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I Remember…

The 1984 Genocide

Monday
,
31
October
2022

I Remember…

The 1984 Genocide

Monday
,
31
October
2022
Sikhism
Sikh Genocide
Remember 1984
⟵ Back to articles

I Remember…

The 1984 Genocide

Monday
,
31
October
2022

Genocide doesn’t happen in isolation. It is a combination of deep-seated hatred and racism. There are many who will deny the 1984 Genocide. But I remember…

Genocide doesn’t happen in isolation. It is a combination of deep-seated hatred and racism. There are many who will deny the 1984 Genocide. But I remember…

India has a mysterious hold on me.

It is not my birthplace,
But
It is in my being.

I hear the bell of Krishna;
I hear the call of Muhammad;
I hear the chant of Buddha;
I hear the Sabad of Nanak.

I have knelt on its soil;
I have kissed its ground.
I yearn
To be mingled with its dust.

The Genocide of 1984 shattered this love.
Instantly, I grew up.

On the 20th anniversary of the 1984 genocide, I began to write.
Tears flowed.
Many pages were filled.
The piece was finally finished.
Tears of gratitude flowed.
The healing happened.

I sent the poem to my family and friends.

Their response astounded me:
“Why are you going there?
What is the use?
Forget about it!”

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.
I felt that someone had stabbed me with a knife.
I sent it to many publications.
No one published it.

I died a thousand deaths during this process.
Every rejection was a stab.
Gurumustuk Singh from sikhnet.com was the brave one who agreed to publish my poem.
My voice had found a place.

They say:
Do not write;
Do not speak;
Forget about it.

If I agree,
Then
In my silence
Lies my guilt.

As long as I draw breath,
As long as there is strength within me,
I will write,
I will speak.
For, I remember.

I Remember…

The year is 1739.
Hindustan is in terror.
The cruelty of the Persians
Is felt by everyone.

Nadir Shah is in Delhi
Looting treasures and
Carting away twenty-two hundred Hindu women
For his private harem.

The news spreads like wildfire
Across the land.
Helplessness and confusion
Reign supreme.

Sardar Jassa Singh,
Commander of the Sikh army,
Hears of this atrocity and
Vows to take a stand.

The Sikhs are a minority.
The Persians have the upper hand.
Despite this disparity,
A midnight attack is planned.

The Persian camp is asleep.
The Sikhs wait in silence.
At the stroke of midnight,
They begin the attack.

Kirpans are in the air,
Catching the Persians off-guard.
The Sikh soldiers free the women
And bring them safely back.

In Hindu households,
Sighs of relief resound
As the women rush back
Into the arms of their loved ones.

There are Sikh casualties,
But there are no tears.
To uphold a woman’s honor,
Is the Sikh dharam-principle.

From that day on,
A pattern emerges:
The Sikhs strike at midnight,
To free the captured women.

Every night, the women prayed
For the safety of the Sikhs.
Mothers told their daughters,
“Trust only a Sikh.”

Hindu mothers, with love,
Made their first-born sons Sikhs.
A sacred trust existed
Between a Hindu and a Sikh.

Through the centuries,
This trust and love continued,
Until the forces of evil
Raised their ugly head.

The year is 1984.
The unthinkable happens:
Our Hindu brothers
Turn on us.

They raped Sikh women.
Their fathers, husbands,
Sons and brothers—
Butchered before the women’s eyes.

The country is in shell shock,
At the brutality of this massacre,
Yet, no voice arose
Against this massacre.

I ask my Hindu sisters:
“Where were you?
Did your hearts not bleed
At the rape of your sisters?”

Thirty-eight years have gone by.
The pain has not diminished.
There are no answers
To what happened in 1984.

To my Hindu sisters,
I have one request:
Tell your sons, husbands, and brothers,
About the sacrifices of the Sikhs.

To my Sikh brothers,
I need not remind you:
You are bound by Guru
To protect the weak.

No Sikh hand must rise
Against any woman.
Be she a Hindu or a Muslim,
She has the protection of a Sikh.

My Ardas:
Let the winds be gentle.
Let there be peace on this land.
Let this shattered trust
Be given a chance to grow.
But ask me not to forget,
For, I remember…

On this 38th anniversary of the Genocide of 1984, I reflect on the courage of the non-Sikhs who protected the Sikhs.
You are our unsung heroes.
I salute your bravery;
I salute your goodness;
I salute your morality.

But ask me not to forget,
For, I remember...

About the Artwork

Title: The Blaze
Size: 18x24
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Artist: Inni Kaur

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.

The Sikh Research Institute recognizes its ethical responsibility to promptly correct any factual small or large errors. Please get in touch with us via email to request a correction if you have identified a mistake.

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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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