Every year around November, history is visited by some who commemorate the devastating anti-Sikh violence in Delhi and other northern cities of India in 1984, strongly insisting to never forget 1984, while others insist on forgetting and moving on from that dark chapter in post-independence Indian history. What are the ramifications of this tug-of war between memorialization and demanded forgetfulness of such historical blot? This discussion hopes to bring out the ethical imperatives that Sikhs as well non-Sikhs can and must adopt through a conscientious, empowered remembering. To simply erase violent history is also an act of violence that leads to erasure. We must re-investigate the mainstream history and its role in un-acknowledging the discourse of 1984; we must force ethical challenges to the willful abnegation and/or totalitarian evasion of our social history.
We will reflect on the enduring effects of Partition through a conversation with third-generation Partition descendants from India and Pakistan, who are also oral historians doing the work of memory.