Lahir 2009: The Movement Has Only Begun

Lahir_2_HS.jpgThis past Saturday night, twenty artists from all over the country took to the mic in front of a packed and energetic crowd at the University of Maryland for Lahir 2009. It was a powerful evening of remembrance and reflection to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh Holocaust, organized by the DC Sikh Youth.

It was amazing to see teenagers, college students, young professionals, and even a few parents take to the stage and share their thoughts and reflections about 1984, human rights, and justice. Not only did the performers span across generations, but the performances themselves ranged in art form from musical pieces, poetry, and spoken word.

For me, it was fascinating to see how different each of the performers connected with 1984 – early in the show one artist eloquently recited an excerpt from Sirdar Kapur Singh’s 1966 speech to parliament, another tied environmental issues and water rights to 1984, while others shared personal accounts, poetry, dharmik geets, and dhadi vaaran. Regardless of how different each artist connected to 1984…the connection itself was strong…and watching that unfold on stage was absolutely breathtaking!

The evening concluded with G.N.E performing some of their recent tracks in front of their hometown audience. Seeing uncles and aunties “waving from side to side” was definitely a sight to remember.

For much of the last 25 years, Sikhs have been portrayed in a negative light around the events of 1984. We have quietly criticized the media – and while on the defensive – tried to point out inaccuracies about what actually happened…but it seemed we never really had a voice…..Saturday night, that voice was heard loud and clear! This 25th anniversary has produced several projects and initiatives that have helped document the Sikh experience of 1984, and these open mic events have also proved to be a powerful medium to document our story. I hope to see more and more of these events pop up throughout the country and abroad.

As the show came to a close Saturday night…the jakaaray kept going and the audience didnt want to leave their seats…I kept thinking to myself, the show might be over…but the movement has only begun!

Lahir_1_HK.jpg

Here, here and here are some video clips of Lahir 2009
Photos: Courtesy of Japnam Kaur


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20 Responses to “Lahir 2009: The Movement Has Only Begun”

  1. Hari Singh says:

    Doesn't the author thinks many of the videos contain usual anti-India rhetoric? Some of them are quite insidious challenging the concept of India. It becomes diatribe against India rather than serious work on human rights. I believe it pulls the majority of the youth away from these projects. Just by listening to these youtube videos, one is not going to find an insipiration, but rather a fodder to etch the minds of youth to divide the reality into ''us'' vs. ''them''.

  2. Hari Singh says:

    Doesn’t the author thinks many of the videos contain usual anti-India rhetoric? Some of them are quite insidious challenging the concept of India. It becomes diatribe against India rather than serious work on human rights. I believe it pulls the majority of the youth away from these projects. Just by listening to these youtube videos, one is not going to find an insipiration, but rather a fodder to etch the minds of youth to divide the reality into ”us” vs. ”them”.

  3. Singh Soorma says:

    You're a clown Hari Singh. You attempt to utilize vocabulary that you found in a thesaurus in an attempt to make your silly argument remotely credible. Of course there is some anti-India sentiment among Sikhs; thousands of our brothers and sisters were slaughtered in STATE sponsored pogroms, yet no viable resolution has come into play. You want to start a pro-India confrontation on a pro-Sikh blog, go do it somewhere else. I wish I had an opportunity to directly engage with you in conversation – face to face.

  4. Singh Soorma says:

    You’re a clown Hari Singh. You attempt to utilize vocabulary that you found in a thesaurus in an attempt to make your silly argument remotely credible. Of course there is some anti-India sentiment among Sikhs; thousands of our brothers and sisters were slaughtered in STATE sponsored pogroms, yet no viable resolution has come into play. You want to start a pro-India confrontation on a pro-Sikh blog, go do it somewhere else. I wish I had an opportunity to directly engage with you in conversation – face to face.

  5. Hari Singh says:

    Why it has drawn your ire and made your blood boil?

    Why don't you tolerate dissent?

    People like you would also accuse me of being completely careless about the justice given to 1984 Sikh massacre. Why?

