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1984 Woke Me Up From A Deep Slumber

...To Play the Game of Love

Monday
,
2
June
2014

1984 Woke Me Up From A Deep Slumber

...To Play the Game of Love

Monday
,
2
June
2014
June 1984
Remember 1984
Sikh History
⟵ Back to articles

1984 Woke Me Up From A Deep Slumber

...To Play the Game of Love

Monday
,
2
June
2014

In this poignant reflection, Inni Kaur shares her awakening from a cultural Sikh to a deeply connected follower, driven by the pain and loss of June 1984.

Thirty years ago, the world witnessed a devastating assault on Darbar Sahib (The Golden Temple) and over 100 other gurduaras, collectively known as “Operation Blue Star.”


In this poignant reflection, Inni Kaur shares her awakening from a cultural Sikh to a deeply connected follower, driven by the pain and loss of June 1984. She explores the enduring impact of this genocide, the importance of remembrance, and the transformative power of embracing our history and the Guru's vision. Reflecting on these events, she invites us to unite, remember, and rise against injustice, embodying the spirit of a free and fearless Panth.

Thirty years have passed since the world’s fourth largest army marched into Darbar Sahib (The Golden Temple), Amritsar, in June 1984.

They called it Operation Blue Star.

We do ourselves a disservice by remembering it as Operation Blue Star. It was the name they gave to their misdeed to hide its monstrosity.

We know Darbar Sahib was not the only place that was attacked. Over 100 other gurduaras (Sikh places of learning and worship) were also simultaneously hit. And then there was what they so cleverly named “Operation Woodrose.”

This was a massive, well-planned, and well-executed onslaught.

This was an assault on Sikhs.

This was a move to crush the Sikh psyche.

This was intended to teach Sikhs a lesson.

This was The 1984 Holocaust

This was The Third Ghallughara

This was The Seventh Battle of Amritsar.

We all know what transpired to some extent, so I won’t go into those details.

But are we really sure what happened?

We know there was a total media blackout. All media, the pliant locals, and the independent foreigners were all forced out of Panjab.

We also know that the Government controlled the Indian media. Their propaganda was relentless, and the narrative, therefore, was one-sided. The perpetrators of this genocide did an excellent job of controlling what they wanted the world to know. They did it quite successfully.

But that is not what I want to talk to you about today.

This genocide touched the hearts and minds of Sikhs living across continents. I have met many individuals whose lives changed drastically after 1984.

Today, I want to share a story about a 27-year-old Sikh girl living in the United States. By all accounts, she was a Sikh, but I would call her a cultural Sikh—for she knew little of her faith.

But

When boots marched into Darbar Sahib

When tanks cannoned the sacred walls

When fires destroyed precious heritage

When the sarovar (pool) turned red

She woke up …

And she reclaimed her identity.

I am the girl in this story.

Sitting thousands of miles away, I felt every bullet. I experienced a profound, personal loss.

Puzzled and confused by my reactions, I turned within.

Why such pain?

After all, I was only a cultural Sikh.

Or was I?

Something within me had shifted. I woke up from a deep slumber.

I stopped cutting my hair and began to wear the kara.

And my journey began.

I delved into Sikh history. Before long, it became my history. I realized we’ve always been hunted; we’ve always had a price on our heads.

Why?

What is that they fear?

My history tells me we’ve never fought for territory.

We were no crusaders.

So why was there a price on a Sikh’s head?

I struggled for answers.

None made sense.

A thought occurred.

Maybe they fear what the Guru envisions.

A society of sovereign, azad – totally free people. Free economically, politically, and spiritually.

The Guru’s vision of a society:

Where no one is a slave

Where no one is exploited

Where no one is excluded from the bounty and joys of the Creator.

But for those who live off the slavery of others, who benefit from exploitation, they want to kill that spirit, that consciousness, that memory – the memory of the Gift that the Guru has bestowed.

Think about it. How does one control the masses?

By dividing them at every level — caste, gender, politically, economically, and spiritually.

But a united Panth – a One Panth as envisioned by the Guru — poses a formidable challenge to their greed and subjugation methods.

A Panth immersed in Nam is an entity to deal with.

For

Nam is a living, breathing Force.

Nam awakens.

Nam provides clear direction.

Nam is simran (Remembrance) in action.

Nam demands action.

Guru’s Nam is active. It is not the Nam of the yogis who sit on mountain tops, observing inequalities.

Guru’s Nam invites us to “Play the game of life with Love.” It instills courage to rise against injustice.

Maybe that was the reason why there was a price on the head of a Sikh, and maybe there is a price on my head, too.

During the 1980 period, every Amritdhari, nay, every Sikh, was considered a terrorist and therefore targeted. There are no accurate reports on how many innocent Sikhs — men, women, and children — were executed during this period. Charred bodies of Sikhs are still being discovered in shallow pits.

But we’ve seen this happen before. 25,000-30,000 Sikhs were killed in the First Gallughara, and 7,000 + were killed in the Second Ghallughara.

But we’re still here, stronger than before.

Many have tried their best to silence us.

Guess what?

Our voices have gotten stronger … much to their dismay.

We are still here – stronger and firmer than before.

I often get asked the question, what should I do? I am just one individual.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know.

Each one of us is wired differently. Therefore, our responses are different.

What I can suggest is:

Know your history and heritage. Don’t go by just one account; search for answers for yourself. Connect the links and dots.

Secondly, get to know the Guru and establish a relationship. This is how you will become mentally strong, totally free, and absolutely inspired.

And when you reach this state of mind, your responses will be Guru-oriented. You’ll fear none and begin to march to a different tune, for your inspiration comes from the Guru.

The Guru clears all doubts. And when doubts are cleared, your purpose and your mission will crystallize. Your responses will be closer to the vision of the Gurus of One Panth – a formidable force.

Darbar Sahib is the heartbeat of every Sikh. It took the blood, sweat, and tears of multiple generations of Sikhs to build it, defend it, rebuild it, and, when destroyed by the enemy, rebuild it.

Every generation of Sikhs will do the same.

You now know my story.

I am a product of 1984.

It has shaped my life.

It has shaped my identity.

There is a saying that time is a great healer, and to a certain extent, the saying is right.

The once intense pain is now a dull ache. Self-reflections have taken place.

My personal reflection: I am more determined than ever to keep the memory of those who were massacred in 1984 alive. They did not die in vain! Their memory lives in me, through me …

1984 is in my DNA.

I will not forget.

With Gurus’ Grace, I have learned to accept.

But Forget 1984? Never.

My question to you —

Has the genocide of 1984 changed you?

If so, what have you done?

Reflect.

Remember, this happened to us.

We are one – One Panth.

What happens to one – happens to all.

In this unity lies our strength, and this is what creates fear in the minds of those who thrive on oppressing and subjugating others.

We fear none, and none should fear us. But whenever there is injustice, we will rise – for that is our commitment to the Guru.

Revised:

This Content has been made available for educational purposes only. SikhRI does not make any representation concerning the completeness of the Content. This Content is not intended to substitute research or a deeper understanding of the topic. SikhRI encourages readers to read multiple authors to gain a complete understanding of the topic.

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Written By

Creative Director

Inni Kaur is Creative Director at the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI). She has served SikhRI in several capacities since 2010, including Chair of the Board, and most recently as CEO. 

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