ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Entrapment of Selective Amnesia

One sociopolitical philosophy in India speaks of forgetting and the other emphasises selective remembering. Both portray a selective reading of social processes. The opportunities for social change will be limited if we allow ourselves to be convinced that development is the panacea for all ills. On the contrary, the scars of physical and emotional violence which are generational and deep-rooted will keep reproducing selective memories of victimhood and hate until we unbundle the legacy of violence in India.

Like many other Indians, the results of the recent Lok Sabha elections have bewildered me too as well as the promise of development that accompanied it. As someone who grew up through some of the most terrible times in Indian history in a conservative Hindu family with a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) background in the small border town of Abohar in Punjab, this victory poses more questions than answers. I was born in a time of hate, violence and rising tide of communalism in the 1980s and 1990s. I was six years old in 1984 and along with others of my generation carry a deep imprint of Operation Bluestar and the violence that perpetuated a decade of gruesome killings of innocent Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab. We grew up trying to sneak out from our homes only to be pushed back by the men in uniform who patrolled the streets of urban Punjab. There always seemed to be a state of curfew since the streets remained deserted and the markets closed by 7 pm on most days. Gursharan Singh’s play Curfew beautifully illustrates the mental as well as temporal limits imposed on the social and political landscape of Punjab during these decades.

Fostering of Suspicion

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