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Above: detail from "1984", a painting by Amrit & Rabindra Kaur Singh. Copyright: The Twin Studio.

1984

The 1984 Record

A SPECIAL sikhchic.com FEATURE

 

We have received a number of requests for recommended readings on 1984.

Accordingly, we have put together a bibliography of books ... and films ... which cover the many facets of the twin tragedies of that year: the assault on The Golden Temple and other Sikh Centres, and the accompanying massacre of innocents in June; and the anti-Sikh pogroms across India in November.

This list is not meant to be either final or exhaustive. We hope to see it expand from day to day, to a point when it can truly be useful to anyone seeking the full story or doing research on a related subject.

We would like you to make YOUR recommendations - and when you do, please provide, if possible, as many details on each entry as you can: correct title of book, film, etc; full name of author, director, etc; name and location of publisher, producer, etc; year of publication, production; and a brief one or two lines about what YOU think of its merit and usefulness.

As well, we welcome your own assessments, albeit brief, of existing entries.

A caveat: Inclusion of any book or film or any other item in this list does not in any way suggest that sikhchic.com or a contributor endorses the quality or merit of the same. We are attempting to put together as complete a bibliography as possible, including the good, the bad, the negligent, the incompetent and the mischievous - there is no dearth of examples in each category.

The goal is to bring together a complete record, because indeed a lot of misinformation has been created by vested and dishonest parties that have no interest in the truth being recorded or told.

We will keep the list on the Homepage of sikhchic.com throughout the 12 months of this year of the 25th anniversary of the 1984 tragedies, and then continue to present it permanently in our archives.

 

NON-FICTION

When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and its Aftermath, by H.S. Phoolka and Manoj Mitta, Roli Books, India, 2007.

Identity and Survival: Sikh Militancy in India 1978-1993, by Kirpal Singh Dhillon, Penguin India, 2006, 394 pages. ISBN-10: 014310036X, ISBN-13: 978-0143100362.
 
1984 and the Crisis of Sikhism,
by Johan Rohi. Athena Press, 2006, 440 pages. ISBN-10: 1844016331, ISBN-13: 978-1844016334. 

Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India, by Jaskaran Kaur. Nectar Publishing, U.K., 2004, 150 pp. ISBN 0-9548412-0-4.  

Based on evidence from hundreds of affidavits and heavily foot-noted, this is one of very few publications that critically explores the Mishra Commission, one of the early investigative panels appointed by the Indian government in face of mounting demands.

The Gallant Defender, by A.R. Darshi.  Chattar Singh Jiwan Singh Publishers, India, 2004, 164 pages. ISBN 8176014680.

Author’s Summary: This book has been written for some compulsive reasons and meaningful purpose. The first reason is that during my long service in Punjab in the capacity of Judicial Magistrate, Sub divisional Magistrate, Additional Deputy Commissioner and Joint Secretary to Government of Punjab, I have carefully watched and monitored all politico-religious agitations and consequent developments right from the rule of late Partap Singh Kairon to the present day government of Parkash Singh Badal which is still crumblingly lurking on till this last day of 1998.

The second reason is that during the long stint of service in Punjab, I had very close and cordial relations with the top leaders of all political parties, especially with the leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal. This book is either based on my personal conversations held with the political leaders or the knowledge derived from political and other events.

These events includes intra-contradictions prevailing among the Akali leaders; their confrontation with the discriminatory Congress governments; their conflicts with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale; and last but not the least, Sant Bhindranwale’s struggle against the offensive launched by the Nirankaris headed by Gurbachan Singh, to subvert the Sikh religion.

Although this book was written in 1985, after the assassination of Longowal, yet it could not be published then. Now it is being published so that it may precede or coincide with the tercentenary celebrations of birth of the Khalsa.

They have conveniently forgotten the outstanding services rendered by Sant Bhindranwale who has resuscitated the dead spirit of the Khalsa with his blood. Hence this book is being published on this auspicious occasion to refresh and revive the forgotten memory of the gallant defender.

Reduced to Ashes, by Ram Narayan Kumar, Amrik Singh, Ashok Agarwal & Jaskaran Kaur. South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2003, 634 pp. ISBN 99933-53-57-4. 

This book is the richest collation of testimony and evidence painstakingly collected from families that suffered and officials who participated. 

The Nation's Tortured Body: Violence, Representation, and the Formation of a Sikh Diaspora, by Brian Keith Axel, Duke University Press, U.S.A., 2001, 312 pp. ISBN-10: 0822326159, ISBN-13: 978-0822326151.

