Arun Nehru and Lalit Suri

I thought I knew all the major players in the ‘organized’ 1984 Sikh riots.

I was wrong.

Hartosh Singh Bal’s Caravan article uncovered these two gentlemen – one a Gandhi extended family hawk, the other a hotelier.

Gathering feedback on possible ‘war games’ is one thing:

“As one of the few Sikhs in a senior position in the government—even though I was clean-shaven, he wanted to know my views,” Gill said, his back ramrod-straight. “He wanted to know how the community would react. It was not the first time he had spoken to me about Punjab, and he made no bones about his views. I remember him once telling me, with some pride, that he was a hawk. I told him such a move would be a blunder. Given the history of the Sikhs it would result in assassinations, and I remember using the plural.”

Talking coldly about a 3-day sanctioned plan about to be executed is quite another.

The mention of Nehru led Gill to relate his personal experience of the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s death. On 1 November, he went to his office. “Lalit Suri of Lalit Hotels, who used to come and see me often, dropped by. He was the errand boy for Rajiv Gandhi, and since he often needed some work done, he was close to me. He came to me in the ministry and said, ‘Clearance has been given by Arun Nehru for the killings in Delhi and the killings have started. The strategy is to catch Sikh youth, fling a tyre over their heads, douse them with kerosene and set them on fire. This will calm the anger of the Hindus.’”

Suri, Gill continued, “told me that I should be careful even though my name is not on the voters’ list, the Delhi gurdwara voters’ list. ‘They have been provided this list. This will last for three days. It has started today; it will end on the third.’”

 

Postcards from Bokaro

nilanjan_book_cover_amzn_inA reunion in Dallas (circa 2006).

An email to a Yahoo alumni group on March 10, 2010 that triggered an outpouring of memories. Memories of grief, sadness, bravery and an innocence lost.

Two and a half years later (on the 28th anniversary of the riots), I posted the first-person accounts of  Jasbinder, Sunil and Priti on this blog.

Last year brought a different inflection point. Journalist and author Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, who was researching his book on the 1984 riots, stumbled upon my blog and contacted me. We spoke. I connected him to Jasbinder and Priti. Nilanjan made a trip to Bokaro and met, among a host of Sikhs to connect the dots, another classmate (Chandrima).

Last week, Nilanjan’s book (Sikhs: The Untold Agony of 1984) was released. Postcards from Bokaro (which is Chapter 7) features a few blurbs on my efforts to get the stories out and, of course, Sunil/Jasbinder/Priti’s tales.

Excerpts from the book..

Since Harmeet had had no direct links with the violence of 1984, she was drawn to public protests as a form of “atonement” for her parents’ escape. Her parents also looked the other way because they had borne the burden of being safe for three decades whenever there were discussions within the community. Their daughter’s act, they felt, would finally enable them to become part of the collective.

To my sister and me (and possibly thousands of Bokaro kids), it was a Stephen King’s It moment (a peaceful Derry shattered by an ugliness and brutality we couldn’t imagine was present in our idyllic town).

I followed by dad scared about his life and thinking I have the strength to save him. Thinking back, I would say it was god’s will and strength that we never looked back and thought twice about what would happen to us.

 

Manmohan Singh’s shambolic apology for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots

In Dec 2012, Firstpost’s Editor-in-chief R. Jagannathan (@thejaggi on Twitter) wrote an incisive piece titled Maya, Modi and the art of the unapologetic apology. It caught my attention this morning when I read an analysis about the British Premier David Cameron’s ‘apology’ for Jallianwala Bagh massacre. I quote the Manmohan Singh section below – the reprehensible parts are underlined by me.

A variant of the second full apology is the one offered by Manmohan Singh on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. Here the apology sounds real and sincere, but it is offered on behalf of someone else. It is also forced by events.

Manmohan Singh’s 2005 apology for the anti-Sikh riots — in which Congress goons killed more than 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi and elsewhere after Indira Gandhi’s assassination — was applauded by the world of a great example of official contrition. But what did Singh actually say on 11 August 2005 in Parliament that sounded so sincere?

Here are some of his key sentences and phrases.

While calling the assassination of Indira Gandhi a “great national tragedy”, he added, “’what happened subsequently was equally shameful.” (Note: What happened cannot apparently be mentioned clearly. And the killing of 3,000-and-odd Sikhs was just “equally shameful” as the killing of the PM.)

