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Straight Talk:
An Open Letter to The Citizens of New Delhi, India





My heart bleeds over the brutalities suffered by Jyoti Pandey and her friend, and  the suffering that their families are going through.

I also feel the pain of the women in your city and of their families: the terror of having to negotiate the world every time you step out of your home to go to work or school, to step out in your neighbourhood, or to move from one to another to shop or visit or play or merely enjoy the amenities of life in a city.

Your leaders, both political and religious, have already played their cards. They’re not about to let you change anything around you, because if they did, they’d be the first ones to be locked behind bars.

Your media has no interest in helping you change things for the better, because they represent corporate interests first and foremost. And those interests are now commingled with the interests of the political and religious hierarchy. Maintaining the status quo is seen to be best for them, even though it may not be for you.

But, unfortunately, you have an even bigger elephant in the room.

Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Yes, yes, I know. You want us Sikhs to move on and stop harping on 1984.

Well, we have moved on. We are forever in chardi kala -- it’s in our DNA. We have forgiven, though not forgotten. We’ll pursue the culprits as long as they are alive, but we will never be their victims. Don’t forget, for better or worse, your country is being led by a Sardar who has dragged you all, kicking and screaming, into the 20th century. [No, this is not a typo … you have another century to go before you can lay claim to the 21st, I’m afraid.]

As I was saying, we’ve gotten over it.

But you haven’t.

You never will.


You can deny it, ignore it, pretend it never happened, whatever … but it will follow you wherever you go. It will haunt you in your sleep. It will be your nightmare day and night. And it will sit on your head, monkey-like, on the heads of your children, and the children of your children …


Given the thousands of innocent men, women and children killed in your streets and our homes in 1984 -- in your city alone, without even getting into what happened in the villages, towns, cities, even moving trains, of your land -- and the thousands of women who were raped then, it requires no complicated arithmetic to figure out that a hundred thousand and more of your city were involved -- directly! -- in the rape, murder and mayhem.

Remember the mobs, some in hundreds, some in thousands, that roamed the city for three days, unfettered, unchecked?

Well, they are all alive, free still, never charged, never tried, never punished, and they live amongst you. They are your fathers, your brothers, your husbands, your sons, your lovers. A hundred thousand of them.

One of your own religious leaders said the other day that your men need to have sex every 15 to 20 days, no matter where or how they get it. He must know his flock.

That’s why, isn’t it, that a rape occurs every 20 minutes in your land? That’s the official figure! Three every hour, 36 every day, 252 every week, 1080 every month, 12,960 every year … give or take a few. Now, please keep in mind that these figures, being 'official', are but the tip of the iceberg. 

The terrible tragedy of December 16, 2012 will not change anything. Simply because those who are now raping you have nowhere else to go.

You are the true inheritors of 1984. And your inheritance is that your children and the children of your children will hound you. And stalk each other.

Because it is the law of nature.

As revealed by Krishna, and by Jesus. By Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, Mahavir. And Nanak.

As you sow, so shall you reap.

That’s the law.

And the law applies to individuals and it applies to communities, societies, and nations.

In case you think I’m making this up, here are a few reminders.

Pakistan was created through murder and mayhem. In the name of religion. Tens of millions of innocents suffered gravely because their leaders had no patience to try peaceful means.

Today: their own mullahs murder them. Every day. The country is a pariah of the world.

Israel. Walked roughshod over the lives of millions of innocent Palestinians, because it was able to buy the military might it needed to do it. To establish a state in the name of religion.

Today: missiles of modern fire and brimstone rain on them at regular intervals with biblical fury. Almost seven decades later, and there’s no peace to be had. Even in sleep.

Britain. And Europe. They raped and plundered the world for five centuries, each pretending to spread the word of God, but in reality pillaging the wealth of others and murdering their true owners.

Today: they are surprised to see that people of all the lands they brutalized have arrived in their homelands. There are no ifs and buts. Britain’s demographics is changing to make way for a new majority. And it won’t be Anglo-Saxon. The rest of Europe is not far behind. The colonies are knocking on the gates.

America. It has rained death on other nations, and has built its wealth on the corpses of countless children wherever they’ve gone to plunder.

Today: they simply don’t know how to prevent their own children from murdering them in their own homes. Every day, new barricades have to be raised … to defend against themselves. A nation … at war with itself.

There’s a reason why there’s no hope for peace on earth. Because we’ve all committed atrocities, we’ve outdone each other. 

What you sow is what you reap.

