October 31, 1984: As Rakesh Remembers

In a letter to my sons with a copy of my blog entry under the heading- October 31, 1984, I had requested them to write what they remember of the day. The day was mentally torturous for the family. Here is one from Rakesh, the eldest from Danville,

I was in Narendrapur when Indira Gandhi was slain by her own bodyguards.

It was a time of utter grief and despair for a nation that had prided itself as having the Mahatma as its Father – a beacon of non-violence the world over. The irony is written all over – the Iron lady of India had Gandhi in her name too.

News were hard to come by on that day – and whatever was coming out was spotty and full of dark, sometime gory details.. This bit was clearn – Several among us.. Hindus.. had turned murderers en-masse. We had turned againt our own kind – our brothers.. and sisters – The Sikhs – at the instigation of a small, well coordinated minority of thugs and killers.. politically or otherwise motivated. Sikhs – who had through some of the toughest and brutal test of history – stood up with valor and courage to defend the pride and the Motherland of India.

Indira was no more.. India..as I knew it was to be no more..

Young, impressionable, passionate.. mercurial.. we held debates.. our college – RK Mission, Narendrapur – was closed. We had a fast and prayer session. Then.. the memory gets spottier … One memory is clear – Rajeev Ranjan galvanized us all – in 11th grade – to fast, as a mark of PROTEST.. Thinking about it .. it was most DETEST and repungance at the actions of these so-called ‘Hindu majority’ for turning against their own.. subjecting even the children and women to indignities that I heard second and third hand. It was a day of national shame, if not national calamity..

May the brave lady .. despite her blemishes .. rest in peace.. may we NEVER rest until we have wiped out the seeds of discord that made us stoop to such depths of inhumanity on that day.

Rakesh Sharma

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