Singh’s apology came after the GT Nanavati Commission named several Congress leaders as complicit in the killings, and it seemed as if BJP and Akali politicians will make political capital out of it to put Congress on the mat. So he said: “I have no hesitation in apologising to the Sikh community. I apologise not only to the Sikh community, but to the whole Indian nation because what took place in 1984 is the negation of the concept of nationhood enshrined in our Constitution.”

But why did Singh apologise for something done by Rajiv Gandhi’s government, of which he wasn’t even a part? Was there any apology from the Gandhi family, since it was Rajiv Gandhi who justified the violence claiming that when a big tree falls, the earth shakes. And during the post-assassination election campaign, Rajiv Gandhi used anti-Sikh sentiment to harvest Hindu votes — in worse ways than what Narendra Modi did after Godhra in 2002.

The upshot of this apology? The nation lost its appetite in demanding justice for Sikhs killed in 1984.

 

Remembering 1984 Sikh Riots in Bokaro: The Police?

India’s famous top cop Julio Ribeiro wrote this Bal Thackeray opinion piece in DNA yesterday. Good revealing stuff about his interactions with the SS chief. The following paragraph stood out in bold 24-point font:

On the day Mrs Gandhi was assassinated, I had publicly ordered my men to open fire if Sikhs were attacked. Balasaheb wanted to know if I had the authority to issue such instructions. I had to educate him on the meaning of the English word “if” before he regained his composure.

Now we know why Bombay didn’t go through any anti-Sikh riots. It’s also obvious that the police leadership in Bokaro in those crucial days of 1984 was lacking (to put it mildly). Were they muzzled by the Congress leaders? Or also complicit?

**************

this post will be continued after I do some research on police (in)action

**************

Remembering 1984 Sikh Riots in Bokaro: Priti’s Story

[Personal Note: Over two years ago, I sent an email on our alumni mailing list desperately seeking answers on the ghastly and shameful 1984 Sikh riots in Bokaro. The tales started pouring in – survivors close calls, heroism from a classmate’s father, Congress leaders leading mobs, a school becoming an army protected enclave, a classmate’s resolve to join the Army.  In this (third) story of an ongoing remembrance series, my classmate and friend (Priti Haneja) writes about her ordeal, reminds us about the historical context of the latter day Sikh gurus, and shares some pearls of wisdom. Part 1 was Jasbinder’s tale and Part 2 was a heroic tale of Sunil’s father staring down a blood thirsty mob and saving a Sikh family from almost certain death.]

Dear Janaki, Vishy…

Sorry for writing so late in this thread due to certain circumstances. My due apologies to the whole group.

You make me come back to this group. Its touching to see that people not so directly affected had concerns with this ghastly affair what many would have thought long lost forgotten…

This whole episode lies like an unbelieveable episode in my memories…

My bit of the experience :

By the 1st Nov….when news started filtering about rioting in Bokaro… our concerned neighbours would barge in every half and hour so .. to make us go to the Sector 1 police station where they felt we would be better off … So finally my father gave in and everybody in my family went to Sector 1 police station leaving me behind in our front street neighbor and friend ‘Inspector of Factories house ‘ (or Bihar Sarkar as we called it ) …a kind of mini IAS officer. That was, as they felt was in the best interest of me. Unfortunately uncle, the Inspector of factories was on tour leaving behind his wife and 2 daughters. So for the next two days as news of more and more riots and killings started filtering in, I couldn’t do anything except remain holed up in a room, worrying about my family and everybody else concerned. Situations like these bring up different behavior in different people . A common friend of the people I was staying with would come in the house whenever possible shouting in Hindi, ”Bhabhi .. making this girl stay in your house is putting yourself on risk…Get her out!” He was true in his way of caring for the family but with some awareness for my feelings and state at that time, he could have at least said it quietly to Aunty.

Anyway those two days seemed more of a hell with no news of my family but horrible news coming from everywhere including the TV. I had also made up my mind to go to my family wherever they were. And as I remember now I landed up in our School which was being termed as the ‘Camp’.

And of course it felt like a new life to be with my family there again.

The mob never managed to reach our area, perhaps due to the brave act of Sunil Singh’s father and family. I had never heard of this episode before, but thanks to all the inputs in this forum, I get this valuable piece of information. So many ghastly stories are coming back now which I kept hearing in the ‘Camp’ and later in our relatives and friends circle. But a neighbor coming and bravely protecting some victims, never ..

