31 January 2007


[Back to the mean streets]

This post is about Mani, Vini's son and Mai's husband, who was one of our men who achieved shaheedi in the Battle of Delhi, 1984. If we three were able to accomplish anything outstanding at all, it was from his good, loving, strong leadership. We believe he was one of the great people of the Twentieth Century, but, of course, we might be a little bit prejudiced in his favour.

He used to say that we had to be prepared for whatever might happen because 'anything can happen to anyone at any time.' How right he was! Among us, he was the one who believed in the necessity of Khalistan; until all this happened, the rest of us thought he was something of an alarmist.

Please read this gently, as it was very difficult to write.

Mai writing: All this happened many years ago, and this is how I remember it.

How can I write about my husband, knowing others will read it? He was, possibly, the most nearly perfect human being of our generation.

I married him in 1970, lived our whole life together, every single day, until he achieved shaheedi in November 1984. I have absolutely no complaints about him as a person or as a husband. I knew him literally from the day I was born, when I threw up on him, until that day. I had never had any interest in any other man. I knew him to be intelligent, self-disciplined, kind and a bit fastidious. I knew he would never be interested in any woman who didn't live up to the standard he held himself to, so I always kept a tight rein on myself. Dad was always afraid I'd get involved with some idiot boy at school. He had nothing to worry about. How could a boy interest me, when I had always intended to marry this man? He was ten years older than me, so he was settled and grown up by the time I was expected to start to notice boys.

This is also the chance to be introduced to my Dad, who was 67 when I was born and, fortunately, missed all the horrors of 1984, dying peacefully at age 97 in 1982.

One day, when I was 17, I went to Dad, and said, 'I want to get married.'

He looked at me a minute and said, 'Aren't you a little young?'

'No, I know what I want. After all, you taught me.'

'When a young lady comes to her father and says she wants to get married, I would assume she has someone in mind.'

I nodded.

He looked at me for a minute. I said nothing.

'Not one of those little boy fools you go to school with, I hope.'

I shook my head. 'I don't want to marry a child, damn it. I have a little more sense than that.'

'Anyone I know?'

I felt suddenly shy. I nodded again.

'Dare I ask who?'

A third time, I nodded.

'Princess, you're driving me mad. Who?'

In an uncharacteristically tiny voice. 'Mani.'

Bellowing, 'MANI??? You've got to be kidding. Why him?'

'I never thought of anyone else. I always wanted to marry him.'

Dad gave me the strangest look. 'Really?'

'Didn't you notice I never wanted to date or anything?'

'I just counted my blessings. I'm an old traditional Punjabi Sikh. I wouldn't have any idea how to handle a dating daughter.' (I have written a short fiction piece about this which I'll publish in a lighter moment)

I giggled at the thought. 'You'd scare the poor boy half to death.'

'I'd try, I'm sure.' He kept looking at me with that weird look.

'Why are you looking at me like that. Is he secretly my brother or something?'

Laughing, 'No, no, no. Nothing like that. Are you 100% sure?'


'I have absolutely no objections. In fact, if you'd let me find you a husband which is, after all, my responsibility, I would have chosen him.' In an uncharacteristically small voice, a bit sheepishly, 'In fact, his parents and I did choose him. We've been trying to figure out how to get you two stubborn, modern kids together for years.'

'Daddy!' I was appalled.

'Are you still serious? Do you really want to marry him?' He was staring at me.


'OK, I'll call his parents. How much have you discussed with him?'

'Not a word, but he's always wanted to marry me, too. I know you think I'm young and inexperienced, but I have always known. Especially after he sang at my sixteenth birthday party.' I mimicked him singing.
'Since you've grown up your future is sewn up. From now on you're gonna be mine.'

By that night we were informally engaged.

His family and ours had always been close. Dad had been the business partner of Mani's grandfather and of his dad. He was his parents' only child and also my youngest brother's best friend, so he had always been around. In fact, he was the first nonfamily member to meet me when I was born, and the reason I got the nickname, Mai. The way the ten-year-old boy and new-born baby looked into each others' eyes and then she threw up on him had become a favourite family legend.

By the time we got engaged, he had been to medical school and was a fully certified physician. He was also a devout Khalsa, which he would put before being a doctor or a husband or a father. It was the only thing, in fact, that he put ahead of me, which was fine. That came before everything, even wife, even child, even his own life, everything.

