal growth and also for your kind mention.

Our blog has many purposes, and the main one is to educate people about what really happened to us Sikhs in 1984. So few are unwilling or unable to tell their stories, fewer still willing and able to write them.

God - by whatever name or by no name at all - bless us, each and every one.

Chardi kala!

How do we know said...

Exactly my feelings. Inexplicably, on her blog, mentioned Rahul Gandhi's apology for 1984, and i commented to say that he shld start by ensuring that the court cases are decided soon and justly. THAT would be an apology of sorts. :-)