The middle school campus was turned into the ‘Camp’. We slept on the bare floor, maybe with a chadar on it. Somehow I could not eat the camp food , that much I remember properly .. I survived on whatever little things that came from outside ..much like a beggar ….. It was heartening to see Fr. McNamara and Fr. Paul Horren overseeing all the arrangements. I think we stayed there for 6-8 days. One day they brought all dead bodies and laid them on the Middle School assembly ground for identification by their families… All I knew I didn’t look out of the window but laid half buried on the floor for nearly all day.

I also got a surprise visit from Nanda and Rajnish who braved the curfew relaxation hours to come and just give some words of reassurance. Boys and girls hardly used to talk to each other much that time and it felt really nice to see them. I thank them again for coming that time.

I was just doing Google search on this issue ….more than 4000 people killed in a matter of one and a half days all over India. It was rather an organized crime….

As I have been writing this, so many issues come up. How did the Hindu-Sikh divide come up to be in such fanatical terms? My one third of the family is Punjabi Hindus and before Partition in Pakistan Punjab, every Hindu family decided to have one son as a Sardar.

The whole Sikh race had to come up as an answer to militancy and forced conversion and killings during the time of Aurangzeb. So many Sikh gurus gave up their life. It was the need of the hour to create a militant, strong , honest race to face and stop the continuous onslaught. If our culture is still alive, it is with tremendous gratitude to the work done by the Sikh gurus especially Guru Arjan Dev ji and Guru Teg Bahadurji who sacrificed their lives.

I write all this not because this is ‘my religion’ …… but just to emphasise on certain historical facts so that there is feeling of gratitude and oneness… India is a land of continuous search and tremendous depth in spirituality .. it will continuously give rise to these ‘religions’ as we may like to call it – Buddhism, Jainsm, Sikhism … from the parent traditions of rishis, Upanishads … first they were never really meant to be strong demarcated religions … just some strong spiritual traditions or practices by the enlightened ones to help people awaken themselves. It is after many many years that people form religions out of them and fight for them and lose their real meaning or perhaps it is an influence from outside India where there has been strong demarcated religions and the British are culprit in causing tensions between them.

The Sikhs have never been cunning, sincere to the core and simple …….then why are they subjected to so much ridicule ? Sardar jokes and sometimes just plain straight on-the-face ridiculing which I have seen my father sometimes going through.

Lets leave the Indira Gandhi and Sikh militancy problem. I really don’t know how it started and how it took epic proportions. Mrs. Gandhi’s leadership was admirable and there is a speculation that Dhawan, her private secretary and some others part of the coterie had decided to lay this plot to finish her off.

My whole family is from Pakistan. During partition (in one day), from rich landlords they became homeless beggars….When I go to Punjab, I often hear stories of how so many of my relations in the initial days of migration to India – they even sold toffees in trains! Now they have come up again with hard work tremendously.

Somewhere we have taken their hardships and history for granted. Or maybe everybody else’s in the history who have taken the difficulties.

In terms of the present categorization of low IQ and high IQ, what is the need of the this so called high IQ when it doesn’t know how to show the right courage at the right time. The right wisdom at the right time. There is mind, heart and soul. A community in general decides to live more with the heart … and the heart is no way inferior to the mind.

I stop here. Thanks for going through all this. It is not out of any reaction or anger I write this….but a certain emphasis on facts so that we make our coming generations much more intelligent and to appreciate India with some of its core spiritual values against the dominant background of Western education.

With regards to all,

Priti.

 

Remembering 1984 Sikh Riots in Bokaro: A Heroic Tale

[Personal Note: Yesterday was the 28th anniversary of the ghastly and shameful 1984 Sikh riots. Besides Delhi and Kanpur, Bokaro (where I spent the first 15 years of my life) was among the worst affected in the riots. Over two years ago, I sent an email on our alumni mailing list desperately seeking answers. The tales started pouring in – survivors close calls, heroism from a classmate’s father, Congress leaders leading mobs, a school becoming an army protected enclave, a classmate’s resolve to join the Army.. As Part 2 of the remembrance series, reproduced below are two first person accounts from my classmates Jayant Chaudhary and Sunil Singh. The accounts relate to the same heroic tale — of Sunil’s father staring down a blood thirsty mob and saving a Sikh family from almost certain death. Part 1 was Jasbinder’s tale.]

