Halloween & Indiro, GURI KAUR
The Wicked Witch of the East
The following letter was first published on Halloween 2009, as the 52nd piece in the series entitled "1984 & I".
October 5, 2009
Dear Editor Uncle ji:
I am 13 years old and a regular reader of sikhchic.com. I enjoy it very much. It helps me in many of my class projects.
This year is the 25th anniversary of 1984 and I want to share this with others who also read sikhchic.com, and with all Sikh children around the world.
A few years ago, my two sisters, brother and I started to celebrate Halloween in a special way. We live in a small town near Boston. It has now become very popular not only among my cousins but also my class-mates in my school, and also in my Sunday school at our gurdwara.
During one of our holidays in India, we had seen how Hindus remember Ravan every year. Legend says that he did bad things to a Hindu king and his family, and therefore, they burn his effigy every year during a festival, even though thousands of years have gone by.
Just as they haven't forgotten the evil Ravan did thousands of years ago, so should we remember forever the deeds committed by Indira Gandhi
The Indian festival was a lot of fun. So, we decided to have a fun reason of our own for celebrating Halloween. Isn't this how all traditions start?
Since Indira Gandhi died on Halloween Day, 1984, as a punishment for all the terrible things she did, we believe she was turned by the gods and goddesses of India into Indiro, the Wicked Witch of the East. She now forever roams around in the dark of the night, riding her broom, looking for Sikhs to apologize to.
But on Halloween night, she specially comes up to the surface from the hell below, and she can be seen and heard hiding and cackling in the trees, if you look very close.
We now commemorate the victory of good over evil in marking Indiro's annual journey from hell and back to hell every Halloween by making Indro masks and dressing up like her - the Wicked Witch of the East - and haunting the neighbourhood.
I must confess it generates a lot of sweets for us in our neighbourhood. And we have a lot of fun explaining who we are dressed up as, and why.
I want to share this with you in case others would like to join in on this growing tradition of celebrating Halloween by shoo-ing Indro back to her dark cave every year.
After that, we wash up and go to the gurdwara late at night to pray for the innocent people who were killed in 1984 so that they can all rest in peace in heaven.
Thank you. A Happy Halloween to everybody!
TO VIEW THE VIDEO, JHULLI INDIRO, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
[First published on October 22, 2009. Re-published on October 29, 2015]
Conversation about this article
1: Ajitpal Singh (Meerut, India), October 22, 2009, 9:46 AM.
From the mouth of babes ... !!
2: I.J. Singh (New York, U.S.A.), October 22, 2009, 2:23 PM.
Excellent. May the wicked witch Indro ride her broomstick for ever and ever.
3: Rosy (Bramalea, Ontario, Canada), October 22, 2009, 4:05 PM.
Hi, Guri. Thank you for suggesting this. I and my friends will make Indro masks this weekend and go out on Halloween night as the Wicked Witch of the East. I'll let my friends in school know about this idea as well.
4: Hardy Singh (Indiana, U.S.A.), October 31, 2009, 1:11 PM.
I and my friends are going to dress up like Indro the Witch tonight. We are all dressing up differently. My baby sister is wrapping herself in a sari. My older sister is calling herself 'Indro Jhalli'. I am going as a tree ... I have to chase Indro and keep falling on her. Happy Halloween, everyone!
5: Nimrit (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), November 01, 2009, 1:22 AM.
Indro si mintaan kardi, bahan si kharian kardi, kehar na gujari ve, bhul gai mein jacket pauni goli na mari ve. Beant Singh pistol bhar ke, chhaati vich goli jarh ke, chhadya jaikara si, jaan ton vadh ke sanu Harmandar pyara si.
6: Hardy Singh (Dubai), August 01, 2010, 12:03 PM.
Lol @ indro's pic!
7: Jaskirat Singh (Gurgaon, India), October 31, 2010, 1:30 AM.
8: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), October 25, 2011, 1:42 PM.
The first person to actually recognize publicly that this silly but dangerous woman was 'horrid' (almost 'witch-like!) was Jackie Kennedy ... almost 50 years ago! The actual tape recording is online and it is even featured on Indian news channels.
9: Arvinder (U.S.A.), October 25, 2011, 2:43 PM.
President Nixon was right too, Baldev Singh ji, when he called her a 'witch'. Frankly speaking, I did like her before 1984 but her misdeeds and the way she has ruined India's democracy and divided the whole country on the basis of religious intolerance - she deserved no mercy.
