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1984 1984 Survivors Colony

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1984 & I:
    A Survivors' Colony in Chandigarh


    by NIRUPAMA DUTT

    Source: sikhchic.com | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Article Detail



    [​IMG]
    All images below: details from photo by Mertn James



    This year, 2009, marks the 25th Anniversary of 1984, when horrendous crimes were committed against the Sikhs in the very land of their origin. To commemorate this sad milestone, we at sikhchic.com have asked our regular columnists, as well as our contributors and readers, to share with us the impact 1984 has had on their lives. We have requested personal stories and anecdotes, as well as an attempt to capture their inner thoughts and deepest ruminations on what 1984 means to each one of them and their loved ones - without going into a litany of facts and figures or a listing of the injustices to date, all of which will invariably be covered with due diligence elsewhere. We intend to present these personal perspectives to you throughout the twelve months of 2009. The following is the sixteenth in the series entitled "1984 & I".

    A large oil paining of a tall and handsome Sikh dominates Lakhbir Kaur's modest sitting room in Kumbra village in Mohali, near Chandigarh, Punjab.

    "I found a small black-and-white one of my father in a relative's album and my husband got a friend of his to make this painting."

    Recalls Lakhbir: "It s the day after Indira Gandhi's assassination. We were sitting in our home in Delhi's Sultanpuri watching television when the mobs started the rampage. Our Muslim neighbours immediately gave us shelter and advised my father to cut his hair and beard. My father, Deedar Singh, after retiring from the army was working as a security guard in a private company. Since he was also the Congress President of Sultanpuri, he believed he was safe. Both my brothers were out and he went to look for them. He asked us to stay with the neighbours and said he would return shortly. We never saw him again, not even his remains."

    Lakhbir herself never went back home because there was no home left - everything was burnt down.

    "My mother was one of seven sisters ... and six of them, living in different parts of Delhi, were widowed. Several of my cousins were killed. From our neighbours' home we moved to the camp and from there to a gurdwara in Mohali," she reminisces.

    She was only 16 then. "It was difficult for a young fatherless girl to survive without protection so I was married off that very month. My first daughter was born the next year."

    Today, this mother of three (two daughters and a son) still breaks down recalling that period. "The scars will always remain but with the support of my husband we have nurtured a sense of love rather than hate in our children," she says.

    Sharing similar stories of terror and loss are Kashmir Kaur and Ravindar Kaur, who fled the Indian capital during the riots and sought security in Punjab. They too have rebuilt their broken lives in a spirit of camaraderie and affection and are making significant contributions to society in different ways.

    To make ends meet these riot-affected women did whatever they could, from tailoring clothes to making pickles, from setting up small shops to doing voluntary work in gurdwaras. Although critical of the politicisation of the carnage, they express gratitude to those who helped save their lives.

    Kasmir Kaur's is a rare story of courage. She is president of the ‘Riot Victims Welfare Society' in Mohali and a member of the general council of Akali Dal Badal. This strong woman of 55, who is at the forefront of political rallies and protests, breaks down while recounting the massacre she witnessed in her trans-Yamuna colony of Bhajanpura. She, like Lakhbir, is indebted to her neighbours.

    "We will be ever grateful to our Hindu neighbours who helped save our lives. My husband, Pritam Singh, along with others, was hidden in a locked room and women sat on the terrace with stones and red chilli powder. My 12-year-old son's hair was tied into two plaits and a neighbour lent her daughter's frock for him to wear," she says.

    When the mobs threatened to burn down the neighbour's house, Pritam came out of hiding. It was decided to gather as many Sikhs from the neigbourhood as possible, pile them into trucks and move them to a safer place.

    "We managed to reach the Nanaksar Gurdwara by the Yamuna Bridge even though three attempts to attack us were made en route. We survived, but those who could not get into the trucks were killed," she says.

    Later, following instructions from the gurdwara, Pritam went back to Bhajanpura to round up the orphaned children. He had to make his way through the burnt bodies of the neighbours to do this. He also saw that their house had been completely ransacked.

    "The shock was so great that when he returned, he suffered a stroke. Since then he has remained in poor health," says Kashmir.

    All that Kashmir and Pritam found in their home was a bed and they loaded it in a truck and headed for Ludhiana, to be with relatives. But that arrangement didn't work out. So, they moved to a gurdwara in Chandigarh's Sector 15 and then social workers in Mohali helped them secure a Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) one-bedroom low-income group flat.

    "I sold the bed for Rs 150 (US $3), bought a stove and few provisions and moved here," she says.