Ethnic Conflict in India: A Case Study of Punjab, by Gurharpal Singh, Macmillan, London, 2000.

Death Squad: Anthropology of State Terror, by Jeffrey Sluka, University of Pennsylvania Press, Pennsylvania, 1999.  

Politics of Genocide, Inderjit Singh Jaijee, Ajanta Books, New Delhi, India, 1999, 276 pp.

This book constitutes the text of the UNCHR submission to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in November 1985.

The Sikh Diaspora: The Search for Statehood, by Darshan Singh Tatla, Routledge & Seattle, London, &  University of Washington Press, 1999.  

Struggle for Justice - Speeches and Conversations of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, edited & translated by Ranbir Singh Sandhu, Sikh Educational and Religious Foundation, Ohio, U.S.A., 1999.

Fighting for Faith & Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants, by Cynthia K. Mahmood, University of Pennsylvania Press, U.S.A., 1996, 314 pp. ISBN-10: 0812233611, ISBN-13: 9780812233612. 

Truth about Punjab:, S.G.P.C. White Paper, by Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, Punjab, 1996.

The Sikhs of the Punjab: Unheard voices of State and Guerilla Violence, by Joyce Pettigrew,  Zed Books, London, 1995. ISBN 1856493563.

Operation Blue Star: The True Story, by K.S. Brar, UBS Publishers, 1993, 179 pages. ISBN-10: 8185944296, ISBN-13: 978-8185944296. 

Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada, by Zuhair Kashmeri & Brian McAndrew, Lorimer Books, Toronto, 1989, 151 pp. ISBN-10: 1550282212 , ISBN-13: 978-1550282214.

Essays in Anguish: A Canadian Perspective on the Punjab Crisis, Preface by Sheldon Gordon, Sikh Professional Assoc. of Canada, Toronto, 1989, 77 pp.

Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab, by Citizens for Democracy/ U.S. Edition, Sikh Religious and Educational Trust, Dublin, Ohio, 1986.

Reportedly banned by the Govt. of India - a sure sign that it may have truthful things to say! 

Punjab Under Siege: A Critical Analysis, by Iqbal Singh, Allen, McMillan & Enderson, New York, 1986, 177 pp. ISBN 0-93483903-4

Black Laws: 1984-85, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Delhi, 1985.

Punjab: The Fatal Miscalculation, by Patwant Singh and Harji Malik. Published by Patwant Singh, New Delhi, 1985.

Amritsar: Mrs. Gandhi's Last Battle, by Mark Tully & Satish Jacob, Rupa & Co., New Delhi, 1985, 238 pp.

The Assassination & After, by Arun Shourie, Prannoy Roy, Rahul Bedi & Shekhar Gupta, Roli Books, New Delhi, 1985, 160 pp.

Vengeance: India After the Assassination of Indira Gandhi, by Pranay Gupte, Norton, New York, 1985, 368 pp. ISBN 0-393-02230-7.

Who are the Guilty, [ * * * * * ] by Rajni Kothari & Gobinda Mukhoty, People’s Union for Democratic Right (PUDR) & People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), New Delhi, 1984.     

The Sikhs,  [ * * * * * ] by Dr. Christopher Shackle, The Minority Rights Group, London, U.K., Report No. 65, September 1984. 14 pp. ISBN # 0-946690-17-0.  

Truth About the Punjab Tragedy,  [ * * * * * ] Sikh Cultural Centre, Calcutta, 1984, 22 pp.

Tragedy of Punjab: Operation Bluestar & After, by Kuldip Nayar & Khushwant Singh, Vision Books, India, 1984, 192 pp.

Bhindranwale: Myth & Reality, by Chand Joshi, Vikas Publishing, New Delhi, 1984, 168 pp.   

 

 

ARTICLES

We Remember, by I.J. Singh  [Click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=688&cat=12]

Witness, by Michael Singh   [Click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=692&cat=18]

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words, by Amrit & Rabindra Kaur Singh [Click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=696&cat=1]  

The Spin-Doctors Are At It Again, by T. Sher Singh  [Click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=242&cat=12]

The Missing Witnesses, by T. Sher Singh  [Click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=190&cat=12

The Morning After: Trauma, Memory & The Sikh Predicament  since 1984,  by Darshan Singh Tatla, Sikh Formations, v.2(1), June 2006, pp 57-88.

