1984

Guys. I live in North Carolina, right? The most Panjabi thing here is…me. We RARELY get Panjabi movies down here on dvd. We don’t even have Disco Singh yet. BUT TOMORROW. GUESS WHO’S DRIVING (5 hours) TO GO SEE 1984…IN AN ACTUAL THEATER????

 

YA GIRL. YA GIRL AND HER MOM. :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

 

That’s right. Diljit’s new movie 1984 is playing a few towns over, and me and my momma, who has become a huge Diljit fan, btw, are going to go see it. I can’t believe we’re actually able to see a Panjabi movie in theaters. AHHHHHHHHHH.

Okay, so real quick, 1984 is a film based on the true events of the Sikh genocide of the 1980s and 90s. Thousands of Sikhs were killed, robbed, and raped during this time, mainly at the hands of the Indian government. For the past 30 years, we’ve been silenced about it. At the time, India banned foreign journalists from entering the country, to prevent the rest of the world from seeing the atrocities India was committing. Even today, Sikhs are denied visas into India for speaking up about the genocide. Only recently has there been some aknowlegement of what happened to us at the time, while we have been reeling from it for decades. The fact that movies like this one are starting to come out is huge. It’s long past time for our story to be told.

So if you live in a random place like me, hope is not lost! If there’s a showing near me, there’s definetly a possiblity there’s one near you too. I encourage EVERYONE to go see it, Sikh or not, Panjabi or not, brown or not.

To see if it’s available near you:

http://www.fandango.com/punjab1984_174015/movieoverview

 

-M

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2 thoughts on “1984

  1. amandeepjawa says:

    So the question I’ve had for a long time is how many people died? The government says a couple of hundred, the Sikhs said thousands. Not to say the loss of any of these lives is OK or justifiable, but I’ve heard nothing reliable from either side. My guess is that it was somewhere between the two, not that such guesstimation is worth much.

    I’m also constantly surprised by the fact that my family in India seems *much* less upset about the events of the early 80s in India then the family here. Why is that the case?

    I’m not suggesting that the Gandhi government didn’t do something horrible & at the temple in 1984 or that the aftermath wasn’t a horror show, I just wonder if terms like “genocide” are accurate. I have to say I’m skeptical.

    • shadesofbrwn says:

      Good questions–

      You’re right–no one knows how many people actually died. There are some hints though, like how, after the attack on Harmandar Sahib, about 10,000 pairs of shoes were unclaimed. And that was just after that one attack–there were various other ones on different gurdwaras that happened the same day.

      Also, there was a man named Jaswant Singh Khalra, who was an average guy in India, who started looking into the dissapearances of two of his friends during the late 80’s and early 90’s. He ended up uncovering lists of 25,000 Sikhs who were killed by the government, from his district alone, while there are 36 total districts in Panjab. This is one of the lists he uncovered:http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20040730/nhrc1.htm
      You’ll notice that the dates of death go into the 1990s.
      He went to Canada to alert the international community about his findings. While there, he spoke at the Canadian parliament of research he had done in which he found that many killed where either young boys or young girls. Historically, the youth are targeted in genocide, to prevent the creation of the next generation of that people. Before Khalra returned to India, he received a message from the Indian government, which said, if you’re claiming we dissappeared 25,000, what’s it to us if that number is 25,001? Sure enough, when he went back to India, he dissapeared, and it was eventually found out that he was killed by the police. His killers went unprosecuted for 10 years. This speech by a Canadian MPP is really good and has a more info on his research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2lOCCm_E6U

      Here is a video of Khalra’s last speech–around 9 minutes in, he talkes about how he uncovered the 6,000+ who were either dissapeared and then killed, or simply killed in Amritsar alone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH-Q-lEBf8M

      And as for why people in India are less upset about this, I think it’s because they genuinely don’t know as much about it. India does a good job of keeping things quiet–during the 80s, they actually blocked foreign journalists and Amnesty International from entering Panjab. The makers of the movie I posted about, who are Indian Sikhs, said that even they didn’t know about the attacks until they were well into their adult lives, and actively researched them. Another sign that the Indian govenment is keeping it quiet is that they deny visas to Sikhs who fled India during the 80s, and to people who speak out against the attacks–http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/ontario-mpp-jagmeet-singh-denied-visa-to-visit-india/article19381180/

      I think if Sikhs in India, as well as non-Sikhs, had access to the same information that we have available here, they would be more upset. I actually have some family who were in Panjab at the time, and who were very badly hurt in an unprovoked physical attack, because they were Sikh…I’d have to ask their permission before I go into too much detail about it, but they told me some stories that are not only horrifying, but affirm that there was an attempt by the government to commit a mass killing of an entire people. Additionally, Gandhi carried out the attack on an important Gurpurab, and there were thousands of Sikhs pilgrims visiting Harmandar Sahib because of this. To me, this disproves that her goal was simply to eradicate “terrorists,” because she chose a date which would result in maximum casualties. Another sign that it was a genocide is that, while the army was there, they set fire to the Sikh Reference Library, which housed about 20,000 books on varying topics, including the history of Sikhs. As a genocide is the attempted elimination of a people, I think that burning original history books comprised entirely of the history of one people is a sign of an attempt to fully erase them.

      Something else you could look at too, if you’re interested, is a letter from Amnesty International to President Obama on this topic (in which, if nothing else, they aknowledge that the number killed was into the thousands):
      https://archive.org/stream/LetterOfAmnestyInternationalAddressedToBarakObamaRegardingNovember/AmnestyInternationalWritesToBarackObamaRegarding1984#page/n0/mode/2up Another thing from Amensty International aknowledging the number of casualties is in the thousands—in this article, they state, “Twenty-five years after the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in India, following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, the country’s government has failed to bring to justice those responsible.” http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/sikh-massacre-victims-await-justice-india-25-years-20090409

      Also, I know you didn’t really ask about this, but this video cleared up A LOT for me, so incase you have some of the same questions. It talks about the facts regarding the reason behind the ’84 attack on Harmandar Sahib, and how it really all started at the Partition of India–

      I’m really glad you asked these questions. I hope I don’t sound like an overly-rebellious youth. I used to be skeptical as well, but after researching more, I eventually came to the conclusion, like many others, that it was infact a genocide.

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