Jayant’s recollection…

My recollection of the 1984 riots is quite vivid. We woke up on 1 November, and the air was heavy with foreboding. Having heard about Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination all day the day before, it was clear to everyone that something bad was going to happen. The big shock was to find out it happened in Bokaro, which had not had any communal violence in all the time we had lived there, or that we knew of.

At about 9 am, we began to see smoke rising from several places in the city. My brother and I went up on our roof, and it was obvious things were seriously wrong. From that vantage point, we could see all the way to Cooperative Colony and Chas, and it appeared that new fires were being set even as we watched. These were the first riots we had ever seen, and it hit us then that, near those fires, innocent people were probably being butchered. I don’t want to make it seem like we suffered, because obviously the victims of the violence and the people who really suffered were Sikhs, but it was an extremely scary realization.

About 100 meters from our house was the house of a Sikh family. They had two teenagers, a boy and a girl. Their house was locked up, with a big lock on the front door. They must have been smart and left during the night, we said. It was a relief, because we certainly didn’t want anything to happen to them.

At about 10 am, we saw a crowd gathering in front of their house. One fact became apparent at this time. All of the people in this crowd were unfamiliar, which took some doing in a small place like Bokaro. This lends credence to the theory I have often heard, that political parties brought people in to organize these riots. The other fact that was clear was that these people were probably told they could take what they wanted from Sikh houses without fear, because that is why they had congregated in front of our neighbour’s house.

Some of them banged on the front door. Others milled about on the family’s small lawn. Suddenly, we saw the family’s Standard car, parked outside, burst into flames. Things were rapidly getting very ugly.

Then, a group of them went over to the back door of the house, and began pulling it open. In a few minutes, they had managed to break it open, and about 20 of them disappeared inside. Almost immediately, we heard a female screaming from inside, and we realized with some shock that the family had been hiding inside all this while! I cannot describe how helpless I felt at that moment, because I fully expected all of the members of that family to be killed.

Suddenly, almost everybody who had gone into the back door came running out. We heard a very loud, dull thud, and then the last man stumbled out, and started running like his life depended on it. He was followed very closely by the lady of the family under attack, who had a hockey stick in her hands. She proceeded to whack a couple of other, slower men with the stick – that thud was the sound of the stick hitting their backs – and then stood out there, screaming at them, and guarding her house. I had only heard about how ferocious a ‘Sikhni’ could be, but there she was, a small, slightly overweight woman, standing between the mob and her family like a tigress!

The cowards making up the mob began to regroup, realizing they had just lost face. Every time I think of them, it brings to mind all the TV programs I have ever seen about hyenas, who attack only when they are in a group. The rest of the family had come out as well, and they were standing there, waiting for the worst. In the meantime, some people had started shouting about how they were going to avenge Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination by killing everyone in this family. Others started throwing things at the family, and still others began to advance, while the family tried to retreat into their house. It was a nightmare unfolding before our eyes, because all of us realized that this was it. Regardless of how brave the family was, simple numbers dictated that the mob would overpower and kill them within minutes.

You know how, in the movies, when something like this is unwinding, a hero comes and saves the day? Well, something like that happened that day. Sunil Singh’s father, a gentleman if I ever saw one, and easily one of the bravest men I have had the honour of knowing, walked into the mob and told them to stop attacking women and children immediately. Just like that! And the really strange thing was, that was all it took. Yes, some of them shouted back that Mrs. Gandhi was a woman, too, but he shut them. Emboldened by his example, others in the area also approached the mob to intervene. Sunil’s father then asked the family to come to his house, which was only a couple of hundred meters away, and I understand they went there and then to the camp at Xavier’s. After things calmed down, they came back to their house.

I am thankful that things ended well for that family because of the bravery of Sunil’s father. I don’t know if he was ever recognized formally for what he did, but he should have been. In today’s TV-dominated age, he would have been on every TV program as a hero, and justifiably so.

Jayant

From Sunil’s vantage point..

Jayant,
Thanks for remembering my dad’s small contribution. It was indeed a sad day in the history of India.

Vishy,
thank you for bringing this to the forum.

Jasbinder and all my Sikh friends,
Before I write about this incident , I need to tell you that , I have always thought why even after 25 years , the Indian government has not apologized to the Sikhs. They should.  It has always been at the back of my mind and I sincerely apologize on behalf of all of us.