Need to Re-establish Links: Some Discussions with Sikh Communities in North America, by Madhu Kishwar, Manushi, No. 41 (v. 7, # 5) July-August, 1987, New Delhi.

 

FICTION

 

Can You Hear the Nightbird Call?, by Anita Rau Badami, Vintage Canada, Toronto, 2007, ISBN 0-676-97605-2. 

Days of the Turban, by Partap Sharma, Rupa, 2005, 385 pages. ISBN-10: 8129107104, ISBN-13: 978-8129107107. 

Saffron Salvation, by Simarjit Kaur, Saffron Publications, Middlesex, U.K., 1999, 267 pp. ISBN 0 9535 331 07.

Lakhi & Amarpal, by Simarjit Kaur, Jeevan Arts, Middlesex, U.K., 1999, 224 pp.

 

 

 

FILMS - DOCUMENTARY

 

My Mother India [ * * * * * ]  Director: Safina Kaur Uberoi. Australia, 2001. English. Colour. 52 min

It is no wonder that Safina Kaur made a film about her family: she has a Sikh father from India who collects kitsch calendars, an Australian mother who hangs her knickers out to dry in front of the horrified Indian neighbours, a grandfather who was a self-styled guru and a fiercely man-hating grandmother.

What begins as a quirky and humorous documentary about an eccentric, multicultural upbringing unfolds into a complex commentary on the social, political and religious events, starting with the tragedy of  Partition in 1947, and leading up to the anti-Sikh pogroms in 1984 India, which tore this family apart. This is a powerful tale of love and hate, exile and belonging, loss of identity and return of faith.

For film review, click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=39&cat=2 

 

The Widow Colony [ * * * * * ], Directed by Harpreet Kaur, Produced by Manmeet Singh, Sach Productions, U.S.A, 2006, English, Colour.

For film review, click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=33&cat=2

 

 

FILMS - FEATURE 

 

Amu [* * * * *]  Director: Sonali Bose. U.S.A, 2005. English. Colour.

This is the story of Kaju, a twenty-one-year-old Indian-American woman who returns to India to visit her family and discover the place where she was born. The film takes a dark turn as Kaju stumbles against secrets and lies from her past. A horrifying genocide that took place twenty years ago turns out to hold the key to her mysterious origins.

"... not a Bollywood product ..."

For film review, click here: http://sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=68&cat=2

 

Kaya Taran [* * * * *]  Director: Shashi Kumar, India, 2004. Hindi/English, Colour, 1 hr 47 min.

On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards who were of the Sikh religion. Over the next few days, several thousand innocent Sikh men, women and children were killed in state-sponsored pogroms in Delhi and other places across India.

On February 27, 2002, a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire at Godhra railway station in Gujarat, killing 58 pilgrims. Over the next two months, several hndred innocent Muslim men, women and children were killed in anti-Muslim pogroms in that State.

Kaya Taran ("Chrysalis") is set against the backdrop of the two pogroms, but does not frontally engage with either. It is a distanced look at the dilemma of nurturing one's identity in a multicultural society that borders on the volatile.

   

Hawayein  [* * * *]  Director: Ammtoje Singh Mann. India, 2003. Hindi. Colour. 2 hr 55 min

The year is 1984. In New Delhi, India. A love story is interrupted by a sudden turn of events: the radio blares out news of Mrs. Gandhi's assasination stemming from her storming of The Golden Temple of Amritsar a mere five months earlier.

The city and the country turns ugly. Mobs, led by political leaders belonging to the government in power, scour the streets identifying Sikhs and their households and murdering their innocent residents in cold blood. In the tens of thousands, in cities and towns across the country. While the police, the military and civic authorities look on and do nothing.

The film explores the further spiral of violence unleashed through a strengthening freedom movement for an independent Khalistan, and through attrocities committed by the police and the military in an attempt to terrorize the population into submission, and the resulting free-for-all at the hands of a variety of unsavoury elements.

Note: Director Ammtoje Singh has also produced an accompanying documentary wherein he explains how the 1984 pogrom scenes were researched for the production of the film. 

 

Maachis  [ * * * * * ] written & directed by Sampooran Singh Gulzar, 1996. Colour, India, Urdu.