I think I can describe him in that one word: Khalsa. Pure. A true son of Guru Gobind Singh, if I can sound a bit cheesy, from the moment we woke up before dawn and took those horrible cold showers to when he fell asleep at night. He never tried to force me to do as he did, like those pre-dawn cold showers but in a true marriage, it's natural to stand together. He admitted to me after some years, that he didn't like those cold showers any more than I did, but he did it out of love and also as self-discipline.

I would like to say something about him that doesn't involve being Sikh, but that was so much of him that there is nothing else to say.
I remember once I asked him,"What do you think you would be if you weren't Sikh?'
His answer tells it all, "Someone else.'
Maybe a physical description. Tall, athletic, kind of light brown skin in winter, darker, of course, in summer, as we spent a lot of time outdoors, rather bushy eyebrows, thick, curly black eyelashes (why do the men always have those?), a nose slightly too large for American tastes, but perfect for an Indian, steel grey eyes, courtesy of his Kashmiri mother (That's me, Vini!) and all that hair. He wouldn't even let me see it until after we were married. I told him he was as bad as a Muslim virgin, but he just laughed at me. It was thick and straight and longer than waist length and was as black and shiny as obsidian. I felt almost naked with my dark brown, rather thin hair. At least I could match him for length in those days. His beard did have just a touch of red in it, maybe again from his Kashmiri side. I enjoyed looking at him, and he could hardly take his eyes off me. We were the most perfectly matched couple I have ever seen. We had fourteen incredible years together, and would have had many more, if he hadn't been killed.

I don't feel like describing that day again, so let me jump to immediately after the mob had left and I had regained consciousness. As it turned out, at that time he was also still alive.
Whatever kind forces exist in the universe, whether Waheguru or Guru Nanak Dev Ji or some other benevolent being or just the universe itself, we had a few peaceful minutes talking together before he died. Most of that conversation was so intensely personal that I can't write it down. I will only mention three things.

First, I pulled lightly on his beard and asked him, 'Has it all really been worth it?'
He said softly,'Yeah.' Then he breathed in deeply, and said in his strongest voice, 'Yes. Hell, yes! People don't even dream of living the kind of life we've lived because they could never believe it's possible. Too short, I guess, but better too short and too good, than longer in the hell most people seem to live in. And, you know, for me there's really no better way to die. Given the choice, this is what I'd choose.'

Then he insisted on a promise from me that I would remarry, so as not to spend the rest of my life in useless grieving for him. As if marrying another man would end my grief! But I have done as I promised, and my current husband treats me like a queen, and I have come to love him deeply, too.

Then he asked me to sing the last verse of How Can I keep from Singing?, an old Quaker song. My singing voice is between a crow and a foghorn, and I can't carry a tune, but I complied.

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death
knells ringing,
When friends rejoice, both far and near,
How can I keep from
On gallows high or dungeons vile,
Our thoughts to them go
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from

As Mani lay in my lap dying, he looked into my eyes and said, 'Good-bye for now, love.' Then he closed his eyes and, holding onto my hand said his final pronouncement, in a loud, clear voice, slowly, syllable by syllable, a battle cry and an affirmation:
Wa...he...gu...ru...Ji...Ki...Fa...teh!! '
As the final sounds came out of his mouth, he opened his eyes and looked, first at me, then beyond me. An expression of astonishment and pure joy (ananda?) came over his features.
'A glimpse of gold in the iron grey, the proof of all you never dared to
His hand went limp in mine, but I held it for I don't have any idea how long, until I dropped it, closed his eyes and kissed his forehead. It all sounds so romantic now, the fallen martyr soldier-saint, the grieving, loving pregnant widow, herself nearly fatally injured, the lull in the battle. At the time, with the signs of violence all around us, I, paradoxially, felt a deep inner peace. I lay down beside his body and passed out/went to sleep. That is the end of his story.

Do not seek Death. Death will find you. But rather
seek the road that makes
Death a fulfillment. Dag Hammarskjold

To any man reading this, just a suggestion. Try to be a man your wife would write so lovingly about. You can do it and she'll be most grateful, I'm sure.


