In Solidarity

Through various posts on this blog, we have discussed the idea of activism (and even lacktivism) within the Sikh community. Recently I have been thinking about what activism meant to our parents’ and grandparents’ generation and in what form they expressed their personal and political thoughts. Twenty four years later, as we remember the events of 1984, we are reminded of how much these events raised Sikh consciousness. It is also a historic event in another sense. The response to the events of 1984 allowed for our parents and grandparents to stand in solidarity with other Sikhs and in doing so, mark their place in Sikh history on both a personal and political sense.

During those days and weeks following the invasion of the Darbar Sahib, hundreds and thousands of Sikhs took part in protests. I remember hearing about these stories from my Dad who ardently took part in these protests in London and Liverpool. However, what was more striking to me, was the role my Mum Mom played in these protests. I remember visiting a museum whilst on a school trip (a few years after 1984) and seeing pictures of the protests on display. I was caught off-guard as I saw a picture of my mother with her fist in the air protesting alongside other Sikh men and women. That image has stayed with me – essentially the activism that has always existed and remains to exist within our community. I wasn’t able to find much press about these protests, but did come across this clip.

Please share your thoughts/memories.


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12 Responses to “In Solidarity”

  1. Mewa Singh says:

    Also in solidarity….

    1984 marks some of my first politically conscious Sikh memories. Parnaam Shaheedan Nu!

    Also, I enjoyed the word-play. I think we have a new term to add to the vocabulary of The Langar Hall

    Lack-tivism – Verb: The act of watching someone attempt to do something while you do nothing and sitting smugly by and say “you’re doing it wrong; I am so much smarter and important than you to see that”.

    Activists aren’t born, they become. They learn, then they become.

  2. Mewa Singh says:

    Also in solidarity….
    1984 marks some of my first politically conscious Sikh memories. Parnaam Shaheedan Nu!

    Also, I enjoyed the word-play. I think we have a new term to add to the vocabulary of The Langar Hall

    Lack-tivism – Verb: The act of watching someone attempt to do something while you do nothing and sitting smugly by and say “you’re doing it wrong; I am so much smarter and important than you to see that”.

    Activists aren’t born, they become. They learn, then they become.

  3. […] Yesterday’s post by Sundari got me thinking. When I saw the videos of the from the BBC footage from those days in 1984, I began wondering can the Sikh community mobilize like that again? Under what circumstances could it or even should it mass mobilize? […]

  4. Maestro says:

    A very nice way to remember 1984.

    As Sikhs we should also show our activism and solidarity with injustices occuring in other parts of the world. Sikhs should be the first to stand by their brothers and sisters suffering in Darfur.

  5. Maestro says:

    Also, it is troubling to me that many young Sikhs are unaware of the significance of 1984. For example, I don't think any young individuals of the Jewish faith would/could ever forget about the holocaust. In a similar way, young Sikhs should not forget about our own genocide, and my fear is they don't even know about it. Maybe that is our own shortcoming.

  6. Maestro says:

    A very nice way to remember 1984.

    As Sikhs we should also show our activism and solidarity with injustices occuring in other parts of the world. Sikhs should be the first to stand by their brothers and sisters suffering in Darfur.

  7. Maestro says:

    Also, it is troubling to me that many young Sikhs are unaware of the significance of 1984. For example, I don’t think any young individuals of the Jewish faith would/could ever forget about the holocaust. In a similar way, young Sikhs should not forget about our own genocide, and my fear is they don’t even know about it. Maybe that is our own shortcoming.

  8. yadig says:

    I think there is not enough activism because there are too many groups.

    This generation can be all about 1984 but lets think about this if 1984 happened again would any of youth here act the same way our parents generation did? We do not have a strong bond like they did with their homeland and I think this why it was such a momentous change, or revolutions outside of India. Its because these people were for lack of a better word "FOBs" America was not there home punjab and Amritsar were their homes. The people here felt that their home was being attacked and that is why they rose. The change now is how many of us actually feel punjab is a homeland? I think our generation has made America our homeland and that is why I dont know how to put in archive, but I think these Rajwant guys from DC are trying to make that homeland here. I think that is why they do some of the unnecessary stuff they do, because goray do the same thing.

    Also I wanted to divert some attention to some good things the older people have been doing in America. Every June 4th they have a mujara or protest in front of the indian embassy, one year somebody should go there from the youth and look how much they are involved. Its not their time anymore its time for the Sikh Youth, haha, to stand up and take over these events. Just some thoughts.

    YA DIG…..?

  9. yadig says:

    I think there is not enough activism because there are too many groups.
    This generation can be all about 1984 but lets think about this if 1984 happened again would any of youth here act the same way our parents generation did? We do not have a strong bond like they did with their homeland and I think this why it was such a momentous change, or revolutions outside of India. Its because these people were for lack of a better word “FOBs” America was not there home punjab and Amritsar were their homes. The people here felt that their home was being attacked and that is why they rose. The change now is how many of us actually feel punjab is a homeland? I think our generation has made America our homeland and that is why I dont know how to put in archive, but I think these Rajwant guys from DC are trying to make that homeland here. I think that is why they do some of the unnecessary stuff they do, because goray do the same thing.

    Also I wanted to divert some attention to some good things the older people have been doing in America. Every June 4th they have a mujara or protest in front of the indian embassy, one year somebody should go there from the youth and look how much they are involved. Its not their time anymore its time for the Sikh Youth, haha, to stand up and take over these events. Just some thoughts.

    YA DIG…..?

  10. Sundari says:

    yadig – I see your points and agree that perhaps many Sikh youth do not identify with 1984 or Panjab being their homeland. However, I disagree with you when you suggest that young Sikhs from "our" generation would not act in a way similar to our parents. I think the circumstances are different now and therefore how we respond to events and issues will also be different. Activism comes in all shapes and forms. There are plenty of young Sikhs advocating for issues they are passionate about and issues that affect them now. Plenty of young Sikhs advocate for Darfur, are feeding the homeless through organizations like Sikhcess, sign petitions to stop hate crimes, and stand up for human rights. As Sikhs, we should be concerned about global injustices and not only those that affect our community. There are also plenty of young Sikhs who are still outraged about the events and subsequent impact of 1984. And because of this, I do believe that we have the potential to act in a way similar to our parents. I just hope we never have to.

  11. Sundari says:

    yadig – I see your points and agree that perhaps many Sikh youth do not identify with 1984 or Panjab being their homeland. However, I disagree with you when you suggest that young Sikhs from “our” generation would not act in a way similar to our parents. I think the circumstances are different now and therefore how we respond to events and issues will also be different. Activism comes in all shapes and forms. There are plenty of young Sikhs advocating for issues they are passionate about and issues that affect them now. Plenty of young Sikhs advocate for Darfur, are feeding the homeless through organizations like Sikhcess, sign petitions to stop hate crimes, and stand up for human rights. As Sikhs, we should be concerned about global injustices and not only those that affect our community. There are also plenty of young Sikhs who are still outraged about the events and subsequent impact of 1984. And because of this, I do believe that we have the potential to act in a way similar to our parents. I just hope we never have to.

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