30 March 2007

'A Big Apology'

Earlier this month we received this e-mail. Thinking that the readers of our blog might like to read it, we have received the author's permission to publish it. We had offered to leave his name off, but he said it was matter of honour to him to support our cause. He is now 33 years old and has recently moved to America. Here is his letter.

Respected writer,
I today happened to read about your life incidents on the
October 31 - November 6, 1984. I am very sorry for what had happened back then,
I just can't imagine the pain you must have gone through, If anything I offer
you heart felt condolences and a big and sincere apology on behalf of all Hindus
who participated in that gory act of vandalism and hate. Please understand that
tragedy was the work of very mindless individuals; and the larger community all
around the India at that time and still do sympathize with the victims and their
near and dear ones and if possible please don't hate all Hindus for the this
very reason.
Respectfully Yours
Suresh Sharma

Here is the reply from Maman (Vini):

Esteemed reader, Mr. Sharma,

Thank you for your gracious
note. Yes, we had a lot of pain and we still do and we always
Goodwill and the hope that people will not let it happen again
help keep us
going. Of course, we do not hate all Hindus. I
think I don't hate
any Hindus. I want justice, though. We all

you again for your note.

regards to you and your

Vini Kaur

And here is the reply from Mai and Suni:

Dear Mr. Sharma,

The three of us have been discussing your letter since
it came to our in boxes yesterday. Maman (Vini) has already answered you. So
this is from Mai and Suni, with Mai actually writing and Suni kibbitzing.

We are grateful for your sentiments. We hope our blog has put a human
face on this tragedy. After all, these things happened to real people, like us,
two normal, ordinary Sikh women caught up in abnormal, extraordinary
circumstances. We are more than happy to accept your apology on your own behalf.
Your sincerity is apparent and quite moving. However, you cannot really
apologise for others who may or may not be sorry for what they did. And I have
not heard a single apology from a real participant, only from a Sikh Prime
Minister on behalf of the government. I realise, of course, that an individual's
apology might result in legal trouble, so I don't expect any such thing.

If your sincerity extends to wanting to do something, might I suggest
aiding the survivors in Delhi? Many of them are living in a physical as well as
a mental and emotional hell. I know they accept any help with great gratitude.
We are fortunate ourselves, we could easily have ended up in that condition and
we ache for our sisters and our brothers who have not been able to recover even

Another, much more minor thing, you could do is not to
ridicule us; I'm sure you don't do that anyway. But these sardar jokes, the
Bollywood portrayals and the Santa/Banta jokes which aren't even funny have got
to go. It is much easier to mistreat people who are already treated with

As for hating Hindus, we simply don't, for lots of reasons.
To begin with, prejudice is a very heavy burden to bear - as well as being
immoral. It would be against the very foundation of Sikhism for us to indulge in
such evil.

A second reason, one we cannot tell in our blog, although we
wish we could, is that Hindus saved our lives.

It was like this:


But they are the only reason you
are reading this now.

In addition, the other members of the household,
who all survived uninjured, hid with Hindu friends, who were also taking risks
in aiding them.

On the other hand, on a lighter note, we do demand a
special respect from our Hindu friends - of which we have many - reminding them
that if it weren't for us Sikhs, they might well be called Muhammed or Miriam.

We appreciate the fact that you signed your name. That took a great deal
of courage.

We would like your permission to post your letter - without
your name, of course - on our blog. I'm sure many Singhs and Singhnis would be
very happy to read it. Please think about this: if you look for that bit of God
in each individual, you could never possibly mistreat anyone, ever.

warmest regards,

Mai and Suni

We have no idea how our readers will react to this, but we thought you should be given an opportunity to reply.