So, remember 1984, as you lock yourselves up in your homes in New Delhi and get accustomed to moving around in human convoys.

I was at a party the other day. My hosts were Indian. And so were all the other guests.

I was the only Sikh-Canadian.

At one point, emboldened by liquor and the fact that he saw I was alone in a sea of desis, one of them cleared his throat and, in a raised voice, confronted me:

“So, Sher Singh ji,” he said, in feigned politeness, ”where are all the Sikhs and their kirpans now when we need them again to protect our daughters in India? Where were the saviour Sardars when the girl was being raped on a bus in Delhi the other day?”

He stood across the room, glowering at me, waiting for my response. The room turned quiet suddenly. They were all waiting for my answer.

I stood there, facing him. Seconds ticked by.

He stared at me. Others stared at me.

I stared at him.

Finally, I said: “Where do you think the Sikhs of Delhi have gone, and why do you think they are unable to save your women?”

I continued looking at him.

Gradually, ever so gradually, his eyelids fell. He looked at the floor. His shoulders slumped. His head sank, as if he was checking the polish on his shoes.

Quietly, ever so quietly, he shrugged his shoulders. Didn’t peep a word. Then slowly, ever so slowly, he turned around and staggered towards the bar.

In a room of almost 40 people, I swear I have never heard a louder silence than I did that night. 


January 10, 2013

Conversation about this article

1: Anu Sharma (New Delhi, India), January 10, 2013, 11:59 AM.

You have left me breathless! And in tears!

2: Japji Kaur (New Jersey, USA), January 10, 2013, 12:01 PM.

This piece needs to be read by all Delhites ... and all Indians as well. Please, everybody, send a link to all you know in Delhi and India. I've just sent it to all of my contacts. If we don't connect the dots for them, who will? Certainly no one in India!

3: H. Kaur (Canada), January 10, 2013, 12:18 PM.

If Narendra Modi wins, he will drag them kicking and screaming from the 20th century back to the medieval ages probably. People will probably be forced to drink Gau Jal (the cow urine pop the RSS manufactures to replace Coca Cola) and the list can go on and on. I wonder what it will be like for the women. I hear some of those nuts want to reintroduce sati to be the norm. I read there is a journalist in jail, Navin Sourinje, in Karnataka, for two months now. His crime, he held the camera that caught images and led to the prosecution of over 40 of these religious nuts who went to a birthday party and started beating people and assaulted a woman sexually. Apparently, they wanted to teach the women a lesson for partying and mingling with non-minority women. I even read in "The Hindu" newspaper that some journalists who want him released started a hunger strike for this guy a few days ago.

4: H. Kaur (Caada), January 10, 2013, 12:37 PM.

I made a typo. They wanted to teach them a lesson not because of mingling with non-minority women but with men. It was a birthday party in Mangalore with both sexes present and probably people of different faiths were present. "The Hindu" paper called them "innocent boys and girls." I hope this journalist gets released immediately now that his collegues have really stepped up their protests.

5: Sarjit Kaur (Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.), January 10, 2013, 12:45 PM.

Boley so nihaal, Sat Sri Akal! Sher Singh jio!

6: Manjit Kaur (Frederick, Maryland, USA), January 10, 2013, 1:39 PM.

Bravo! Everybody should link this narrative on their FB page so all social networks can pass this piece on and maybe we can get the citizens of India to start grasping how the world perceives this issue of their religious and political leaders. It's a wake-up call that is essential.

7: Dr Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 10, 2013, 3:11 PM.

History is testament to the fact that no great nation has ever been born, created or developed with a foundation based on rampant greed, abject corruption (political, bureaucratic, judicial), profound lawlessness, partial and inept judiciary, lack of national character, broken and almost non-existent social and civic infrastructure, lack of effective mechanisms for protection of life and liberty - all these basic tenets to achieve greatness are interconnected. Nations that lack these tenets usually plunge into civil war (which many countries are experiencing one way or the other, despite their denial), are controlled by militia-style or tribal politics, become unsafe to live in and ultimately perish by being conquered or taken over (economically or physically) and strategically become irrelevent to humanity. India is still a nascent democracy and, in my humble opinion, possesses many of the elements above-described (greed, corruption, lack of social and civic infrastructure, etc.) and seems to be significantly dependent on foreign investment - I hope India and Indians can see these shortcomings and correct them in a timely fashion to rise to the greatness they deserve. Otherwise the consequences are devastating. I wish them good luck.

8: Sunny Grewal (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada), January 10, 2013, 4:32 PM.

