As I watch some of these crazy guys in their flying machines in Perth this weekend, I am thinking of the anniversary of the amazingly hideous murders of thousands and thousands of Sikhs in India in 1984.
Many people don't even know of what took place and much of the truth has been diluted due to the government's role in the killings. I have known of the Sikh holocaust but only recently learned more of the details, of the horrors and of the great numbers involved through meeting Mai in the blogosphere. Mai was there in 1984 (visiting from Canada) and many of her Sikh family were murdered.
They were a brave group and fought back, Mai succeeding in killing one of their attackers by cutting his throat, but most of those with her did not survive including her husband and son (who would be 36 now if he'd lived, only a couple years older than me) and her twin girls which she was pregnant with at the time. Mai nearly died herself due to her injuries.
Here are some excerpts from an article "Remembering the November 1984 holocaust of the Sikh minority in India" - which you can also read in full on Mai's blog:
Wednesday 31st of October 2007
Dr. Amarjit Singh, Khalistan Affairs Center
Remembering the November 1984 holocaust of the Sikh minority in India in which state-supervised evil exercise over ten thousand innocent Sikh men women and children were murdered
A tutorial for the post 1984 young Sikh generation
Washington DC: - The world’s twenty five million Sikhs (of whom three million live FREE all over the world in the Sikh diaspora) will today grind their teeth, shed a tear and whisper a silent prayer on the 23rd anniversary of the 1984 country-wide mass killings of over ten thousand innocent Sikh men, women and children whose lives were extinguished in a state-supervised pogrom... bent on taking revenge on the small innocent Sikh minority for the assassination, on 31 October 1984, of his mother, the evil incarnate, Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
For four days and nights (31 October to 3 November 1984) the killing, pillaging and arson against the innocent Sikh minority continued in Delhi (and other towns in India) without the police, the civil administration, the Army and the Union & State governments lifting a finger in admonishment.
...In one of the numerous such incidents, a woman was gang-raped in front of her 17-year-old son; before leaving, the Hindu marauders torched the boy.
...By the morning of 1 November 1984, organized Hindu mobs, shouting Congress party slogans, had started running amok in South, East and West Delhi. They were armed with shot guns, iron rods and carried old tires and jerry cans filled with kerosene and petrol.
Some of these thugs went around on scooters and motorcycles, marking Sikh houses and business establishments with chalk for easy identification. They had been provided with electoral rolls by the ruling Congress party to make the task easier. ...By early evening, the killing, loot and rape began in right earnest.
Scores of Sikh families were killed over November 1 and 2: most of them were dispatched by putting burning tires around theirs necks. Even as stray dogs gorged on rotting entrails of murdered Sikhs, gutters were clogged with charred corpses and wailing women, clutching children too frightened to cry, fled baying Hindu mobs armed with shot guns, knives, iron rods, staves and gallons of kerosene.
...The expedient means of setting houses ablaze was used to get at Sikh families who had taken refuge on the roofs of their homes. Entire Sikh families were thus roasted alive.
Meanwhile, state-owned All India Radio and Doordarshan kept on broadcasting blood-curdling slogans of “Khoon ka badla khoon se len`gay” (we shall avenge blood with blood) raised by Congress party workers seeking revenge from innocents over the killing of Prime Minister India Gandhi by two of her bodyguards who happened to be Sikhs. The killings continued with the active abetment and open encouragement of the police and civil administrators.
...The slaughter was not limited to Delhi alone. Sikh men, women and children were murdered, and their properties burnt, in ... many other towns and cities across India. ...There has never been any effort to compute the death toll in these places, during those four dark days, but the most conservative all-India estimates have placed it at over 10,000 Sikh men, women and children murdered. When there were demands for a judicial inquiry ...the then Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, for obvious reasons, stonewalled these demands.
I have seen some terrible images of the people who were burnt alive and others who were butchered. (Have only linked to the images in case some of you aren't feeling up to it.)
It is somewhat traumatic to be reminded of what humans can do to each other. But for the suffering of what happened to thousands of people and the continued heartache of their families that think of them every day, and especially at this time of year, it is worthwhile for our thoughts and hearts to be with them so they know they are not quite as alone as they may feel.
My love to Mai who has a difficult time when this anniversary comes around. xo
The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority. - Ralph W. Sockman