#TheyLiveHere - 1984 Sikh Genocide
November 1984 holds little meaning for most people. For many, it’s a rather unremarkable month in a year most often associated with George Orwell’s book. For the Sikh community, however, November 1984 is a month that cannot, indeed must not, be forgotten. It is a period marked by the government-sanctioned campaign of genocide against the Sikh community which destroyed countless lives, ripping apart families and wreaking havoc on the Sikh psyche for generations to come. It is a period that showed the Sikh community just how far the Indian government would go to try to demonize and eradicate an entire people which is viewed as being a threat to its continued existence.
Despite the numerous efforts made by the Indian government to silence our voices and deny any wrongdoing, the Sikh community has neither forgotten nor forgiven. Much of today’s Sikh youth, like myself, were not alive to bear witness to the massacre that took place. Yet, we too continue to demand justice, ensuring that the lack of condemnation and recognition from the international community is in no way due to a lack of activism or effort on the part of the Sikh community.
In this sense, November 1984 also sends a message of resilience, power, faith, and sovereignty. The Sikh community has not allowed either past or ongoing efforts by the Indian government to silence them or break their spirit. Instead, Sikhs continue to be known around the world for their unwavering commitment to justice and their steadfast support for human rights.
37 years ago, Sikh homes and businesses were marked as targets in a state-led campaign of violence and terror. Children were ripped from the arms of their families, fathers and sons were taken, never to be heard from again, and countless mothers and daughters were sexually assaulted by those very entities entrusted with their protection.
This November, we honour those whose lives were stolen far too soon and those whose lives continue to be impacted by intergenerational trauma and grief. We ask you to join us in marking your homes with a symbol of hope and resilience by lighting a candle outside your home from November 1-3. Together, we can honour those who have passed whilst fighting for the future.
Post a picture on your social media with the tag #TheyLiveHere to start a collective conversation on how we as Sikhs remember the 1984 Sikh Genocide.