30 January 2007

Resting, Relaxing and Laughing - BELLOWING

These first few posts have been incredibly heavy, as indeed they must be. However, it is important even on the road to Khalistan that we not forget to stop and laugh, once in a while. If you only want the heavy stuff, we'll be putting more of our experiences of 1984 on soon. I am running these two posts from another blog together, so they can be read in the correct order.

All three of us have gotten into trouble for our quirky sense of humour, so please try not to let us offend you.

I have some great pictures to go with them, but because people are actually reading this, I don't include them, not wanting to run into copyright problems.

So we start here:

...And They Bellow

I came across this in Bulletin 318 of the IHRO (International Human Rights Organisation) Bulletin 318, Article 9:

Khalsa males often come across as
militaristic, they
wear swords and they bellow.

Sikhs in general are noisy,
compared to Buddhists and
Protestants and Catholics etc. Sikhs often do not
fit Western stereotypes of
what Holy people are like and Gurdwaras seem
noisy and exotic to visiting
Westerners as well.

That so perfectly describes my whole crazy family, except Suni and Hope. I have been known to bellow and Maman does it as well as any of the men! I suspect Suni and Hope are quite capable of it, too; I just haven't been there.

But Dad had to be the world champion bellower. When he got going, you could hear him thundering in the next province! And on a really extreme day, no doubt in the next country. That would be America. Was he a Holy person? To me, of course, but objectively? I'm not sure. But I am sure that our dear Guru Gobind Singh Ji and he could
have been great friends. Of my brothers, only Robert is not a bellower, but then he's the only one that isn't a Khalsa. Maybe this is a silly post, but it made me laugh and I guess after murder and mayhem and other such nastiness, it's time for a laugh.

This is Maman (Vini): I don't bellow, I just growl and roar in a very ladylike manner, very, very loudly!

I ran across this and am adding it on this post because it seems to fit and I like it:

Says T. Sher Singh:

Sikh identity is a state of mind: the
resolution to act as leaders.

We have a legacy of leadership in Sikh tradition, whether in battle, on the streets, in the classroom, or at the roundtable.

You are saint-soldiers – leaders in our world– above all.


And we refuse to be victims!

Of course...and we bellow .


This now is an encounter with some 'ladies' who have been trying to drive Mai crazy. And you reading this will realise we are just three normal women, not the saints you seem to imagine us to be.

...And I Bellowed

(This is Mai) I take some pride in keeping myself under control. I simply do not lose my temper. I hadn't had a real explosion since 1984 - until this incident.

Consider my hair. Having a heart attack, a major stroke and being twice zapped with I don't know how many volts of electricity by a defibrillator within less than a year, have taken their toll. My hair is breaking off, falling out and, in general, a mess and now it hardly passes my shoulders. All women, and most men are quite vain about their hair. This, of course, multiplies infinitely if the woman is Sikh. So I was really annoyed to begin with.

OK. That is background.

I was resting when they banged on the door. The Church Ladies. At first, I ignored them and didn't answer the door, but then they came banging on the window and wouldn't leave. I finally, now wide awake, answered the door. I guess I should have just told them to go away, but they helped take care of me after the stroke and I didn't want to appear ungracious, so I let them in.

It was bitterly cold outside right then, around -8 Celsius, yes, minus. And snow on the ground. They wanted tea, of course. I said, 'No, I'm tired. I'm taking a nap. Please, I need to rest.'

They decided that I needed tea and they would be helpful and make it themselves. In MY HOME. Without my permission.

But I am civilised, so I kept repeating to myself, 'Sat Naam, Sat Naam,...' I calmly asked them to knock it off and go home. But it really was miserable outside, and I am not heartless, so I let them have their tea.

At this point, Maman and Suni, who had been grocery shopping, walked in.

While the CLs were drinking, one of them commented on my hair. 'If you'd just trim it a little to even it out..' (Wrong!)

Then she got up, walked to me, grabbed my hair and pulled on it. (Wrong, WRONG!!)

I wasn't sure what she had in mind, but the last time someone did that to me, I broke his arm.

I didn't break her arm, but I did growl at her. Yes, I have been told that when I get really angry, I growl. All my frustrations at the CLs rush out.

...And I bellowed.

'Take your f****** hands off my sacred kesh!!'

Then I suggested that she do a few things that are very obscene and probably anatomically impossible. They were quite astonished at me.

