My little sister. Kamal, sent me a link today which I followed and I must share with you. It starts out:
"They were in their mothers stomach, just delivered, toddlers or school going children in 1984 when their fathers, uncles or siblings were butchered in the anti-sikh riots in Delhi which left almost 3000 sikhs dead. These children were suddenly wrenched out from their cosy family life and hurled into the world of neglect, apathy and abuse. They grew up in the shadow of the riots, struggling between going to school and making a living. Their fathers were killed and their mothers either remarried or were so busy working to eek out a living that the kids were virtually forgotten. 25 years on they have grown up into young men. Some wayward due to the neglect , others unemployed due to lack education, and yet few others transformed their lives by sheer grit and determination. These are their stories."
"Sheer grit and determination" I interpret to be that great Sikh virtue of chardi kala, which means, among other things, we never give up, no matter what!
This is the introduction to an incredible collection of pictures and the stories that go with them. These are photographs by Sanjay Austa, a professional photographer. PLEASE go check out From Children To Adults-1984 Anti-Sikh Riot Victims. I know I ask a lot of my readers, from keeping kesh to signing petitions. Here is one more action I ask of you. It won't be painless, but it will be worthwhile.
I'll have a picture here, if I can get the photographer's permission.)
After looking at all these pictures and reading their brief histories, do you feel the need to do SOMETHING? I have a suggestion. Please take this idea to your gurudwara, wherever you are in the world.
A long time ago, I tried to get a programme going in India, invite one of the widows and her kids to join your household as an honoured family member. In India, even Sikhs don't like widows in close proximity. Not even the widows of our beloved, honoured shaheeds.
But why can't our gurudwaras do that from wherever we happen to be? Someone over there would have to find individual survivors and then they could be helped in whatever way is necessary on a one-to-one basis.
I think that kind of personal touch would help a lot. "Somebody really cares about me, as an individual, as a human being." Remember, these women feel unloved, unwanted, unappreciated...We here complain about that, but our situation is heavenly compared to them. So I suggest personal visits, if possible. When we visit Punjab, take detour to Delhi and go meet the families.
There were maybe about 10,000 Sikh heads of household killed...(I don't believe the smaller numbers)..With more than 20,000,000 Sikhs - about 4-5,000,000 families, certainly we can take care of our own. The Sikh establishment, namely the SGPC, has dropped the ball. I suggest thast we ordinary, everyday Sikhs pick up the ball and run with it.