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Sikh Genocide 1984

Thirty Years On (from November, 1984): A poem by Jaspreet Singh

November 6, 2014 | By


One hears that the grass has grown again

and old domes have been plated

with gold. Children of ashened fathers

have acquired autos and crystals, and Lutyens’

stones have bloomed

One hears about the impossibility

of living in the past, difficulties of forever

remaining within eddies of anguish

One hears the bankers and media-anchors

talk about the need of the hour

to move on

(Never mind the periodicity of Gujarat, Trilokpuri…)

Ruination of language and biology

and justice – For them merely burned


or a lost cricket match

Why then before each year comes to an end

I, like so many others,

get Novemberized?

And, you, Jagdeep Kaur, how you have greyed, I hear your choking

whispering, witnessing, voice still

When I woke up…

My eyes could not understand

Why I refused to see

What they had seen

A garden or metal or marble might hold some of your losses

But I am not sure time

will smell like time again

Hope this entire nation tells its children what happened

As Primo Levi said, “Or may…

Your offspring avert their faces from you.”

Hope this entire nation mourns

and performs the deep crystal work

with un-iced solitude and togetherness and

engraves it all on its hearts.

No one can order anybody to unremember 84, especially not

the perpetrator

One knows this all too well

(not after 3 days

or 3 decades)

Dark clouds—

still ascending over Delhi.

To forget is to necklace the dead twice over with rubber tyres

To forget is to stop caring

To forget is to repeat

To forget is to cease loving each other

To forget is to die

Let us never and Never forget

those erased simply because they were

trapped in a certain body

Ash particles, floating in air. They are so near us

The dead

* Jaspreet Singh’s latest book “Helium” is published by Bloomsbury. He lives in Toronto.

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