An Indian Civilizational Perspective

1984 Memories: 25 years back it all happened

Sikh Widow.jpgToday is October 31st. In 1984, Indira Gandhi died.. killed by her Sikh bodyguards. That was 25 years back. After that what happened was absolute mayhem in Delhi.

Groups of people with weapons and arms went from one house to another, from one shop to another pulling men, kids and women – young and elderly – killing, burning and massacring all. It was a very bad time when even the distinguished among the Sikhs were not safe. Almost 4000 people died by unofficial figures.

Two Sikhs were given Capital Punishment for the murder – Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. Beant Singh was directly involved but Satwant Singh wasn’t. At least there was no conclusive evidence except for circumstantial evidence. Despite the objections, Satwant was also hanged to death.

In all these years, all that has been forgotten. And that all has been but forgotten is a tribute to the Sikh / Punjabi grit and never say die attitude. After all those incidents Sikhs again emerged as the most prosperous community in India.

I wanted to touch base with people across the range to see what they remembered of those days and what lessons we can learn from that time.

Interestingly, one thing was common, unlike other incidents of this proportion and type, the neighbors helped other neighbors. Although, some mischievous minds tried to color those events as “Hindu-Sikh” riots, it has subsequently been termed as Anti-Sikh riots. Sadly they were not Riots! They were massacres. Riots denote two parties fighting. Sikhs hardly even fought. And it was a massacre by One Political Party of One Religious Group.

From tomorrow, we will bring one experience sharing at a time. They are from eyes and minds of different people – and will cover wide range of opinion. That’s how should be seen. We have a lot of lessons to learn in our country. Maybe we all can pitch in with our thoughts on how we can avoid such events in future.

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2 Comments
  1. Rahul Saxena says

    I had gone through yr all the three noteson 1981 riots. I recall that we had a friend Cheema during NDRI days, who was doing M.Sc. there. I left NDRI in June 81 and when we left we had a very good parting get together. Cheema was a good singer n a Harphanmolla type Sardar, who loved cracking jokes on Sardars. In Nov I came to know that he was burnt… Read More alive in Panipat on highway itself.
    I consider these riots as a bad patch on Indian Hisory of Hindu Sikh brotherhood. How those people forgot that Sikhs were in fact armed branch of Hindus to fight intruders.
    Bust astonishingly and shamefully, the culprits have not been booked till date.

  2. Rahul Saxena says

    I had gone through yr all the three noteson 1981 riots. I recall that we had a friend Cheema during NDRI days, who was doing M.Sc. there. I left NDRI in June 81 and when we left we had a very good parting get together. Cheema was a good singer n a Harphanmolla type Sardar, who loved cracking jokes on Sardars. In Nov I came to know that he was burnt… Read More alive in Panipat on highway itself.
    I consider these riots as a bad patch on Indian Hisory of Hindu Sikh brotherhood. How those people forgot that Sikhs were in fact armed branch of Hindus to fight intruders.
    Bust astonishingly and shamefully, the culprits have not been booked till date.

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