The Wall Of Truth: SEHAR QAZI
November 1984 New Delhi Sikh Genocide Memorial
The premises of the Rakabganj Gurdwara near Parliament House in New Delhi, India, has been the scene of construction for quite some time now. The construction, which will soon be completed, is a memorial to the Sikhs killed in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms.
Once inaugurated, it will be the first such memorial in the country which continues to deny the nation-wide genocide.
Called 'The Wall of Truth', the memorial is a tribute to the innocent members of the Sikh community who were killed during the 1984 massacres in which over 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the country’s capital alone, following Indira Gandhi’s death on 31 October, 1984.
"He is my relative. He was also killed during the pogrom", says Inderjeet Singh pointing towards the wall.
The decision to construct the memorial in the first place was taken in 2013 after Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, one of those accused in the 1984 mass-murders, was acquitted by the court because he belonged to the ruling party.
"The wall is constructed in a zigzag manner giving a scene of narrow streets where Sikhs were slaughtered. The Wall of Truth with a white background depicts that truth prevails and justice is yet to come. Around 3,000 people were killed in the city and thousands of more names are coming not only from Delhi but also from all other parts of India," said Tanvant Singh, Chairman, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee.
The memorial also has four sculptures - Humanity, Equality, Humility and Tolerance - each having its own significance.
A huge fountain is also part of the memorial which will have laser lights that seemingly touch the sky. "Lights used in the fountain will go to a height that people can see outside, in remembrance of martyrs. We have also used anti-corrosive paint in steel, so this memorial will remain like this for approximately 300 years", says Tanvant Singh.
There are 3000 names currently engraved, including names of Indian soldiers who were killed as passengers in trains during the pogroms. The wall also has the names of two Hindus of Delhi and a Muslim woman from Kanpur who were killed by the perpetrators for their protection of Sikhs during the massacres.
"During the genocide, Ayesha Khatoon tried to save her neighbours and they killed her by slitting her throat," says Tanvant Singh of the Muslim woman from Kanpur who died trying to help her Sikh neighbours.
[Courtesy: Catch News. Edited for sikhchic.com]
Januaru 9, 2017
Conversation about this article
1: Harinder Singh (Punjab), January 09, 2017, 11:46 AM.
The Genocide was executed with the purpose to de-Sikhify India and occupy its throne. However Sikhs have resurrected themselves in every corner of the World and now have a Pan-Universe presence. Being the ultimate nation-builders, we will build Punjab in every nook and corner of the world and add to the prosperity of every nation we live in.
2: M Kaur (Canada), January 09, 2017, 3:32 PM.
Excellent. A small step towards writing our own story and ensuring that nothing will be forgotten. There should be similar monuments across the country wherever Sikhs were murdered during 1984 and the continuing pogroms through the 1980s and 90s.
3: Arjan Singh (USA), January 10, 2017, 11:40 PM.
No small feat. This is just the first step towards truth. The world must know what transpired not only in the year 1984 but also in the decade that followede, not only in New Delhi but all over the country. When tens of thousands of innocent Sikhs were murdered using the Indian Army and State level armed forces with tacit approval of the politicians at the Central Level and the Judiciary. This memorial has been aptly named 'genocide memorial' even though the entire Indian society would like to use the word 'riots' to misinform the world that somehow the victims of the pogroms had a share of the blame. It has taken about 32 years for this memorial to be built. The world community must keep working to bring the perpetrators to justice even if they die of natural causes, so that the truth is placed before the people of the world. It must be mentioned that the Indian armed forces and state level police and judiciary were actively involved in staging attacks in which some innocent Hindus were targeted. This was a shrewd move to place the blame on the Sikh community. The Hindu community was never targeted by the Sikhs involved in the resistance movement post-1984 in Punjab or outside Punjab.
4: Hardev Singh (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), January 11, 2017, 6:46 AM.
This monument is not only for remembrance of the innocent victims of state sponsored genocide, the kind faced under Aurangzeb and then under 'modern' India, but is an indictment to the conscience of the perpetrators, those in denial and those who would derail truth and justice. There is an inescapable Higher Court where all are answerable.
5: Arjan Singh (USA), January 12, 2017, 10:14 PM.
#1 Harinder ji, I agree that their long-term strategy is to eliminate Sikhism from the India and from within the Sikhs of India. To a larger extent the short term strategy has succeeded in India starting with 1984 (my observation is that in Punjab, Punjabi language has been replaced with Hindi in many households, turbans have been replaced with Bollywood style haircuts, superstitions have crept into the daily lives, control of Sikh shrines have slipped into the hands of turban-wearing Mahants, etc.) On the other hand, Sikhs around the world are flourishing. These Sikhs remember the atrocities and torture that they had to suffer and have access to free unbiased media/news. Therefore their awareness levels are much higher and they have succeeded in maintaining the Sikh values against all odds. M Kaur ji (above), logically similar monuments or plaques must be placed around India, where large-scale murders and violence took place. However, India is an illogical country with irrational citizenry. Even in Punjab to this day no prominent memorials or public ceremonies have been built or held to commemorate the thousands of young Sikh men and women who were either tortured or murdered in full view of the entire country under the illegal Emergency powers granted by the Government to the military and police forces. The onus is upon the Sikhs themselves to create such monuments/memorials so that the next generation does not forget the Genocide. And it must be done soon. Digital medium does not require permissions from a Government. A professionally designed online museum must be created to portray and depict the violence for the entire world to visit and see. The Sikh history museum at Anandpur Sahib has numerous life size paintings that depict the torture of various Sikhs suffering torture at the hands of the Mughals (very few people around the world can imagine humans being cut into pieces, roasted in a cauldron of boiling water, bricked into stone walls, etc.) We the Sikhs must tell our history to the world.