What an amazing retort! Only a fool would whip such a question at a lawyer, and only a moron would ask Sher Singh ji, of all people. I would have responded that maybe if Delhi wasn't short tens of thousands of Sardars, the city's women would be better protected.

9: N Singh (Canada), January 10, 2013, 8:26 PM.

We love you, T. Sher ji! You are simply The Best. Thank you!

10: Irvinder Singh Babra (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), January 10, 2013, 9:50 PM.

And remember, "The Rape of Bangladesh", as the Goan writer Anthony Mascrehanes was able to capture the brutalities against women and the birth of that nation in his book by the same name. Rapes in India are breaking and withering India every 20 minutes.

11: Kanwarjeet Singh (USA), January 10, 2013, 10:31 PM.

A lot of Indians who read this will need to order antacids - bitter truth is not very easy to digest.

12: Dr Satinder Pal Singh (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada), January 11, 2013, 12:17 AM.

"As you sow, so shall you reap" - what a simple but apt summation of life! Some of the "sheep" amongst the silent masses in India do understand it but will the "hyenas" in the establishment even make any attempt to reflect on it?

13: H. Kaur (Canada), January 11, 2013, 3:14 AM.

Irvinder Singh ji, the rapes occur much faster than on an average of one every 20 minutes. Every 20 minutes is according to the reported rapes. There are many women who go to the police and the police won't even register the rapes. There are panchayats in Haryana - known as 'khaps' - constantly telling the families of gang-rape victims not to press charges and ruin the poor boys' lives. Since a lot of the victims are Dalit and their families have to work on the rapists' land, they don't press charges or even try to file reports. Then there are the unreported rapes by relatives, whether by blood or marriage, that don't get reported so that famlies don't fall apart or face humiliation. Then there are the religious rapes of tens of thousands of devdasis every day and of others sanctioned by the Hindu/Brahmin priesthood that don't have a chance of ever being reported. Just because a female child has been made into a devdasi or religious prostitute by her mother and priest doesn't mean what happens to her on a daily basis and to her out of wedlock, isn't rape though it isn't viewed as such in that religion.

14: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), January 11, 2013, 7:48 AM.

They should have known Sher's roar.

15: Kulvinder Singh (Delhi, India), January 11, 2013, 2:06 PM.

Truth is always bitter and never partial. Our lives will end but truth will never die. kamaal hai Sikhi haalle vi sarbat da hi bhalla mungdi hai te sadaa mungdi rahegi ...

16: Manveet Kaur (India), January 11, 2013, 2:13 PM.

Totally agree with your line, "It will follow you wherever you go. It will haunt you in your sleep. It will be your nightmare day and night".

17: Dave Singh (USA ), January 11, 2013, 2:19 PM.


18: Ms.D. Kaur (Canada ), January 11, 2013, 3:30 PM.

Dr. T. Sher Singh ji ; what an awakening letter. We appreciate what you are doing for the Sikh people. I still feel hurt over 1947, which happened 65 years ago when we lost our dear Pitaji. In our daily prayer, we remember all those who lost their lives for our faith, but in reality we don't take a minute to think what families went through who lost their loved ones in 1984 ... and& 1947 ... and in other years!

19: Lakhvir Singh Khalsa (Nairobi, Kenya), January 11, 2013, 3:42 PM.

The most powerful article I have ever read about 1984 and the state of affairs in India today. Indians need to wake up and smell the coffee, for until past injustices are addressed, they can do all they want but nothing will change their today for a better tomorrow.

20: Dr. Sarbjit Singh Laungia (India), January 12, 2013, 7:31 AM.

I repeat the words of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayi, forner Prime Minister of India: Whenever there is a pain to any body, the mother has tears in her eyes. If the tears of the mothers of different communities of a nation do not share every child's pain so that it gets divided for specific communities, then that nation will not survive. So, the seeds of disintegration of India were sown in 1984.

21: Bibek Singh (Chandigarh, Punjab), January 12, 2013, 10:50 AM.

Around 11 years ago, I went to Chennai (India) for an official training. Over lunch one of my South Indian friends asked the significance of the turban. I responded that it helps the society in easily identifying their 'Sardar' (i.e. their leader), especially in a crisis situation. That evening there were student rallies in various parts of the city and our office bus was stuck in one of the traffic jams. My South Indian friend taunted - "Leader Sahib, please help us now". I remarked that at least he considered me his leader at that point of time !

22: Bikramjit Singh (London, United Kingdom), January 12, 2013, 1:07 PM.