    "Settling them here was not easy. PUDA and the government would regularly send eviction orders. But my uncle, Arjun Singh Shergill, and other social workers saw to it that we rehabilitate these people and as many as 704 homes were allotted to riot victims," says Tejinder Singh Shergill, Chairman, Riot Victims Welfare Society.

    Visit this colony, which now has the nomenclature of Riot Victims Colony in Mohali's Phase XI, and one finds a ghetto of sorts where many are still struggling to survive.

    It was here that I met Ravindar Kaur. Daughter of a sevadar (employee) in Bala Sahib gurdwara near Ashram in Delhi, she had been married for six months when the pogroms happened.

    "My husband and I had come to my parents home. I had stayed home but my parents and husband had gone to attend a party and they were killed," says Ravindar.

    Her husband's family, holding her responsible for the death of their son, turned her out. Later, she got married to Amarjit Singh, who had lost his wife and son to the violence. Today, Amarjit is close to 70 and jobless. The couple has a married daughter and son, who is a special child. Although poor, Ravindar is respected in the colony, as she is an active volunteer in the local gurdwara.

    "People have always come to our aid but the old age pension of the government has yet to reach our home," she sighs.

    Says Kashmir, "Some political elements try to inflame sentiments of the people but we try and pacify them. The Society follows up the cases of genuine victims and helps those living below the poverty line."

    But she says that doing this is not always easy and there have been instances where actual victims never got compensation, while the fake ones managed to get flats.

    After being bed-ridden for the past 25 years, Gurcharan Singh, 42, passed away last month in Balongi village near Chandigarh. He had been thrown into a burning vehicle outside his house in Delhi's Nawada colony during the riots. He never got any compensation and was being looked after his elder brother's wife.

    On March 11 last year, he had deposed before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) revealing that a prominent Congress leader was with the crowds, inciting people to wipe out the Sikhs. Incidentally, this leader has once again been given a ticket for the elections.

    "Such things hurt our sentiments. We got no justice and little or no compensation from the government. However, we continue to have faith in humanity because of the kindness people from different communities, whether Muslims or Hindus or Sikhs, have shown us," says Kashmir.

    [Courtesy: Women's Feature Service]
    April 5, 2009
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Koorr fireh pardhaan ve Lalo...
    TRUTH..JUSTICE..are just empty words
    Nothing could be emptier if this is what we can hope for in the Worlds biggest "DEMOcrazy"
    will there ever be justice fair play....?:}--}:
     
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  4. kds1980

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    Sikhs are considered as rich community but still sikhs failed to rehabilitate the survivors of 1984 riots.What a shame on entire community .One should also ask Gurdwara authorites whether fund was collected for survivors in India or abroad if yes then where it has gone
     
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  5. Archived_member7

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    Our guys with funds will want to get a memorial for bhindranwale erected ..they have crores for such a project ..ask them to spend the same in rehabilation of those who suffered due to that crazy man ...they won't .

    I had seen documentries on African civil wars and use to wonder a man almost like a skeleton with ribs clearly seen would be rushing around with an ak 47 .these guys had money to buy weapons but not to eat food ..crazy world isnt it ?
     
  6. deepsingh87

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    Our guys with funds will want to get a memorial for bhindranwale erected ..they have crores for such a project ..ask them to spend the same in rehabilation of those who suffered due to that crazy man ...they won't .
    just wondering why are calling jarnail singh a "crazy man"
     
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    deepsingh ji

    The place of jarnail ji in Sikh history is one of those things that divides the community this way and that. It would be better if our choice of words was more temperate and less emotional. I tend to empathize with you -- I think, that there is no need to call a person "crazy." One can still express an opinion without polarizing a large group of people who do not agree. :)
     
  8. pk70

    pk70
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    Sat Jarnail Singh ji was a man of character and very honest and devoted Sikh. Indian so called Mata Indra played game with him. Once he was backed by her to negate Akalis. She wanted him to dance to her finger but he refused. She was advised to take him out once for all to teach a lesson to Sikhs with so macho Military of India( what a pity on a country!). Attack was chosen on a day when a lot of people go to Harminder Sahib every year. Why? Think about it!!!!!!
    Why a month’s notice was not given? Why power and other supply was not cut off to trigger defeat eventually? Was country in serious threat? Come on. Why just Military attack became necessary? Analyze, couldn’t that situation be resolved other way. Was it a valid option for a country that boasts about peace in the world? . A big joke. Indians do not understand the meaning of democracy in the first place, still slave mentality is well practiced everywhere in the Govt quarters. As they say the British rulers left but their created mentality is well alive. After the blue star, a campaign was started to portrait Sant Jarnail Singh as terrorist just as they portrait Nehru and Ganghi as angels. Eventually truth comes out. Sant was never a threat to so big military of India. All what happened in Punjab was not occurred under his command. In the villages, one or two families of Brahamins were living, not a single Hindu was killed. After his death, youth lost guidance and was easily misled and defeated by brutal tactics and propaganda. Who has read informatory articles by Hindu journalists; know that all was created Mata of India named Indra Gandhi and her advisors. She ruled under Emergency like dictator, shouldn’t we call her terrorist?
    Blaming Sant Jarnail Singh for everything also shows how people close their eyes to see the truth that alone sweeps away one’s sense of fairness. I wish he was a politician! If he was, history would have been different
    Blaming game of India has brought tragedies in India, wait, there will be more if they do not think about uniting the country, there will be more such tragedies because blaming game works negatively.
    Taking care of 84 victims was responsibility of the center not the Punjab Govt, nobody is pointing finger that them, funny, isn’t it?
    As a Sikh I blame the Sikh community too, hoping from sold leaders anything is a sheer stupidity.
     