Following the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards - ostensibly to punish her for her criminal outrages in Amritsar a few months earlier - a wave of violence broke out against innocent Sikhs and their families across the country. Instead of going after the culprits behind these pogroms, the police brutally hauled in innocent Sikh men and women, and aggressively interrogated them with third degree methods, purportedly to quell the insurgency in Punjab which had been triggered by the sacriligious attack on the Golden Temple. This further created a wave of sympathy for the militants, and more people started joining them to revolt against an oppressive regime. This story is of one such family;  one young, innocent man is taken away by the police for questioning. He returns several days later, bleeding and badly wounded. All it results in is the swelling of the ranks of the militants. 

 

[Last update: February 12, 2009

Conversation about this article

1: Chintan Singh (San Jose, U.S.A.), January 16, 2009, 11:28 AM.

How about: 1) Nation's Tortured body by Brian Keith Axel. 2) Fighting for faith and nation by Cynthia Keppler Mahmoud

2: I. Singh (Chelmsford, MA, U.S.A.), January 16, 2009, 2:47 PM.

Anyone of these books is good reference material for the 1984 genre: www.sikhcoalition.org/SikhismReadings.asp#hr

3: Darshan Singh Tatla (India), January 18, 2009, 4:06 PM.

Two of my publications are relevant. 1) The Sikh Diaspora: The Search for Statehood. London: Routledge & Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999. 2) The Morning After: Trauma, Memory & The Sikh Predicament since 1984, Sikh Formations, 2(1), June 2006, 57-88.

4: I. Singh (Chelmsford, MA, U.S.A.), January 28, 2009, 8:24 AM.

Another one for the list: How can we forget: When a Tree Shook Delhi: the 1984 carnage and its aftermath by Manoj Mitta and H.S.Phoolka, Roli Books, 2007.

5: Satwinder Singh (Dublin, Ireland), February 12, 2009, 11:41 AM.

Gallant Defender By A.R.Darshi. AR Darshi was Sectretary of then Punjab Govt and has written about what happened inside the government circles, especially the role played by the then selfish Akali leaders during 1984.

6: Saurabh Raj Singh (Ellicott City, Howard, U.S.A.), February 19, 2009, 7:16 AM.

Excellent collection related to the events that changed the lives of many human beings.

7: Gurjendra Bedi (Gaithersburg, MD, U.S.A.), March 08, 2009, 6:21 AM.

Congratulation to sikhchic.com for doing The 1984 Record. Request to sikhchic.com management to publish a summary book of The 1984 Record atn the end of 2009 and of 25 years, to benefit the future. [Editor: Great suggestion! We'll seriously consider it. Thanks.]

8: Ajmer Singh Randhawa (India), April 17, 2009, 1:40 AM.

Your collection is for researchers, not for the average reader. I too have tried to bring out information on the involvement of famous bollywood actor Amitabh Bacchan, on his involvement in provoking the Hindu miscreants, shouting slogans such as "Khoon ka badla khoon" live on TV. Due to his provocation, pogroms against Sikhs spread to almost every State in India. He has never been booked for his hate-mongering and contunues to go scot-free.

9: Amrit Pal Singh (Gurgaon, India), May 12, 2009, 3:10 AM.

Can anyone bring out more info/ details/ scene where Amitabh Bacchan is said to have uttered the alleged inflamatory slogan in the aftermath of Indira's assasination?

10: Shashi Bhushan Deo (New Delhi, India), November 20, 2009, 2:27 AM.

Great work. Thanks.

11: Harminder Kaur (India), January 08, 2013, 6:27 AM.

I incidentally ran into the list of books listed by you on 1984 as I was reading an article by Michael Singh, a friend. I was surprised to note that though I as a journalist who covered every aspect of 1984 and after, and have done two books and numerous articles, they have not been listed. Two of my books are: "Blue Star Over Amritsar, 1991 Ajanta) with Introduction by Khushwant Singh; and the 2nd one: "1984: Lessons from History, Intrigue and Conflict in Centre-Sikh Relations" (Corporate Vision, 2010). Both the books are on various sites on the internet and its reviews too are available.

12: Ajmer Singh Randhawa (New Delhi, India), November 23, 2013, 9:00 AM.

To reveal the truth to the new generations of the Sikh nation and to all those who have any interest to know the facts of the Sikh genocide of 1984 orchestrated by the then Prime Minister, his cabinet, the police and others in the Delhi administration on such a large scale, and why Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is being defamed by government agencies, please read my online book at http://1984-whenfriendsturnesfoes.blogspot.in/ Please see the truth and the government's malicious moves, false propaganda, attempts to eliminate Sikhs and then to tarnish Sikh culture.

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