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1984 Living History - 1984 Living History
  • Dr. S Kaur

    In this interview, we notice the coming of age of the childhood trauma of 1984. Dr. S. Kaur (*Blurred face by request*) recounts being the child of a serviceman; the confusion of hearing about the attack of June; watching and facing discrimination in school, including being told by her Principal, “I will take revenge on you”. She explains how there are so many memories she subconsciously blocked out because she didn’t want to face discrimination. She had stopped using Kaur […]

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  • Amarjit Singh

    Amarjit Singh living in Edmonton, Canada and 19 years old in June 1984. He was in high school at the time of the attack. He talks about Canadian media covering the attack extensively, however with bias, and showing that the Sikh community was divided: moderates against extremists. “This is totally false. I tried to explain [to fellow students] that this was a fight by the Sikhs to be recognized as a distinctive religion,” he says. “Political autonomy and recognition as […]

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  • Kulbir Singh

    A businessman and member of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) in Delhi, Kulbir Singh found himself at the center of the events that unfolded in 1984. In June, just a few months after he had personally met with Bhindranwale in Amritsar, Singh was inside Bangla Sahib when he heard shots fired outside the gurdwara. On the day of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, unaware that it was her Sikh bodyguards that had fired at her, Singh was on a train […]

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  • Ashok Singh Bagrian

    “How was this planned? It cannot have been a spontaneous reaction.” In this testimony filled with keen insight into the most important and unanswered questions, Ashok Singh Bagrian explains how in November 1984, he traveled to Delhi with his sister-in-law and an NGO, trying to find the truth. What all the investigations revealed was that the modus operandi of the massacres across India was identical in cities everywhere: the same hired thugs led by chawdries, the same backets of kerosene, […]

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  • Deepi Kaur

    Today my teenage son is interested in 1984, reads about it, and we talk about it…I am unafraid,” Deepi Kaur told the 1984 Living History team during this compelling interview. In Preet Vihar, New Delhi, teenager Deepi Kaur, saw the family’s gas station on fire as hundreds gathered for blood. Then, came the yell. Her Chachaji (uncle) was threatening to throw a gas cylinder into the crowd, into the flames—if they were to die, they would ensure the murderers would […]

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  • Harrup Kaur

    “I remember we went to Darbar Sahib a few years later…You’re going up the marble steps and then suddenly you pick your face, and the cool wind blows…and I didn’t realize I had been crying.” Dr. Harrup Kaur was only nine years old during the massacres of 1984, but they shaped her identity in the years that followed. At protests in Vancouver, Canada, she too would pick up the megaphone and shout, resonating with the pain of her elders. As […]

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  • Satpal Singh

    Satpal Singh was 33 years old, teaching at Guru Nanak Dev University in June 1984. He remembers how loud noises would build up in one direction, followed by a big explosion, and then peoples’ screams. His 4-year-old son was sick that week, and needed medicine. Against the tight curfew, his wife and he hoped there would be more safety if the young family traveled the deserted roads of Amritsar together. Still, they were faced with Indian Army guns pointed at their heads, […]

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  • Ranbir Singh Sandhu

    Dr. Sandhu recounts his reaction of disbelief to the news that Sikhs were behind the assassinated Indira Gandhi and holds even today: “I really believe that they didn’t do it.” Regardless, he says, “First they ‘taught Sikhs a lesson’ in June but apparently that wasn’t enough, they wanted to do it all over the country now.” Now famed for his book “Struggle for Justice: Speeches and Conversations of Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale,” Dr. Ranbir Singh Sandhu had no idea […]

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  • Uma Chakravarti

    “Maam, go and put on a sari (a student said)… because they thought that if I was wearing a salwar kameez I might get (hurt).” “I was outraged at the comment, because I thought this was some strange way into which you were going to divide yourself into those who are potential targets of attack… and those who are not.” A Professor of History in Miranda House, Delhi University, in 1984, Uma Chakravarti recounts how rumblings of violence began to […]

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  • T Sher Singh

    A Toronto, Canada Sikh involved in media, law and policy, T. Sher Singh had a front-seat view into what he explains as a relentless misinformation campaign—including an instance where a government communiqué was sent to the Canadian government describing the Nishaan Sahib [Sikh flag] as a terrorist flag—as well as what he explains as the initiation of Sikh institution-building in the diaspora. He describes critical community empowerment despite the odds: “…The fact that 1984 happened, we [Sikhs] dealt with massive […]

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  • Ajeet Caur

    In Athens for her daughter Arpana Caur’s European Art Tour, Ajeet Caurrushed home in June 1984 after hearing about the Indian Army attacks. She felt personally attacked, a feeling which only grew manifold as this iconic Punjabi writer first-hand witnessed the violence of November 1984. The attackers even knew which individual taxis were operated by Sikh drivers and in a parking structure only cars owned by Sikhs were burned. Caur estimates a 6 month planning period for such precision. In […]

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  • Dalip Singh Bhatia

    Many survivors of the 1984 violence felt discrimination from within the Sikh community, after being victimized by state violence. In this important account, Mr. Dalip Singh Bhatia recounts appalling caste discrimination as he fled to Punjab after facing violence in Uttar Pradesh in November 1984. “We had never know there was any different between one Sikh and another,” he says of the heightened divisions in the community post 1984. He recalls the destruction by the violence in 84. Shops his […]

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