Guest post by RAVLEEN KAUR
When June 1984 comes up in conversation, the same talking points invariably arise – “it was the state’s burden to attack; they had no choice”, “Bhindranwale had to be taken down”, or “Punjab was already bleeding”.
What these oft-repeated phrases – a product of the tight PR messaging campaign on the part of the government – glide over is the scope of human suffering that occurred in June 1984 – and most glaringly, suffering that was perpetrated by those in power, by those who had been elected in a democracy to uphold the rights and dignity of the people who they killed in 1984.
Anthropologist Talal Asad has noted the “notorious tactic of political power to deny a distinct unity to populations it seeks to govern, to treat them as contingent and indeterminate.”
With the belief that every Sikhs who was alive in 1984 has a story to tell, the 1984 Living History Project is depicting the unity in trauma of a people, who, in 1984, felt attacked as a people. The 1984 Living History Project is working to give a platform to ordinary people who lived through the massacres of both June and November. The project was initiated in 2012 by Sikh millennials. Realizing that the generation who experienced 1984 firsthand was getting older and that time was running out to capture their stories, they began a grassroots effort to capture as many stories and testimonies from Sikhs worldwide, one video narrative at a time. The first videos were their own parents and grandparents, recorded on smart phones and edited and shared rather seamlessly. The Project’s web platform allows easy Steps to make and share videos; something other Sikhs around the world have been doing through the 30th and 31st anniversary years of 1984. Continue reading June 1984 – 31 Years Later, Sikhs Are Mapping Their Stories: Ravleen Kaur