New Film Unites Anti-Sikh and Anti-Muslim Massacres

July 17, 2004 | Comments Off on New Film Unites Anti-Sikh and Anti-Muslim Massacres

A new film called Kaya Taran (Chrysallis), based on a Malayam short story called When Big Trees Fall, uses memories of the 1984 Sikh pogroms to reflect on the 2002 Gujarat pogroms against Muslims:

Shifting through past and present, the tale follows the lives of Preet (Angad Bedi), a Delhi reporter working on a story on religious conversions, and the head nun of a Meerut convent (Seema Biswas).

As Preet unravels the layers of his story, he enters the murky world of memory — of the widespread murder of Sikhs after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984….

The story, Kumar believes, is particularly pertinent even as tales of the Gujarat riots continue to create headlines and debate. Through his film, Kumar tries to build correlations between the separate acts of hatred, separated by almost two decades and yet so similar in vitriol.

One Sikh viewer commented on the impact of the film:

It can never stop bothering me,” said Charanjit Singh, a Sikh who had come with his wife and eight-year-old son. “My own brother was killed, set ablaze with a burning tyre around his neck. You can never forget these things.”

Singh said he had come to show his son a glimpse of the “sad history”. “He should also know,” Singh told IANS after the show. “It’s good to know the pains of your parents.”

Read the ENSAAF report Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India for more first hand accounts of the 1984 pogroms, and the search for justice.


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