The vicious pre-planned slaughter of the Sikh people in 1984 following Indira Gandhi’s assassination did not just leave every Sikh traumatised. It also deeply affected their psyche, their faith in their neighbours, in the system, in the state, in the very idea of justice itself.
For many of us non-Sikhs, it was a defining moment in our lives. On October 31 that year, I saw Sikhs being beaten on Lodi Road; the police told us to move on and not bother about it since we were not Sikhs. We saw trucks loaded with white-capped men shouting khoon ka badla khoon se lenge. We saved two Sikhs from being thrown over the Safdarjang flyover, hiding them in our car and ensuring they reached home safely. We kept their two-wheeler for over three months till they had the courage to come back for it. On the afternoon of November 1, we found slashed, shattered, blood-covered Sikh families in Trilokpuri.