I have always been civil to them, if not really friendly. And I may have used some words and concepts they had never heard of.

...And I bellowed.

Anyway, I quite scandalised them. I don't think they'll mess with my hair anymore. And maybe they won't be back at all.

Maman and Suni thought it was hilarious and said they had had it coming for a long time. Suni started singing,

'They have fangs, they have teeth, cry the dark bells of Neath...'

meaning me, not them. Writing this now, it sounds kind of funny. I admit I scare myself when I lose control.

At least this time, there were no physical injuries to anyone. I'm sure the dear darlings are either consigning me to eternal damnation or praying for my salvation. Impossible even to guess which.

And I can imagine, 'You see now what THEY are REALLY like. THEY pretend to be all godly and righteous, but underneath, THEY really need our Lord Jesus Christ.' And self-righteous agreement all the way around. Or something similar. Am I too hard on them?

And should I lay off the bellowing for another 22 years?

That is Mai's account. This is Vini (Maman). I think my Mai isn't the only one who gets tired of being tolerant, but she's really very good at it most of the time. I've known her since the day she was born and I'd never seen her lose her temper before. But these meddling biddies really did deserve it.

We hope we haven't terribly offended anyone, but we had to get out of 1984 for a while to preserve our collective sanity. We do have more to say about that, but let it wait a little while.

29 January 2007

A Pause on the Road

One slight correction. Only two of us were in Delhi. The third, the mother/grandmother was in Canada.

We do not believe that our stories are at all unusual. There was much courage and heroism in this Battle that has gone completely unreported, as far as we can tell. There seems to be a great glee in reporting Sikhs as victims, not heroes. We have all three heard other stories from survivors of the shaheeds appearing, especially where Guru Ji was present. We have also heard of Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself appearing. These stories need to be told when those who experienced them are recovered enough to expose themselves as we have. We were no stronger, braver or more heroic than many, many others. And none of us were all that devout.

The only differences between us and these others are:
  • we have chosen to share our stories with whoever cares to read them
  • we have the education to write about our experiences and, fortunately, one of us is a professional writer
  • we have the access to the Internet
  • we have been able to recover physically and psychologically to the point that we can communicate about this and that has taken a long time

We are not saints. One of us, in particular, strayed far from the Khalsa Panth in the intervening years, but is now trying to come home.

We would like to make an appeal to the Sangat worldwide:













We need also to give great financial, psychological and spiritual aid to the survivors, especially the widows and their children in India who are today living in squalor. These are real, live human beings who have not had the chance to recover that we have had as Canadians.

Our stories have been on the Internet for some months. No one knew of them until Google Alerts picked up 'Khalistan' in this new blog. Please, those of you who have these experiences, blog them, put in words that will be picked up, so they will be read. We need to tell our own stories. Otherwise, believe me, our enemies will.

We were asked, are these stories of ours true. The short answer is: Yes.

The long answer is: Yes, unfortunately.

And would someone please teach this spellcheck that 'Khalistan' is a correctly spelled word.

28 January 2007

A Radical's Evolution - Part II

Our second stop on the road to Khalistan

I/We have received several personal responses to the previous post, as well as a comment.


I/We do not want to incite anyone to anything. We are simply three Sikh women who have decided we want to tell our stories in this forum.

This type of thing has happened to many other people, but their stories remain untold. It is our fervent wish that others, many others, would also blog their stories so that when anyone went blog surfing, they would run into us and would not be able to ignore what happened.

Unfortunately, it is still not without some personal danger to speak up.

But as followers of the Gurus, and especially of Waheguru, we abhor actions done from spite or malice or anger or hatred or fear. Violence is acceptable only to protect oneself or to right a grave injustice, and then, only if all other means have failed.

I/We make the assumption that anyone making the effort to read this understands the significance of the words


This is how we endeavour to live our lives.

However, as they say, those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

I/We are now going to post SUNI'S STORY, the second part of this account. It takes place during the Battle of Delhi.

These two entries are from another personal blog, but we have decided that they belong here, as well.


Mai thinks this is just hysteria or an overactive imagination, but I know what I saw. I was about to go into labour with Hope when Mrs. Gandhi was executed and everything fell apart.