    Perhaps people would understand that India bashing days are gone. It does not resonate with people anymore. If it does, then I don't have any problem and you do it as loudly as you can. But everyone knows it doesn't.

    One more thing, which you did not answer when you started insulting me, is that why you want to create a situation of "Sikh" vs. "Rest of India" again.

  6. Hari Singh says:

    Why it has drawn your ire and made your blood boil?
    Why don’t you tolerate dissent?
    People like you would also accuse me of being completely careless about the justice given to 1984 Sikh massacre. Why?

    Perhaps people would understand that India bashing days are gone. It does not resonate with people anymore. If it does, then I don’t have any problem and you do it as loudly as you can. But everyone knows it doesn’t.
    One more thing, which you did not answer when you started insulting me, is that why you want to create a situation of “Sikh” vs. “Rest of India” again.

  7. Singh Soorma says:

    Listen Hari Singh,

    It seems as if you're posing stupid questions that you already know the answer to. Are you seriously going to ask a Sikh HOW the '84 pogroms have made us irate?! Please tell me you're just acting out of your clownish ways. What dissent are you offering? For us to simply forget about the injustices that occurred upon Sikhs 25 years ago? People accuse you of being careless because you're a complete ignorant [deleted…Admin] you are simply telling a group of Sikhs that they should in some manner forget about what happened to us in years past and move on. How the hell do you think that is even an equitable suggestion?

    In terms of your second issue on Sikhs vs the rest of India – you must be an idiot for taking the feelings of a handful of youth in a certain region and lay that over an entire Quam. I think it's a complete waste of my time even attempting to refute this argument of yours simply because you it has no real footing. Have you considered asking the Muslims of Gujrat how they feel about the Indian government recently? Yea…I don't think that will yield positive commentary. If you're going to argue, make it worth someones time and don't bring this pity bullish into play.

  8. Singh Soorma says:

    Listen Hari Singh,

    It seems as if you’re posing stupid questions that you already know the answer to. Are you seriously going to ask a Sikh HOW the ’84 pogroms have made us irate?! Please tell me you’re just acting out of your clownish ways. What dissent are you offering? For us to simply forget about the injustices that occurred upon Sikhs 25 years ago? People accuse you of being careless because you’re a complete ignorant [deleted…Admin] you are simply telling a group of Sikhs that they should in some manner forget about what happened to us in years past and move on. How the hell do you think that is even an equitable suggestion?

    In terms of your second issue on Sikhs vs the rest of India – you must be an idiot for taking the feelings of a handful of youth in a certain region and lay that over an entire Quam. I think it’s a complete waste of my time even attempting to refute this argument of yours simply because you it has no real footing. Have you considered asking the Muslims of Gujrat how they feel about the Indian government recently? Yea…I don’t think that will yield positive commentary. If you’re going to argue, make it worth someones time and don’t bring this pity bullish into play.

  9. RP Singh says:

    Thanks for your comment, Hari Singh. In general (as I've mentioned in previous posts), I believe our generation needs to move beyond hate-filled slogans and make more productive arguments regarding 1984. However, I felt the Lahir event covered a wide range of opinions, perspectives, and approaches to the subject. I would suggest watching some of the linked videos again and perhaps the other Lahir 2009 videos on YouTube before painting it with such a broad brush. Although you may not have connected with it, it is unfair to say others would not. There were some opinions shared that night that I agreed with and others I did not. We can argue over styles and "how things were said" all day…but what I've come to learn is – the most dangerous and damaging thing our generation can do is remain silent. Guru Fateh!

  10. RP Singh says:

    Thanks for your comment, Hari Singh. In general (as I’ve mentioned in previous posts), I believe our generation needs to move beyond hate-filled slogans and make more productive arguments regarding 1984. However, I felt the Lahir event covered a wide range of opinions, perspectives, and approaches to the subject. I would suggest watching some of the linked videos again and perhaps the other Lahir 2009 videos on YouTube before painting it with such a broad brush. Although you may not have connected with it, it is unfair to say others would not. There were some opinions shared that night that I agreed with and others I did not. We can argue over styles and “how things were said” all day…but what I’ve come to learn is – the most dangerous and damaging thing our generation can do is remain silent. Guru Fateh!