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  9. pk70

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    Exactly, Sikh community is not only forgetting Guru Message of compassion but also falling into " getting name in head lines" even for charity purposes, supporting poor 84-victims together may not bring individual "name in to head lines"
    Srimani Gurdawara Parbandhik committee and Sikh leaders are sold, they keep using Guru ghar money for their own agendas but their lower consciousness doesn't even think about 84-victims.:(
     
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  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    The SGPC Budget for 2009 just passed amounts to...
    450 KROR Rupees...about 100Million USD
    .....

    The Untold KRORS....that go to SANTS/BABAS/DERAS/Radha Soamis/Sacha Sauda/NoorMehliah Asutosh.... etc etc..are many many Many times THAT figure....just imagine the Collossal Amount of COMMUNITY FUNDS Going down the SEWER !!

    The Community doesnt have any decent FREE Hopsitals...NO Free Universities...NO Free SCHOOLS...
    NO Unemployment assitance to unemployed...NO CHARITIES....NO DECENT NEWSPAPERS...NO TV Channels for Parchaar....

    Compare to GURUS PERIOD....TOWNS being BUILT and developed..Kartarpur..Khadoor Sahib...Goindwaal...AMRITSAR....ANANDPUR SAHIB....
    BAOLIS...SAROVARS...KHOOS/WELLS as big as Chherta Sahib - able to run six persian wheels..
    Guru HarKrishan Ji in Delhi tendign to the Epidemic of Smallpox....etc etc...
     
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  11. prabhsmart

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    We should stop giving a huge amount of money in gurudware, rather than that start paying the fees of poor sikh boys and girls, providing them with food and other things like books, clothes. if an individual is intellegent but poor we can form a grp and take care of his education.
    Lets begins such activities in ur neighbour hood, giving some one an turban u don't wear can also help. many cut there hairs because they r too poor to buy food, how can they have a piece of cloth on there heads.
     
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  12. prabhsmart

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    I know a family in ur neighbour hood. the head of the family drunks a lot, the mother does small work like making langar for someone at his place during functions for some amount. she has 2 boys and a girl. the boy was able to get a job at one sikhs factory. the committe members forced that sikh to remove him for nothing. the person even said that he is the most honest and hard working person in my factory, but they won't listen to him and forced him to remove that boy. his small brother performs sewa with me and my grp, i have been told 'n' number of times to remove himas his father drinks, my strong stand that if he goes that will rest of us, saves him always. both the brothers r good and loves to do sewa.
    I remembered i gave all of my boys, chopai sahib books and told them to read it every day, after a week when i was asking whether every one has started reading or not, he suprised me by reading hlaf of it with seeing the book. i took more than 2 months to memorie it.

    But when i am not there what will they do to him.

    Ur gurudware committtes r suppose to help poor and unfortunate persons and not make there lives more difficult, and then we cry when sikhs are going away from sikhee. our gurudwares r controled by fools though there r exceptions.
     
