30 July, 2021

Many Small Trees Grow

When justice is slow, try conquering hate with love

Many Small Trees Grow

In 2009, it’s difficult for young people to conceive of a time when no member of the Sikh community was safe in any corner of our sprawling capital. But this was the terrible reality of November 1-3, 1984. Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, the legendary war hero, could not sleep under his own roof on those nights; he took refuge in the home of I.K. Gujral. The eminent writer Khushwant Singh found shelter at the Swedish embassy; Justice S.S. Chadha, a sitting judge of the Delhi High Court, had to move to the high court complex.

I, only a young, budding lawyer at the time, was even more vulnerable to the mobs roaming the streets, baying for blood after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Miraculously, I escaped them on the evening of October 31, but on November 2, my house was attacked. Thanks to my Hindu landlord, who hid us in his storeroom, my pregnant wife and I were saved.

I was lucky, but nearly 4,000 of my fellow Sikhs were not. (Though the official death toll in Delhi is 2,733, in 1985 we submitted a list to the Ranganath...

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