The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide

The 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogroms Remembered

© Gauri Gill, 2005

The genocidal pogroms against the Sikh people in India in November 1984 left thousands dead. In many of the outer areas of the capital, New Delhi, whole neighbourhoods were wiped out. Women were raped in large numbers. Senior politicians of the Congress (I) party led mobs, assisted by the police and administration. Thirty years on no memorials exist to the dead and the perpetrators continue to enjoy complete impunity. But the silence is slowly breaking. Not just about the damage caused to the justice system, memory and language in India, but also about the individual and collective trauma that exists within Sikh communities across the world. 

Marking the 30th anniversary of the November 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms, the Wiener Library is delighted to feature the work 1984: Jis tann lãgé soee jãné by photographer Gauri Gill. The images and texts from the artist's 1984 notebooks reflect upon the pogroms and their ongoing impact in India. The images are from the resettlement colonies of Trilokpuri, Tilak Vihar and Garhi - various sites across Delhi - as well as protest rallies in the city. The accompanying texts by leading artists, poets, filmmakers and writers from Delhi remark upon the event, via the images, in thoughtful ways. 

The exhibition also contains photographs of the pogrom as it occurred in November 1984 itself, and are drawn from the work of Indian photographers, Ashok Vahie, Ram Rahman and Sondeep Shankar. 

Contributors to this project include contemporary Indian artist Arpana Caur; Senior Advocate and Human Rights activist, Harvinder Singh Phoolka, academic Dr Navsharan Singh; eminent historian Dr Uma Chakravarti; prizewinning Canadian author Jaspreet Singh and Parvinder Singh of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). 

Image right: Sikhs protesting against the Nanavati Commission report. New Delhi 2005. Copyright Gauri Gill.

Admission to the exhibition is free. Open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday, and until 7.30pm on Tuesdays.

The exhibition has been extended until 23 January 2015.