Being nine months pregnant, I didn't feel up to running with the others, so I stayed in the house with Mai and our men. We all knew that if our house was targeted, we would all probably be killed. Since everyone knew we were Sikh, we knew we would be targeted. The boys, Balbir and Sandeep, both insisted that if they were to be martyred as Sikhs, they had the right and obligation to take Amrit. After some discussion, mostly with Mani, who was our leader, it was agreed. We had everything necessary, so the ceremony went ahead. It should have been a happier occasion, but it was really a sweet sadness for all of us. All of us, especially, I think, we two mothers, were proud of our boys, who we agreed had earned the right to be called men. I remember Mani's admonishment to them, 'You realise this is a lifelong commitment, however long or short that might be? If you survive, you're stuck with it.' They both answered emphatically and solemnly, 'Yes!'

Afterwards we all bathed again and changed into our 'battle' dress. I'm not sure where all the blue cholas came from; Mohan must have stored them away without my knowledge. We all had saffron turbans, too. I'd never worn a man's turban before and it made me giggly. Get Mai to tell the story of Mani's turban; it's really nice. (Mai: Aw, shucks!)

WE LOOKED HOT in full bana. I'm not sure how, but they even managed to make Mai, wiry and six months pregnant, look like a boy. If we were going down, we were going down in style and with some class. We took some snaps and then put the film down the front of my clothes.

Then we sang songs, a really odd variety of kirtans and popular songs, and waited. Then some people came in silently, without opening the door. They were dressed as we were, but they had very long swords. Some men, some women, I don't know how many. I was the only one who reacted to them. I told the others, 'It won't be long now. The shaheeds are here.' They laughed nervously at me, everyone thinking that this pregnant lady had gone nuts.

Before long, we heard the mob outside. Guru Ji, properly wrapped had been sitting on his stand. Someone handed him to me and told me to protect him. So to do that and witness everything was my job, since I obviously couldn't fight.

They burst in and all hell broke loose. Someone immediately hit Sandeep, Mai's son, from behind with a metal bar, I think breaking his neck. He went down first. As each of us went down,a group of shaheeds went and stood beside him. Some of the shaheeds were surrounding me and giving me protection. Mai has said not to get gruesome, so I'll leave out the details. My poor Mohan knew less about fighting than a child. They killed him next, then Bert, Mai's brother, then Balbir, my son, and Eddie, Mai's brother. Finally, Mai and Mani were the only ones left standing.

Then everything stopped. I was not hallucinating and I am not making this up. Mai grew very big and black and her eyes were fire. She and the [male person] who had killed Sandeep were the only ones moving. Even the shaheeds just stood and watched. She calmly walked up to him and cut his throat. The blood spurted out all over her. She threw back her head and laughed. He had a look of terror that you couldn't imagine as he fell at her feet. I am a Sikh and, of course, I don't believe in such things as goddesses, but for that moment, my cousin looked like pictures I have seen of Ma Kali.

She became my cousin Mai again and time resumed. What followed looked more like a Chinese martial arts movie than anything that could really happen.

Both of them fought unbelievably. You can't imagine it. Finally Mani went down and Mai stood and stared for a moment, then she fell. The others were dead, but she wasn't. They beat her and beat her. Finally they left.

The shaheeds stayed gathered around her through all this, but didn't interfere. Several of the shaheeds came over and looked at me holding the Guru and bowed. After a time, Mai sat up and then kind of drug herself toward Mani. I could not believe she was still alive.

Then HE groaned. She crawled to him and sat up. The shaheeds withdrew some distance from them. Mani and Mai talked for a while. Then Mani smiled and shouted, slowly and clearly and deliberately, 'Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa!' The shaheeds all gathered around him. 'Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!' The room lit up and something happened. I have no way to describe it, so I won't try. Then, one by one, they came over and bowed down to Guru Ji and left.

Mai did her thing cleaning up the bodies. She got some pictures of the Gurus from me to show them what had happened. She gave the pictures back to me and then collapsed across Mani's body.

Shortly thereafter, some people came to rescue us. We can't get their permission to talk about that part, so this will be sketchy. They tried to pull Mai off Mani's body. They thought some sort of reflex kept her gripping him tightly. I know her, though, and I know exactly what was going on. She wasn't going to leave him, no matter what! She knew very well the house would be burnt and she'd burn with it and his body if she didn't get out. Our rescuers could believe she was unconscious; I didn't. I had to convince her to let go. But I was still clutching Guru Ji and still hardly able to walk. All I could do was scream at her that sati was totally unacceptable to a Sikh, even more so to a Khalsa and she had to let go and get out of there!

