History is notorious for neglecting the female experience. Often times, young Kaurs page through Sikh history books thirsty to read about Kaur heros of the past, but sadly they are only given a few meager lines to read. This gap is due to the fact that history was predominately written by men. Men who perhaps viewed women to be unimportant to the human narrative. In the past, men exclusively occupied the “public” or “political” spheres of life, whereas women exclusively occupied the “private” or “domestic” spheres of life and thus men may have felt that women did not contribute to important events. So, men ignored them when writing history.
But the 1984 Living History Project is doing something different. They are honoring the lives of both Sikh men and women.
“1984 Living History Project’s mission is to capture the stories of anti-Sikh violence in India, while recognizing the survival and resilience of a people,” reads their website.
It is wonderful to see the 1984 Living History Project capturing women’s experiences about the 1984 Sikh Genocide, and preserving the stories for generations to come. So far, the Project has featured over 50 interview with Sikh women on their 1984 accounts.
These Sikh women’s legacies can inspire the Sikh community to fight for human rights. Knowledge of women’s strengths and contributions builds respect for Kaurs in Sikh society.
Though the 1984 Living History Project‘s intention may not have necessarily been to specially highlight women in history, they have illustrated the role Sikh women have played in giving themselves, their family, and their panth strength.
Now, The Project is seek your help.
“Through a do-it-yourself easy process, everyone can contribute videos to the Project and build our archive of Living History. See our step-by-step Toolkit.
This Project seeks to build awareness of state-sponsored human rights violations, suppression of information & social trauma.
Whether in Punjab, in Delhi, in Calcutta, in California, in Singapore, Nairobi or anywhere else in the world, any Sikh old enough to remember 1984 has a story to tell!
The 1984 Living History Project is a tribute to survival and strength. This Project was born at Saanjh, during a Bay Area Sikh leadership retreat, as young U.S. students and professionals discussed the importance of preserving memories, story-telling, and developing a layered understanding of the 1984 events that changed the Sikh people forever.
The videos we began collecting illustrated one fact: Sikhs will forever share 1984 as a common experience, across differences, as a community; whether direct victims of violence, or then in faraway places; whether bankers or farmers or doctors or government employees; whether men or women or girls or boys; whether young or old; whether rich or poor; whether professionals or students; whether politically left-wing or right-wing or in between …
So, help us with this project of remembrance and solidarity!
During 2014, marking 30 years since the deadly events of 1984, we are marking a Year of Videos.
We invite you to submit a video, or tens of videos, that simply capture what an individual remembers about 1984, the June Army attacks and/or the November pogroms. True to the spirit equal representation and opportunity, we strongly encourage all to, as far as possible, record videos that follow a similar format.
Please read the Toolkit for Your Video with resources in Punjabi and English before making your own videos.
Thanks for preserving our virsaa, our living history.”