The SikhRI design team embraced the poignant task of crafting a logo for the 40th commemoration of 1984. My guidance to them was clear: the logo should echo the darkness, the shadows, our unwavering spirit, the pursuit of justice, the depth of faith, and the interconnectedness in creation. No matter the adversities, we shall not only endure but flourish.
As the team unveiled their design, my eyes welled with emotion. They had encapsulated the essence of our message. Inspired by this emblem, the subsequent piece unfolded…
In the sacred whispers of time, the resonances of 1984 endured, a haunting symphony that sought to silence the heartbeat of the Sikhs. Yet, within the rich tapestry of Sikhi, solace emerged, for in the resilience of our faith and principles, the eternal flame of Sikhi continued its luminous journey — akin to a celestial fire refusing to be extinguished.
The semicolon, a quill gracefully suspended mid-breath, guides my contemplation. It is the ink of continuity in the grand narrative of existence, a punctuation mark chosen when the author refuses to conclude the sentence, much like the pause in meditation where the breath lingers between inhalation and exhalation. And so, in the play of symbols, this logo weaves the tale of Sikh resilience, a narrative unyielding to the imposed finality of 1984. The light that emanates from the Sikhs, a beacon untouched by temporal constraints, paints an ethereal tableau, whispering of the unwavering strength nestled within the bosom of Sikhi, akin to the eternal flame in a sacred sanctuary.
Within the intricate design, the 1984 pillar, bold and brooding, stands sentinel within the embrace of the number 4, reminiscent of a monolithic shrine bearing the weight of collective memories. It is a manifestation of oppressive shadows that sought to stifle the Sikh narrative, casting a darkness that mirrors the pain and suffering etched into our collective memory. Yet, time, a gentle alchemist, has softened the edges of this anguish, though it lingers as an indelible thread woven into the fabric of our journey. The scattered highlights, like drops of ambrosial dew, tell of a gradual lifting — a metamorphosis achieved through the sacred alchemy of faith, remembrance, justice, resilience, and the balm of collective healing, akin to the transformative power of sacred practices.
Behold the outer contours of the 4, a Kirpan (instrument of grace) gracefully enfolding the narrative of Sikh faith and principles. It is a testament to the steadfastness that defied the genocidal tempest and weathered the storms of generational oppression, reminiscent of a divine sword guarding the sanctity of a sacred shrine. The sweeping line, an arc of triumph, connects the 4 and the 0, tracing the resilience that moved through the fires of genocide and the subsequent years, like the sacred journey of a divine presence in celebration. The flowing shape of the 0, an ever-expanding cosmic circle, mirrors the infinite 1Ness that breathes life into Sikhi. This unending melody transcends the temporal confines of 40 years, akin to the eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth in the cosmic symphony.
In the sacred geometry of this logo, I find not just a commemoration of the four decades since 1984 but a luminous beacon that beckons toward a future bathed in the hues of faith, strength, justice, and unity. It is a sacred journey, an exploration of truths that transcend the boundaries of time, an invitation to immerse oneself in the eternal river of Sikhi's wisdom, like a pilgrimage towards the IkOankar, the One, the Eternal, the Divine.
1 Ghallughara, a Sikh term from the 18th century, denotes large-scale massacres and battles involving significant Sikh casualties, encompassing both non-combatants killed by opposing forces and those fighting back. While terms like massacre or genocide capture some aspects, they do not fully convey their meaning. Historically used for campaigns in 1746 (Chhotta Ghallugara) and a 1762 battle (Vadda Ghallughara), it now refers to events in June and November 1984, known as the Tija (third) Ghallughara or Charausi de Ghallughare (the Ghallugharas of 1984). Smaller massacres like the 1921 Nankana Sahib Massacre or the 1978 Amritsar Massacre are termed Saka, reserving Ghallughara for more monumental events, such as the June Ghallughara involving non-combatant pilgrims, Dharam Yudh Morcha activists, and fighters defending Harimandar Sahib Complex against the Indian army.