Finally, they pried her loose and carried her and helped me walk out. They took her to safety and I stood nearby, totally numb, still with a tight grip on guru Ji, and watched the house burn, while our rescuers stayed by me for my protection. At least our men's bodies were properly creamated intact and undefiled.

I tried to pray, but all I could do was picture some Gurmukhi words. Mai was dead, no heartbeat, no breathing, but they managed to revive her. Some time later we were put on a private plane that eventually landed us in Montreal. Mai was in a coma for four weeks, but, as you know, eventually recovered.

I gave birth to Hope in Montreal without incident.

Now, please do not try to tell me that I didn't see what I saw! I know what happened to other women in my situation. I was not molested or harmed; the mob seemed to be totally unaware of my presence. The shaheeds protected me and guarded over all of us, believe what you want.That is my story. Mai has promised to post it even though she thinks it didn't happen.

And whoever reads this, don't believe those libelous stories that say we were just slaughtered. Some of us fought, and fought well. I know. I was there. I saw it.


It has just occurred to me that both of us report manifestations beyond the ordinary in these two stops on the road. I wonder if this is the norm? I think it can't be unusual as we are ordinary Khalsa women (if anyone can actually call any Khalsa ordinary) caught up in these events I have heard vague stories of nihangs appearing and the like during other violent events in Sikh history. Had it not happened to me, I would have found it hard to believe.

If anyone else would like to post something similar here, please contact us. Of course, it would be great for you to start your own blog. It's easy to do and the more blogs we have, the greater chance that someone will actually read it. Or if you would be willing to list your relevant website or blog here, we'd love it.


27 January 2007

A Radical's Evolution - Part I

Our first stop on the road.

I long thought the whole idea of Khalistan was ridiculous. The in 1984 some things happened to me, first in Amritsar, then in Delhi.

Here is the first part of the story.

This is another story I had not intended to tell publicly, but the family have prevailed upon me because, they say, it's a great story, and might actually give someone some encouragement someday. So here goes.I have cleaned up the story and the language considerably, since I want to keep my blog at a PG-13 rating. It was a lot rougher than I have actually written it. [Maman read what I had written and said, 'Cleaning up is one thing. Whitewashing is another. Mani wrote me about what he saw and you've left out almost everything. If this is to be any kind of a record, you need to add at least some of that.' OK, I'll try to add some. The new stuff will be written like this.]

June 5, 1984. We had been in Amritsar since mid-May, visiting relatives, of which we have many in that area. The date, for those of you who don't recognise it, was the beginning of Operation Blue Star or more properly, Ghallughara, when the Indian army stormed the Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple), looking for 'terrorists.' They found thousands of people there commemorating the anniversary of the shaheedi of Guru Arjun Dev Ji. They opened fire on the whole complex, and killed, who knows how many. Fortunately, we were at a cousin's house when it all started and thus were safe, or so it seemed.

No such luck. Two days later, the police barged in and took us all. Fortunately, as it turned out, the three of us had our passports on us. I'm not sure exactly where we were taken, a police station somewhere. They separated the men and the women; I was afraid that that was last I'd see of my men.Then they put each of us women in different rooms.

And I waited.

For the first time in my life, I was really scared. After a time, a very young policeman came in. Although my hands were bound behind me, I managed to pull out my Canadian passport.

He was not impressed.'Are you Sikh?' Expressionless.

'Yes.' Calmly.

'Wrong answer.' He slapped me across the face.

'Are you Sikh?' Expressionless.

'Yes.' Calmly.

'Wrong answer.' He slapped me HARD across the face.

'Are you Sikh?' Expressionless.

'Yes.' Calmly.

'Wrong answer. And you're also really stupid.' He doubled up his fist and slugged me in the mouth.

'Are you Sikh?'

Smiling slightly.'Yes. I'm Khalsa.' Blood was coming out of my mouth. I wish I could say I was unafraid, but that would be a lie. A BIG lie. I have, to this day, never been so terrified in my life. But I managed to keep my voice steady.