  11. Sukhi says:

    Usual trite Anti-India bile.

    @Soorma, what would you do face to face with the other commenter? Is the irony lost on you that your internet-warrior schtick threatening violence is the same thing we're trying to deplore by remembering '84.

  12. Sukhi says:

    Usual trite Anti-India bile.

    @Soorma, what would you do face to face with the other commenter? Is the irony lost on you that your internet-warrior schtick threatening violence is the same thing we’re trying to deplore by remembering ’84.

  13. Singh Soorma says:

    Sukhi,

    I am sorry it came off that way, however, in no way was I attempting to appear in an internet-warrior manner; I simply meant that if I were able to face this person face-to-face, I could exhibit to them the emotion I was feeling – something which is truly lost in online discussion. Engaging one in face-to-face conversation allows full expression of what's on your mind – not by physical means – but simply by verbal. I am sorry once again if both Sukhi, as well as Hari Singh, felt as if I was attempting to showcase some stupid form of internet warriorism.

  14. Singh Soorma says:

    Sukhi,

    I am sorry it came off that way, however, in no way was I attempting to appear in an internet-warrior manner; I simply meant that if I were able to face this person face-to-face, I could exhibit to them the emotion I was feeling – something which is truly lost in online discussion. Engaging one in face-to-face conversation allows full expression of what’s on your mind – not by physical means – but simply by verbal. I am sorry once again if both Sukhi, as well as Hari Singh, felt as if I was attempting to showcase some stupid form of internet warriorism.

  15. Harinder says:

    Keep a steady eye

    On what lies ahead;

    Waste no time

    On what is past!

    GGS, M5, 1096:12

  16. Harinder says:

    Keep a steady eye
    On what lies ahead;
    Waste no time
    On what is past!

    GGS, M5, 1096:12

  17. Amar Singh says:

    Dakhanay, Fifth Mehla:

    aagaahaa koo thraagh pishhaa faer n muhaddarraa ||

    Look ahead; don't turn your face backwards.

    naanak sijh eivaehaa vaar bahurr n hovee janamarraa ||1||

    O Nanak, be successful this time, and you shall not be reincarnated again. ||1||

    Refrain from using the one-liner approach. You are fooling yourself and fooling others who are reading this. We should always read bani in context.

    For e.g.

    Those men who act according to the orders of women are impure, filthy and foolish.

    GGS, M4, 304

    With this line, can you conclude that Guru Sahib is saying that women are treacherous human beings?

  18. Amar Singh says:

    Dakhanay, Fifth Mehla:

    aagaahaa koo thraagh pishhaa faer n muhaddarraa ||
    Look ahead; don’t turn your face backwards.

    naanak sijh eivaehaa vaar bahurr n hovee janamarraa ||1||
    O Nanak, be successful this time, and you shall not be reincarnated again. ||1||

    Refrain from using the one-liner approach. You are fooling yourself and fooling others who are reading this. We should always read bani in context.

    For e.g.

    Those men who act according to the orders of women are impure, filthy and foolish.

    GGS, M4, 304

    With this line, can you conclude that Guru Sahib is saying that women are treacherous human beings?

  19. David Khanna says:

    Amar Singh, please stop your hate spreading, attempting to arouse Sikh emotion and corruption of Sikhi. Time and time again Gurus and The Guru Granth Sahib talks of equality amongst the two genders. Your thoughts and views are from a Hindu angle and not from a Sikh angle…Sikhi is not only a new religion but more superior in granting equality to all.

  20. David Khanna says:

    Amar Singh, please stop your hate spreading, attempting to arouse Sikh emotion and corruption of Sikhi. Time and time again Gurus and The Guru Granth Sahib talks of equality amongst the two genders. Your thoughts and views are from a Hindu angle and not from a Sikh angle…Sikhi is not only a new religion but more superior in granting equality to all.