Review: Reflections on 1984 – Harjinder Singh
The Oxford English Dictionary defines reflection as “serious thought or consideration” and the book ‘Reflections on 1984’ takes the reader on a journey of serious thought, by providing the spiritual, moral, social & political context of 1984, to the consideration of where we are 30 years on. Social media is currently branded with pictures, logos and tag lines stating ‘Never Forget 1984’ and it is Reflections on 1984 which expresses to the reader why this is the case through an objective historical narrative.
The book is a must read for every Sikh as it addresses common misconceptions, questions & challenges posed to Sikhs surrounding 1984, Khalistan, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The book is evidence based with clear footnotes, appendices and links to further reading, all arming the reader with knowledge. It is through this factual account that the reader questions many taken for granted misconceptions which are taken as ‘fact’ by the majority, without any actual evidence or substance. As the writer states “repeating a lie does not make it a fact” but many of us are still unclear about the facts versus the lies. Accordingly, the book not only allows the reader to reflect but also to become an active participator in the ongoing awareness, justice and support issues surrounding 1984.
Many parts of the book will stop the reader in their tracks, as one visualises the painful but powerful truths; “Too much blood has irrigated the land of Punjab, too much blood has become embedded into the marble at Harmander Sahib. Too many lives lost.” The book’s conclusion will resonate with many British Sikhs as it highlights the immense ongoing personal, social, economic and political effects of 1984. It is these ongoing issues which can be addressed through educated, reflective and active young Sikhs. As the writer drew strength from Bhai Jaswant Singh Khalra, in the same vein we too should draw strength from this eye opening book.
“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. Margaret Fuller”