He reached over to me and tore my shirt off. Then he pulled out my kirpan. 'The little Saint Soldier has her little knife, I see.' In a sarcastic voice. He drew the blade across my throat. I laughed nervously. A strange reaction.Unlike most Sikhs, I usually do not carry a blunt kirpan. I know, I know. A kirpan is a religious article, not a weapon. I'm sorry if I offend anyone here, and I know I will, but I have never believed that our father Guru Gobind Singh Ji intended us to be unarmed. I usually carried a razor-sharp two-edged medieval French war dagger that had belonged to a lady ancestor of mine. I suppose it couldn't really be called a kirpan, but it was what I carried. I'm not sure why that day, I didn't have HT, my dagger, on me. If I had, I would be dead. So I laughed nervously.

That seemed to infuriate him and he pulled my pants down. At this point a second cop came in. The first one started pulling at my hair. 'You Khalsa have a real fetish about this, don't you? Is it true that you'll die before letting it be cut?'

I nodded. 'Yes.'

'Stupid. '

The second cop handed him a big pair a scissors. He pointed them at my hair. 'I'm going to use these. The choice is yours: here,' pointing at my hair, 'or here?' He cut the top of my kechera, so they fell down. pointed at the scissors my crotch. [He laughed and laughed.]

Paralysed with terror, I said nothing, but inside I screamed with every fibre of my being, 'GOBIND!!!!' No 'Guru,' no 'Singh,' no 'Ji.' Just, ' GOBIND!!!!'The result was instantaneous. I was not afraid. I was not in pain. I don't know how I knew they wouldn't dare cut my hair; I couldn't care less what else they might do to me. My dad's words came to me: 'No one can humiliate me without my consent.'

I laughed. 'I'm Khalsa.'

I looked at the mirror across the room. I'm not a complete idiot. I know mirrors in interrogation rooms are one way glass. And I was certain that the cops were forcing my son and husband to watch this. Sadistic f*cking bastards! I nodded to my unseen men and smiled.

He slugged me in the stomach. It didn't hurt. He slugged me like that several more times until he finally knocked me off my feet and I fell to the floor. I have never felt so calm and complete, as strange as that sounds. I was completely unafraid.He stood over me and stared at me, now completely naked, lying on the floor. He kicked me in the head repeatedly. Then, he pulled me up by my hair and with the help of his colleague sat me in a chair. He cut open a hot chili and rubbed it all over my face, up my nose and into my eyes. I didn't react at all.

[He opened my legs and rubbed the chili all over my vaginal area. The second one pulled me forward to my feet, while the first one shoved it up my anus. He pulled it out and stuffed it into my mouth. The whole time, he was trying to taunt me by saying all sorts of insulting things. None of it got through to me at all. I will not record what he said, partly because it was mostly in colloquial Punjabi, of which I understood little, and partly because it would serve no purpose beyond teaching someone how to be insulting.]

After he finished with the chili, he started with the scissors, which turned out to be very sharp. Little cuts, not big ones, all over my breasts, then my stomach. When I didn't react to that, the bottoms of my feet. By this time, he was completely livid. I thought he was going to maybe cut my throat or gouge my eyes.

Again he grabbed me by the hair and threw me on the ground, and opened my legs. He raised the scissors over my crotch, clearly intending to use them as a weapon of rape. He stopped, clearly savouring the moment.

At exactly that instance, the door opened and someone burst through, yelling. 'Stop!! We have orders not to mess with the Canadians.

'He glared at me, with pure hatred. But he stopped. The second cop untied my wrists.

I stood up, pulled up my kechera, then my pants. My shirt was torn beyond any usefulness, though. My mouth was still full of blood. which I spat on the floor at his feet. He spoke, very softly, so only I could hear,'If I ever see you again, you'll be sorry I didn't finish with you today.'

[So what was going on in me, while he was torturing me? (I believe this does qualify as torture.) I could see, hear and feel everything that was going on. But I felt no pain, either physically or psychologically, then or later. Instead, I was aware of various voices singing the Mool Mantar, over and over. It was the most beautiful thing you could imagine. It completely transported my being to another level where pain simply doesn't exist. This was the second time something like this had happened to me in this life - and it has not been repeated since.

