I want sukh, peace, said Shanti. She had watched her three sons, one of them an infant, and husband torched alive by marauding mobs. The sixty-five-year-old Sikh woman from a west Delhi slum said that the police had inserted a stick inside her.
The distraught man spoke a single sentence but repeated it twice in chaste Punjabi: ‘Please give me a turban. I want nothing else.’
In the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, 2,733 Sikhs were burnt, stabbed, beaten and otherwise hunted to their deaths across Delhi. Many of them were children. Several hundreds were killed elsewhere in the country. Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay uses personal histories to expose the truth of a state-sponsored riot: the thousands of lives that were destroyed, the cruel apathy of subsequent governments, the lack of reparations, the denial of justice. Poignant and raw, Sikhs: The Untold Agony of 1984 lays bare the innards of one of the most shameful episodes of sectarian violence in post-Independent India.