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August 15, 2012

1984 - And we screwed up well.......

I am a Punjabi. And a proud one at that. I am not nationalistic but being a Punjabi does give me a feeling that here is a culture that did well enough these last two thousand years. Did well in defending and in being creative. As I like to put it, we are fast forward creative sorts, never had the time to be relaxed due to the anxieties that perhaps crept into our lives. So everything we did had to be fast and mobile, our arts are rapid, dances are energetic, romance is robust, literature is direct, poems cut through and of course, as the popular conception goes, we are strong, at heart and sinew.

But we committed a crime. And as a kid who was small in those years, too small to figure out, but as one who grew up listening to bits and pieces of that violence, I accept that we did a crime. A crime of being active or passive participants of the 1984 act of pogrom that destroyed our very sense of being Punjabi and instead divided us into Hindus and Sikhs.

Ohh... what a farce it was... the riots. We who lived together as one blood lost everything in three days of October, all for what. These riots rankles me ever so often, these riots that divided us. Even if a Sikh comes up and says that he has achieved closure, I can't say that I have. There is no closure in me, for what some who profess to be Hindus did to the closest community that Hindus live with in the country and across the world.

The farce that killed and divided Punjabis forever. Now I am Hindu Punjabi and how it rankles. I live three thousand kilometres from Punjab and have never lived there, maybe will never live there. Yet, everyday the one thought that crosses my mind, the one thought that has left a permanent scar on all Punjabis is when will closure come. When will the sardars get their due. Why do they not ask for it more. Why do we not ask for the perpetrators to be screwed. If Israel can do it for 60 years, why can't we go and catch them just 18 years after......

I also see a violent movement ahead. The call for varied Sikhs to remember 1984 is subtly leading to latent extremism, one that is being channelised by the internet. One where it is easy to see what burning tires can do to the human skin, or having one's hair cut off or the salwar torn off. And this increases as one sits in his cubicle in some office surrounded by friends who don't know the anguish within. What will he do... Does he have a right to ask for closure or can he become a rebel and then be branded a terrorist..........

This country needs to answer the 1984 ka question....