The memory of everything that happened is still with me and haunts me once in a while. I will tell you why …

It was around 10 in the morning and little cloudy. Schools were closed and the news was coming in about the riots breaking in Bokaro. My uncle was DSP Bokaro area and he stopped at our place to warn us  not to venture out. Remember my house at that time had no TV so we depended on our small Panasonic radio for the news. We started to see black smoke coming out of different parts of Bokaro, specially the Chas area. Then around 11 am we heard curfew has been imposed in some areas of Bokaro. Scared of getting caught by police 😉 , I stayed inside , but my two adventurous brothers went to the rooftop and came down running  around noon saying they could see the smoke close by in other areas.

I stayed indoor as we had dad’s friend come in and I was helping mom get lunch ready to serve . Dad was in the house talking to his friend and we were listening to the news . Sujit my younger brother was still outside. Around 1:00 pm he came running in and told my dad that “Sardar Uncle’s” house is being attacked.

My dad in his typical Dhoti and Ganji got off the couch and walked outside. I was behind him and we could see the crowd and Gill Uncle’s car on fire. Mrs Roy , our math teacher who lived above on the third floor ,was pouring water but couple of buckets were no match to the flames as high as 10-15 ft.  There were about 100 plus people in the crowd. I followed my dad scared about his life and thinking I have the strength to save him. Thinking back , I would say it was god’s will and strength that we never looked back and thought twice about what would happen to us.

As we reached closer we could see the crowd breaking window panes and setting fire to inside of the house. There was a loud noise coming from behind the house as if someone is trying to break the back door .
My dad walked into the crowd and he confronted this young kid who was leading the crowd and told him to stop doing it. He used all the filthy words he had in his dictionary including the mother #$@…. word. My dad listened and warned him not to do it and walked away. I was behind my dad and whenever I remember this , I am unable to sleep.

While all this was happening we could see people break into the house from the back door and start coming out of utensils and other household stuff. The house was on fire but we thought it does not matter as we were sure there is no one inside since the house was locked from outside. Then all of a sudden we saw Gill Aunty come out of the back door with a sword in her hand and screaming at the top of her voice as if this is her last chance to save her family. She came running out and  chased away some of the attackers and then headed towards me as I was close to the back fence. My dad and I shouted and made her aware of our presence and told her to get inside. My dad dragged her inside but we could hear the crowd chanting “maro maro”. My dad stood with brave face outside between the crowd and the house.

Five minutes later the cops showed up and people started running. My dad handed over the family to the cops and we left…….. ..

Army did flag march and months passed and thing became normal. Gill Uncle one day came to our house and thanked my dad.We became family friends. Tasted flavor of Punjab. All of you know how good it is. Aunty stood by our side and made sure we tasted everything she had specially made for us …I guess her only way to thank us.

My dad would have got bravery award for what he did , but something we got that no award can match…..

It was Rakhi and someone showed at our door……. Sorry! Jaineet  I don’t know where you are , but hope you are safe and living without fear.

Jai Hind

Sunil

After reading Sunil’s and Jayant’s accounts, Jasbinder has more to add…

Sunil–What do I say and where do I start. I do remember Gill aunty talking about this incident with my mom in the camp. Sobbing uncontrollably she said  ‘Ouh insaan nahin si, Rabb si’, loosely translated ‘he was not a person, he was God’.  Till yesterday I did not know that the God she was refering to was your dad. So ‘ThankYou Vishi’, for starting this thread.
Most of us live our lives waiting for a chance to be a hero and ‘do something’ for someone. Your dad lived that moment. God Bless his Soul. Wherever the Gill family is today, I am sure they will be remembering uncle in their prayers. Someday when I talk to my kids about this incident, I will be talking to them about you and your dad. About how an ordinary man did an extraordinary deed.
Next story in this series – Priti’s story.

 

Remembering 1984 Sikh Riots in Bokaro: Jasbinder’s Tale

[Personal Note: Yesterday was the 28th anniversary of the ghastly and shameful 1984 Sikh riots. Besides Delhi and Kanpur, Bokaro (where I spent the first 15 years of my life) was among the worst affected in the riots. Over two years ago, I sent an email on our alumni mailing list desperately seeking answers. The tales started pouring in – survivors close calls, heroism from a classmate’s father, Congress leaders leading mobs, a school becoming an army protected enclave, a classmate’s resolve to join the Army.. Reproduced below is the email I sent and the first survivor tale from our classmate and dear friend – Jasbinder. Read it with care because it’s not just about surviving the horror, it’s also about compassion. Will be posting more stories in this remembrance series — as soon as I obtain permission from my other friends.]