In the words of the song on the outrages of the Spanish Civil War, by the "Manic Street Preachers ... "If you tolerate this, then your children will be next ...!"

23: Gagan Singh (Chandigarh, Punjab), January 13, 2013, 2:31 PM.

As you can see from the comments here, there is something strange about the fact that even this post is only read, discussed and introspected upon by Sikhs. Maybe, we need to find a way to remove the word "Sikh" from the inhuman brutalities committed buy the majority in Delhi and then pose the same questions. Maybe then such posts will be read by the majority, who you want to start "introspecting".

24: Jasmine Kaur (Mombasa, Kenya), January 13, 2013, 4:02 PM.

I agree that this is the most hard hitting article I have ever come across on the subject of 1984. I have always said that Dr. T. Sher Singh is my favourite truth journalist, if I may call him so, and this article just reinforces my belief in him. Veer ji, you do us proud. This article should be read by every one. All it talks about is the truth and nothing else. I loved your answer to the drunkard's query. At least the man had enough decency to recognize the truth for what it is - the truth. Guru rakha, Dr. T. Sher Singh ji.

25: Johny Singh Goraya (Dubai), January 13, 2013, 6:00 PM.

Life teaches us lots of things and only smart people can decipher the real meaning. When India needed inspiration, Bhagat Singh stepped in. When India needed justice, Udham Singh stepped in. When India needed to fight foreign invaders, Sikh warriors stepped in. When India needed sone one to save them from an economic crisis, Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister stepped in. What the Guru Sahibs did for the land is beyonfd comparison! Sikhs have made a difference in every field. If India avoids them, neglects them, keeps them away, then it won't be anything ... actually, it'll end up being nothing. I was chided by a Sheikh in Dubai, when he saw me coming out from a gym in my patka. "He, you Sardar, where is your turban?" I was shocked ... he told me he was from the royal family. He added: "Sardar wafadaar, imandaar, jandaar, yaar ka yaar!" He took me by surprise. Made me feel so proud of my community. We are noticed, respected and envied by people.

26: Samarvir (New Jersey, USA), January 13, 2013, 6:19 PM.

Bitter truth for some to swallow but the truth nonetheless. We may never find all the '84 culprits from the massacres but unless society as a whole truly introspects itself, takes concrete steps so that such mass-murders don't happen again ... more importantly, unless it makes an example of criminals such as Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, etc., they will keep recurring.

27: Ravinder Singh (Westerville, Ohio, U.S.A.), January 13, 2013, 8:11 PM.

This should be compulsory reading for everyone - period.

28: Mahanjot Sodhi (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), January 14, 2013, 4:14 PM.

Once again, my salutes to you, T. Sher Singh ji. You never fail to call a spade a spade. Hard hitting article but true down to the core ... now that the chickens have come home to roost, and everyone seems to be panicking! Anyway this article could be sent and published by a major Indian publication? Perhaps Delhites will be able to do some introspection.

29: Jasleen Kaur (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA), January 14, 2013, 6:52 PM.

1984 remains, after the loss of my parents, the most painful time of my life. It remains the one event that changed the course of my life, and the way I looked upon the country I had loved and called home. I will say though that even through all of this there were Hindu neighbors who helped and protected us and I can never forget that. T Sher Singh ji, you have written a very powerful article and I am going to share it on FaceBook.

30: Jaideep Singh (Sydney, Australia), January 14, 2013, 7:22 PM.

Thank you, Sher Singh ji, for addressing the issue head-on. Guru Granth Sahib: "beejay bikh mangai amrit vaykhhu ayhu ni-aa-o" - "He sows seeds of poison, and demands ambrosial nectar. Behold - what justice is this?"

31: Ananda Gurudasa (Long Beach, California, USA), January 15, 2013, 9:21 AM.

I am a Sikh who was born in America. I left Punjab weeks before "Blue Star" and feel not only should this NOT be forgotten, but it is inherent on India to grow up get some balls (pardon the expression) and admit the horrors they perpetrated and continue to do so today. I DO feel that BIG change is about to occur in India, and not all will remain unscathed. It might just be the time for change, but this will not come easy (never does.) If it were not for Sikhi, ALL of India would be a Muslim country today (by force), lest India forget this. It is time for Sikhs of India to finally let go of the misogynistic, class and social distinctions that our Gurus have rejected ... we have not lived up to Guru's bani. Perhaps it is time we do, and to live an example for India, and the rest of the world.

32: Hardy Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 15, 2013, 3:16 PM.

