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Rutgers University, New Jersey, U.S.A.


Researcher Seeks Your Help on 1947/1984 Project




Dear all:

I am a doctoral student in Sociology at Rutgers University (New Jersey, U.S.A.) working on Sikhs in the diaspora and memories of 1947 and 1984, and the Internet as a medium of commemoration.

My doctoral dissertation is tentatively entitled: "Through the Crevices of Memory: Commemoration Practices Among the Sikh Diaspora in the United States."

I got my B.A. in Sociology from Lady Shriram College, New Delhi and M.A. and M.Phil. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, before moving to the United States in 2005.

I have been working on Sikhs in the United States since the past couple of years and have been awarded paper prizes for my work on the Punj Kakkars and commemoration on the internet, by the South Asian Studies Program at University of California - Berkeley and Rutgers University.

I have presented my work at several conferences including the American Sociological Association and the Association of Asian American Studies. I am working under the supervision of Professor Arlene Stein who is well known for her work on intergenerational transmission of Holocaust memories, social movements, and several other aspects of sociology of culture.

I would really appreciate it if you would be willing to share your experiences, recollections, motivations, and sentiments behind contributing to and/or consuming texts and audio-visual material around 1947 and 1984. I would like to assure you that any information you share with me will be kept completely anonymous and I will have a consent form approved by the Institutional Review Board at Rutgers prior to the interview.

Please respond to this note at your earliest convenience with your contact details, directly to me at

Please feel free to email me with any questions about my project.

Thanks a lot for your help!

Shruti Devgan
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


October 20, 2011

Conversation about this article

1: Jesroshan Singh (Malaysia), October 20, 2011, 9:49 AM.

I suggest you speak to Fauja Singh, the marathon runner. If my calculations are correct, he was 36 when the Partition of 1947 took place. He could help you.

2: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), October 20, 2011, 10:17 AM.

Shruti, you have come to the right place. Just sift through the pages under the tabs '1984' and 'Partition' on this very website and contact the authors of the experiences you find relevant via the editor.

3: Harinder (Uttar Pradesh, India), October 20, 2011, 1:07 PM.

Both 1947 and 1984 were carried out by the opportunistic forces of those times to weaken the Sikh people and their nation. In 1947, Muslims were the instrument, in 1984, the RSS and their ilk were used for the purpose. Rab raakha! The quom is in chardi kalaa!

4: Sahib Singh (Fremont, California, U.S.A.), October 20, 2011, 1:10 PM.

I am touched that you want to do a research project on the events and tragedies of both 1947 and 1984, but over time I have grown some what suspicious as well as scared of the bias and one-sided reporting to date. I don't want to attack you for your research project but please keep in mind it's not just some research or some story you can tell; many Sikhs have gone through these genocidal pogroms and massive killings carried out before their very eyes, and some have witnessed their families being wiped out right in front of them. My suggestion is whenever you do finish your project, please try to submit a copy of it to the Amnesty International as well as the United Nations Human Rights Council. I wish you all the very best on the project. Please do one favor and raise this voice at an international level as most of the world is unaware of it.

5: Bibek Singh (Jersey City, U.S.A.), October 20, 2011, 4:20 PM.

You may like to speak to the 'sangat' of the local gurdwaras - Bridgewater, Princeton, Jersey City, Cherry Hill, New York.

6: Shruti Devgan (New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.A.), October 20, 2011, 6:07 PM.

Dear all: Thank you so much for your encouragement and suggestions! I realize how painful it is to revisit these cultural traumas. My family members suffered the pains of Partition and that's what led me to do this project. I feel moved by the losses of 1947 and especially 1984 and post-1984, the lack of a space to reconcile with these memories, and the silence and denial on part of the Indian state, to the extent that successive generations are growing up without any knowledge or memories of these traumas. I will do my best to make my project as sensitive and representative of the several painful and moving narratives around these events. Thanks, again!

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