10: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), October 25, 2011, 5:29 PM.
Please note we have a Prime Minister in India who is a Sikh - 'secular' and 'political', as required by his job, and the most respected 'politician' on earth! What a turnaround from a 'witch' to a political and economic wizard!
11: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), October 26, 2011, 10:29 AM.
I am sorry, but I don't have a sense of humour on this one. How can we trivialize her crimes by calling her a 'witch'? She was no witch - she was a calculative mass murderer, like Adolf Hitler.
12: Dolly (Kenya), October 26, 2011, 11:08 AM.
Gurmeet ji: All answers to life's challenges lie in humour. If you can't cut through the crap and see the humour, you ain't seeing nuthin'. The world fully understood the evil of Adolf Hitler only after Charlie Chaplin exposed him in "The Great Dictator" in 1940! Through satire and humour! Ever since, our TV programmes are full of ridicule of Adolf Hitler. They are the only effective tools available to us ... not anger or self-righteousness. By the way, the same treatment was meted out to Khomeini, Saddam, George W. Bush, Bin Laden and the latest buffoon, Ghadaffi. Jhulli Indro is in the same league.
13: Simran (Bahrain), January 06, 2013, 7:58 AM.
14: Belle Cornish (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada), October 31, 2013, 8:24 AM.
How appropriate that children around the world are given, and feast in, sweets on the very day -- every year, and for all time to come -- this evil woman was executed for her crimes against humanity! Yes, there IS justice in life ... and death!
15: Karam (Abu Dhabi ), October 31, 2013, 10:54 AM.
Jackie Kennedy on Indira http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/jackie-kennedy-on-indira-gandhi/210725
16: Karanbir (Punjab), October 31, 2013, 12:46 PM.
Indro, stay in hell. That's where you truly belong.
17: Rup Singh (Canada), November 01, 2013, 1:50 PM.
Baldev Singh ji: PM Manmohan Singh is a political wizard for sure, how else could he be PM of the so called largest democracy without directly being elected by the people. Economic wizard, maybe, sure the economy has grown, how has that translated to better the lives of the poor, or increase their standard of living or working conditions? 13.9 million child slaves (half of the worlds total). Still waiting on the number for adult slaves. The rich are richer, richest among the world now. Coal-gate, he was minister of coal, unprecedented corruption under his tenure, cost the nation trillions. Secular, I disagree, the majority still gets away with murder. Did not the PM give tickets to the likes of Tytler and others who are mentioned by witnesses as leading mobs in the Sikh genocide of 84, but later had to back out because of public pressure from Sikhs? Please remember he is a leader of the party that has committed genocide against its own citizens and is directly responsible for the condition of it's 800 million people who live on 2 dollars or less a day, because Congress has been in power more than any other party. Saw the news last night. Dr. Singh was bowing at the grave of Indira Gandhi and later was praising her in his speech. Please don't tell me how great he is but it's the others around him who won't let him accomplish anything, then why is he still in office, what is his motivation? From Indira to this PM, what has really changed? In India the saying fits perfectly, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
18: Kaala (Punjab), November 02, 2013, 9:30 AM.
@17 - He is the cover up of India's crimes against the Sikhs. Is he not the same person who said in the UN that no Sikhs were killed in 1984? Yet he is applauded as the "first Sikh Prime Minister of India". What has he done for the Sikhs? Victims of 1984 have not been rehabilitated till now, perpetrators have not been brought to justice. Punjab, where 80% of Sikhs live, is in a state of economic and social decline. No jobs for young people. Drug addiction has reached alarming proportions. A demographic invasion is taking place as Sikhs have lost the capacity to work hard. Sikhs will be a minority even in Punjab. These are not good signs.
19: Kaala (Punjab), November 02, 2013, 11:14 AM.
I wish we had capable leaders in 1947 and an army of our own. Who could have dared touch us?
20: Kaala Singh (Punjab), October 27, 2014, 1:38 PM.
Indro, a witch indeed.
21: Tinku (Punjab), October 31, 2014, 9:59 PM.
Even after so many disclosures over the last 30 years we fail to understand that it was not just Indro's decision alone. There was instigation from Arya Samaji's living in Punjab and the neighbouring Hindu belt, RSS and BJP. These organizations may have different names but their ideology is the same.