From Bharat to Rapistan ...

33: P Singh (California, U.S.A.), January 15, 2013, 3:24 PM.

An eye opener!

34: Naveenpal Singh Sidhu (Melbourne, Australia), January 15, 2013, 5:36 PM.

Well played, mate!

35: Jaswinder Sidhu (Melbourne, Australia), January 15, 2013, 11:45 PM.

God bless you, Sher Singh ji!

36: Jagdish Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), January 16, 2013, 2:29 AM.

I'm sure my fellow sister-souls who read this article will hear the screaming silence too and lament: "Indians! You have shot yourselves in the foot!" Sikhs will indeed forgive. Some may even forget the pogroms of 1984. But not 'Karam' or 'Karma. It will take its due. This article is for the masses.

37: Ari Singh (Rostov, Russia), January 16, 2013, 4:44 AM.

Excellent article. 1984 is more painful to me than 1947 because we chose Hindu India to Muslim Pakistan as our home. The atrocities were committed by those who claim to be our brothers. It is time to adhere to the discipline enunciated by Guru Gobind Singh. 1984 is but a wake-up call.

38: Daljit Singh  (New Delhi, India), January 17, 2013, 3:20 AM.

The Marad Agummra has to rise again. In the past he fought the tyranny of the 'Turak", now he has to fight the tyranny of the fundamentalist Hindu. Khalsa ji, Jaago.

39: JTS Sodhi (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 19, 2013, 5:07 PM.

Bitter truth, told plainly ... with top journalism. 'Forgiven but not forgotten' is the true message from our Sikh community. Well done and keep it up, Sardar T. Sher Singh.

40: Mohit Chopra (Chandigarh, Punjab), January 19, 2013, 7:24 PM.

"Where do you think the Sikhs of Delhi have gone, and why do you think they are unable to save your women?" I am not from Delhi ... Please elaborate as to what you think is the answer to this question.

41: T. Sher Singh (Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada), January 19, 2013, 9:08 PM.

Dear Mohit ji: I had asked this question of the gentleman at the party because I knew that he knew the answer. I knew that from the way his question was worded. Moreover, it became obvious from his non-verbal response that he was afraid to face it, to admit it, to accept it; all he wanted was to get into an argument with me in order to get me to help him deflect the truth that was staring him in the face. As for your question, all I can say to you is: if you don't know the answer, this may be a good time to do some research, and to conduct your own homework. If it is honest and sincere, accompanied by some real soul-searching, you'll find the answer. My giving you the answer will not work ... this is something thinking Indians will have to do on their own, or else -- as I have already pointed out -- you are doomed to perennially grapple with the ghosts of your past. The solution has to come from you, if you genuinely want to find one. This is something others will not be able to do for you.

42: Mandeep Singh (Patiala, Punjab), January 19, 2013, 11:24 PM.

Very good reply to the question: "So, Sher Singh ji," he said, in feigned politeness, "where are all the Sikhs and their kirpans now when we need them again to protect our daughters in India? Where were the saviour Sardars when the girl was being raped on a bus in Delhi the other day?"

43: N Singh (Canada), January 21, 2013, 6:31 PM.

Mohit ji: since you are not from Delhi and therefore say you don't know where the Sikhs of Delhi 'have gone' but I noticed that you are from Chandigarh, Punjab. You might want to ask yourself where a whole generation of Sikh youth have gone? It would appear that between 250,000 - 300,000 Sikh youth are missing from the Punjab? Some more research into the disappeared in Argentina might help shed some light on this subject for you ...

44: Preet Kaur Sahota (San Francisco, California, USA), February 07, 2013, 3:42 PM.

Sher Singh ji, succinct and sage: if brevity is the soul of wit, then truth is its core. You have nailed it, no debate. With smiles and gratitude ...

45: Paman Singh (Amritsar, Punjab), March 16, 2013, 12:19 AM.

Sikhs are being killed in our holy land. Hindu extremists are plotting and planning daily. Our daughters are coerced into relationships with people from other religions and are converting against the wishes of all loved ones without a second thought. Our sons are being sold drugs and are quietly selling drugs for the Hindus in school. We think we know what goes on. I do. I live in the Sikh holy land. Nobody is invincible, but truth be told, the only people who Waheguru loves are the people that are ready to die for their principles. The only person that can reach happiness is not one who hears the voice of the heart, but the person that hears the whispers of the soul. Let your soul shout. Open your mouth.

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An Open Letter to The Citizens of New Delhi, India"

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