[I was operating in two completely different states of being. All of my senses seemed to be in overdrive. My hearing was enhanced. Colours were vivid and alive. I was fully, completely conscious and aware. I want to emphasize that I was not being brave or strong or heroic. And I am not masochistic. I was as calmly joyful as I could ever imagine being. It simply made no difference to me what they were doing. Why do I think this happened to me? Because I relied on a promise made by one who was a father to me. There is nothing special about me in this. Any Khalsa in this position has the right, perhaps even the obligation to do the same. No special, secret words, no silly rituals, just the total intention.

[I'd like to make a couple of aside comments here. First, there are still a few things I have left out, for the sake of decency. I was not raped., if rape is vaginal penetration. Please notice that it takes nothing fancy to torture someone, no special equipment, in this case, just a chili, a pair of scissors and something to tie my hands. Also, very little imagination.

[I have not mentioned that, at this time, I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. They, of course, had no way of knowing that. Not that it would have made any difference to them! Why I didn't lose the babies then and there I can only ascribe to the fact that I was being protected by my Guru in some fashion.]

I just kept smiling. "I'd like my kirpan back, please.' The second cop handed it to me, along with my passport.

They took me, still half naked and bleeding, to a hallway, where I was reunited with Mani and Sandeep. With great dignity, my son took off his shirt and helped me put it on. 'Here, Mom.' His voice was shaking a bit. I looked at them. They had been roughed up a bit, and normally neither would have ever tied a turban so sloppily. We would discuss all that later. I evidently got the worst treatment, physically.

Later we discussed the incident. Mani looked in my eyes. 'There for a moment, I thought you might break.'

I met his gaze. 'So did I'

'I could see you change. All of a sudden, it was like you became someone else. What happened?'

I told him.

He turned to our son. (Of course, all this happened 22 years ago, so all the quotes have been approximations, except this, which I remember verbatim.) 'Your mother is a magnificent person. You won't find another like her, but I hope when you get married, you'll marry a woman you can love and admire as much as I do my wife.' What woman could possibly forget such praise from her husband? (It goes both ways. A man could not forget such praise from his wife, either.)

Sandeep looked at me, and said, in a whisper, 'Mom, you were so lucky they got stopped when they did.'

Both of us said, in unison, 'Luck had nothing to do with it.'

I will leave the story there, only noting that it was not my strength and courage that made me strong; it was a gift from my father Guru. The only part I can really take any credit for is crying out for help when I needed it.

[We could not get back to our family home that day, but fortunately, some good people saw us right outside the police station and took us in.

[Although some of the city's water was cut off, where our host family lived, it was running. I felt incredibly dirty. Thank God for a good shower! Mani helped me clean up, washed and conditioned my hair - which, against all odds, was intact - and combed it out for me. He couldn't believe I could walk on those lacerated feet, but even afterward, while I was healing, I was in no pain. I have a few scars left, my hearing was slightly damaged, but nothing too important. Mani, being a physician, thoroughly examined me, but even with the beating I had taken, there were no major injuries.]

[Our hosts, who were Hindus, gave us clean clothes, some really good food, comfortable beds and a feeling that there were still some decent people in Amritsar. We burned our old clothes, except I kept the shirt Sandeep had given to me. Our family in Amritsar is still keeping it today, as a remembrance.]

There is much more I could write about Amritsar at this time, the smell, the heat, the noxious insects, the sacred sarovar filled with blood and dead bodies, but that can be found elsewhere on the net. I'm trying to record only my personal experiences.[Now, Maman has read the new version and is almost satisfied with it , so I will leave it as it is.]
For more information, try Googling or Yahooing on 'Operation Blue Star.'
This is the kind of crap I read all the time. One hundred dead. More like hundreds or even thousands. Tell the truth at least a little bit, guys? And terrorists? I don't think so.

Temple Seizure, June 5, 1984: Sikh terrorists seized the Golden Temple inAmritsar, India. One hundred people died ?????when Indian security forcesretook the Sikh holy shrine.

Assassination of Indian Prime Minister, October 31, 1984: Premier IndiraGandhi was shot to death by members of her security force.u2r2h blog - http://u2r2h.blogspot.com


26 January 2007


This is the British map of the Punjab, dated 1909, before the illegal, immoral, disastrous partition brought about by the perfidy of Mohandas K. Gandhi