Review of “Reflections on 1984” by Harjinder Singh (Akaal Publishers)


Reflections on 1984  Book Synopsis: Harjinder Singh introduces the principle tenants of the Sikh faith and presents elements of Sikh ideology in the context of what occurred in 1984. He aptly summarizes Sikh grievances after partition and describes the peaceful campaigns leading up to Operation Bluestar.

He proceeds to give a day-by-day account of the attack in June, using an array of eye-witness accounts backed up by independent statistics and studies. There is a brief analysis of the justification presented by the Indian government through the White Paper. Harjinder goes on to look at the events that culminated in Anti-Sikh pogroms and sets the premise for the civil-war that ensued. He comments on the social and economic factors affecting Punjab today, and reflects on the Khalistan movement. The book concludes with the author’s insight into the Sikh situation, and ends with an appendix that contains key documents such as the Anandpur Sahib resolution, and interview transcripts.

Reflections on 1984 Book Review: Preceding the 30th anniversary on the attack of Sri Darbar Sahib, Harjinder Singh has produced a succinct and well thought out book summarizing the key historical points that led to one of the most crucial and horrifying years in modern Sikh history. Despite 30 years having eclipsed since the armies attack, and the subsequent anti-Sikh pogroms in November, the Sikh community has largely failed to educate itself on the truth behind what happened.

This book is the ideal tool to help remedy this. It is written in a straight forward manner which makes it suitable for younger generations to learn the key facts. It carefully explains all the significant points, assuming little prior knowledge, and comes coupled with references. The fact that the author has provided the source for all his information, and included a complete bibliography, makes this book useful to have when conducting further research.

Reflections on 1984 should therefore be read by anyone looking to take the first step in understanding the Sikh situation in India. I would personally recommend that Sikhs take responsibility to help distribute the message in the book amongst the youth of today. In particular I feel that it is every Sikhs interest to have read the Anandpur Sahib resolution, which is arguably the key document produced by Sikhs in the last 50 years. It is contained in the appendix of the book, and the author fully describes the fundamental aspects in his narrative.

“A solution to a problem can only be found, when the facts underlying the challenge are fully known.” In this context, help to present the facts by supporting this book and spread it amongst your family and friends.

Reflections on 1984 will be officially released at Kings College London on 28th May with a panel discussion, please register here for free to attend the event:

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