by Angela LeBlanc

Jaspreet and Birpartap sit in my classroom
hands folded, lilted handwriting sings on paper
Birpartap looks the businessman part
no turban,
but nearly cried when he lost his glasses on his birthday
Jaspreet is embarrassed to heat up her food
spiced and loud
She stood, shaking as she told her peers
with Mexican heritage of Diwali
the festival of lights
Unfortunately I cannot celebrate it here so I decided
to share it with you guys and by eating sweets
Her heritage was stolen and no one ever knew
until she shared it in class:
In June Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
ordered a military assault
the attack killed thousands of civilians
on October 31, 1984
Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards
Frenzied mobs of Hindu thugs
thirsting for revenge
burned Sikh-owned stores to the ground
dragged Sikhs out of their homes
then clubbed them to death
or set them aflame
Witnesses watched with horror
the mobs walked down the streets
raping Sikh women
murdering Sikh men
burned down Gurdwaras
Government officials participated in the massacres
Within three days, 3,000 Sikhs had been murdered
one per minute
Many of the affected families
live in poverty and disenfranchisement to this day
The anti-Sikh violence of 1984 was not a riot
30 years have passed
21 million Sikhs
will continue to feel alienated and targeted
by their own government
and Jaspreet and Birpartap
sit in the portable in U305
and unheard.

** Time Magazine October 31, 2014 “It’s Time India Accept Responsibility for Its 1984 Sikh Genocide” by Simran Jeet Singh for the Sikh Coalition and PhD candidate at Columbia Universi-ty.


Category: Featured, Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student