My original email..

Sent: Wed, March 10, 2010 11:28:40 AM
Dear All,
I’ve been meaning to write this email for.. well almost since I joined the group. It always bothered me that our idyllic town of Bokaro was the scene of one of the worst Sikh killings in the ’84 riots (per all the news I read over the years  – 2nd only to Delhi). So many questions..
What was that ugliness in Bokaro that we never saw until the riots? Was it just that the goons were better organized? Were the local Congress politicians particularly more bloodthirsty to prove their loyalty to the Gandhi dynasty? What???
When Bhaskar, Shekhar, Nanda & I had a reunion in Dallas ~4 yrs ago, Shekhar told me part of the stories.. How all the Sikh families sought refuge in the school.. the tanks guarding them.. Sikh boys & men cutting their hair…how the attack on Ittu/Bittu’s (used to live opposite Shekhar’s house) house was repelled – thankfully they had a gun in the house.
How did the Sikhs in our batch & their families fare during this ordeal? I have wondered so many times what that dear friend of ours (Manpreet) went through? And Jasbinder’s family? And how it affected the rest of their lives..
Today I read the following story & I couldn’t postpone asking my questions any longer..
Please share your thoughts friends.
Vishy
Jasbinder’s tale…
Sent: Wed, March 10, 2010 7:59:30 PM

Hi Vishi,This event changed our lives forever. I was visiting Bokaro (I was already in a Chandigarh college hostel and the college was on strike) and was scheduled to return on the 4th of Nov. When news broke out on Nov. 1st about riots beginning in Co-op Colony and sector 9, we left for the house of one of our family friends in just the clothes we were in. Stayed in their house during the day, but when goons started knocking on their door, the police came and escorted us to a make-shift camp in the city-centre clinic in sector 1. We spent the night with other sikh families in fear of the camp being attacked.In the morning I saw Father McNamara and some other jesuits outside the camp with our school buses. They had come to escort all the families to the school under army supervision. They opened the school doors and their hearts for every family who was there and made sure they were there everday asking what more they could do to help. We stayed there for the next 10-12 days. In the meanwhile came to know that our home had been broken into and every thing had been taken. A local congress politician with a gun in hand was seen by the neighbors directing the mob to kill and loot. Luckily we had escaped. Dave uncle (Manisha’ s Dad) had come in the evening to take us to his home and he saw this guy directing people to take everything and run.

Father Mcnamara and other school teachers were always there. Helping everyone. The classrooms were converted into hostel dorms. Food was delivered by our family friends and Dad’s colleague’s. I remember the steaming idlis from Rao uncle’s (Pratibha’ s dad) home everyday as they lived directly opposite the school and my dad and uncle had worked together. We felt lucky and very very blessed to be alive and our family together as some of our family friends were either killed or had lost a child as the riots raged for 3 days till curfew was imposed in Bokaro and the army took over.

We came back to an empty home, but were taken care of by the neighbors and family friends. I only cried because I had lost most of my school pics and memories. Anyways, my mom started having nightnares and by the end of  Nov. my mom, brother and sister accompanied me to Chandigarh– never to return to Bokaro (although I did visit in ’89 and then in ’93, but mom refused to come back). Dad continued with his job thinking he could take a transfer but that somehow did not happen. So for the next 15 years he visited us twice a year in Chandigarh.

My brother and sis joined Xaviers, Chandigarh but believe me it wasn’t anywhere close to our school. Life was ok except we were living in those times when terrorism was at its peak in Punjab. So curfew being clamped on the city was a way of life. There was no life after 6.00p.m. Nobody ventured outdoors after 6.00p.m, and if you did you did not return.

The only good that came out for me personally was that I got to grow up with my cousins and extended family members. But no complaints. Whatever happens, happens for the best. We  came out alive and here I was 25 years later at the school reunion.

Life is fine, but when I hear about riots in any part of India, I just pray because it reminds me of friends who lost their family members that day in 1984 and for them life was were never the same again.

Wish and Pray that no innocent person has to pay a price for someone’s  madness.

–Jasbinder

Next in the remembrance series – A heroic tale.