| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 8 May 2016 | Asia Samachar |
By Surinderpal Kaur
History has often revealed acts of violence against certain groups that stem simply from the inability to accept these groups because of their differences from the norm in terms of ethnicity, religion, ideological beliefs or even their sexuality. Stories abound about the deaths of millions of Jews during the Holocaust, the organised mass killings of thousands in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, the ethnic cleansing that took place in the Bosnian War and in Rwanda amongst others. The events that unfolded in these tragedies are told with great accuracy, the victims are remembered reverently while the survivors of these tragedies have been able to share their stories with the world.
International tribunals, courts of justice and courts of human rights have unequivocally declared these tragedies as crimes against humanity, finding the perpetrators guilty of abhorrent crimes.
There are of course many similar events in history which have not been recognised much less redressed. There is one particular tragedy in history which has yet to be acknowledged, addressed and redressed, a carnage that I am connected to due to my own personal identification with the group that was victimised. I am talking about the 1984 Delhi anti-Sikh riots – acts of violence that took the lives of many Sikh men, women and children.
I may not have personally known the victims but the blood that was shed is connected to me in ways that I cannot even begin to describe. Call it by whatever label – pogrom, massacre, genocide – what matters truly is that acts of violence were committed against the Sikhs which have yet to be redressed by the world at large.
Today the events that took place more than two decades ago in another country may seem to be distanced from our daily lives. Many of our young people today do not know much about the tragedy apart from knowing that 1984 was a year of some significance to Sikhs. Some Sikhs are apathetic about what occurred, not really wanting to concern themselves with events that are long gone, not seeing any relevance to the current world. Yet events are still relevant to our world and the narratives of the survivors deserve to be told and retold.
Kultar’s Mime shows in Malaysia:
20/5 at 3pm Melaka
21/5 at 3pm Melaka
22/5 at 6pm JB
23/5 at 7pm Petaling Jaya
25/5 at 7pm Ipoh
27/5 at 7pm Penang
29/5 at 6pm KL
Book tickets here (http://www.kultarsmime.asia)
This is why when I received that phone call requesting my help in organising the performances of Kultar’s Mime in Malaysia, I readily agreed. It is a play that not only takes me back to 1984 but also connects me to the current world wide events where acts of violence are constantly perpetrated against innocent victims. Victims of intense and irrational hatred are not only polarised by divisive propaganda, but worse, dehumanised and exterminated as if they are mere insects. Tragically, the young children are the most vulnerable of victims in situations such as these. Kultar’s Mime provides a voice to these voiceless young victims. It tells us that the 1984 tragedy should not be forgotten and left to the footnotes of history. Knowing all this, how could I say no to help bring Kultar’s Mime to our shores?
Dr Surinderpal Kaur, a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya, is also involved in a number of other Sikh activities in Malaysia
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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