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  13. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Exactly said Prabhsmart Jio.
    I have been preaching and doing that for the past 5 decades of my life.
    A Dollar into the Goluck is a Dollar wasted....a Rumallah is a bigger waste...
    Use the Dollar to buy a poor child a Book...shoes...school uniform..pay his/her fees...
    Use the money for a Rumallah..to feed a family... rations to the poor...
    CHARITY begins in your own NEIGHBOURHOOD.
    SIKHS as we know are a PROUD PEOPLE...no Sikh likes to BEG....and also we are a Community of Rumour Mongers..CHUGLEEKHORS as well....thats why no GENUINELY POOR SIKH will ever dare to approach the Gurdwara for any help.."what will others think ??" ACTIVELY search out such NEEDY SIKHS..and HELP them "secretly" so that NO one knows..except GOD....Your Left hand shoudlnt know what your Right hand is doing....MY Life long mission in my own area...gives TOP CLASS satsifaction...and total ANONYMITY...compared to the "big time Danees..donators who announce thier names in each Ardass at the Gurdawra....where donating ?? (DONATING !! who are they kidding ??)
    1.25 is announced as BEAANT MAYA ARDASS KARAYEE !!! Khazaneh Bharpoor Karneh..Lok Parlok wich Parrdeh Dhhaknneh...the Creator must be really "super duper DUMBO" to these people...give him 1.25 cents and ask millions in return ??:inca::D shameless..isnt HE really already giving you everything free already ??..a Healthy body..FREE....kidney replacement.. ??? cost of op?? Heart Transplant..Liver replacement..Bone broken..Knee changing..Dialysis..medicines..????/ HEALTH _ FREE FROM GOD !!:crazy:
     
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  14. lotus lion

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    Hi,

    Like quite a few Brothers and Sisters here, I was a young child when this happened and could not make heads or tails of it initially.

    I could not understand why this had happened and it was only until I got older, Say early 20's, that I began researching into it.

    It was quite saddening to discover the political motivations behind this, but it was no where near as saddening to see the state of The Sikhs who were at the forefront and had suffered the most, even after so many years.

    Please look into how Sikhs generally handled 2 events that were inextricably linked:

    1) The desecration of the Harmandir Sahib Complex.
    2) The destruction of Sikh lives.

    For the former (1), Powerful speeches in the Gurdwarae, Halls, venues etc... People coming and knocking on your door asking for donations, no issues at all collecting for it.
    There was a feeling of camaradery if you will, to get the Harmandir Sahib built up as soon as possible. If you have torn it down, we will put it back up.

    Fast-forward 25 years after and you would never have known that the Harmandir Sahib had been attacked and is in the past so to speak and we are getting on with our lives.

    For the Later though (2), No speeches that I can remember, hardly anyone coming to collect specifically on their behalf, and a sense of it was their "Karma" that this had happened to them so we want nothing to do with them.

    Fast-forward 25 years also and i feel that we have begun to develop a complex of some sort with regard to this issue, some would argue a victim mentality, making an identity out of it. It is in at the forefront of our mind but not in a good way as we are stuck there and no one is actually getting any benefit from it.

    I am not the sort of person to lay blame at anyone’s door step, but I cannot help feel that our apparent "Leaders" should have done more, a lot more.

    A Brother has already posted that the SGPC alone make $100 Million Dollars a year.
    Please note this is this is only the figure that they are declaring.
    Where does it go, what do we do we do with it, have there been any solid projects to help our women children and brothers?

    I am afraid to say that as far as I am aware we have squandered our money away and have left Sikhs to suffer.

    We should be well passed this now. It should be a distant memory at best as we should have regrouped, solidified and brought everyone up. We were supposed to come out of this stronger.

    I would like to say that no doubt I have offended someone, but please do your best to look beyond the words and see what they convey.

    Support Sikhi,

    Lotus Lion
     
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  15. pk70

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  16. deepsingh87

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  17. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    DASWANDH..YES. Its a MUST. Only 90% of our income is OURS. We have absolutely NO CLAIM to the remainder 10%.

    Then..we must pause..ponder...and use our mind. AAkllen Sahib Seveah..AAKLEEN KEECHEH DAAN commands the GURU.

    The GOLUCKS in Gurdwaras are now being misused. The GOLUCK is not the GREEB DA MOOHN anymore as Guru Ji intended. The Kheesah of the GURU has been raided by the ORRUPT.

    Closing one eye..saying things like..aappan nu keeh..apeh GURU wekh layega..( Why we care/worry GURU himself will punish the wrongdoer) is RUNNING AWAY from our RESPONSIBILITY. ITS OUR DASWANDH..why should we leave it to the "GURU" to worry about ?? Guru gave us the Aakl...to judge !!
    SEE the NEEDY and help them. Period.

    Now adays even the "RATION" instead of CASH (for guru ka langgar) is NOT a safe way either. Rations are also SOLD and Misappropriated. Just look at how the Rations are misused for badals Political Rallies...Langgar rations are being SOLICITED for Guru ramdass langgar Amrtisar..in far away places as Delhi !! The SANT BABAS who collect sacks of wheat and alloos etc in the Villages also sell them off for cash !! The Shardhaloos/innocents continue to GIVE even when times are Hard for their families...misplaced shardha.:D
     
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  18. Archived_member7

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    i wish we had Dswandh deductions like tAX every year !
     

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