Delhi once again saw me standing at the same point where she met 35 years ago. Counting of corpses in burning kiosks, blazing shops and news have once again crushed my wounds. It felt as if Delhi is living the same scene again. I was married in October 1981. We lived a happy life with our joint family in Maujpur. The husband and his brothers had a sawing machine in Dilshad Garden. Was cutting well. But those ill-fated days of November 1984 destroyed all our lives. After the assassination of Indira Gandhi on 31 October, the tension had started deepening from the evening, but we did not even think for a minute that we would be so oppressed.
My house was attacked for three days, on the third day everything was over. I was drying my hair with my children in the sun. Then the rioters saw the flock coming. At that time my elder son was one year eleven months old and the younger was only four and a half months old. The rioters entered our house. They burned my husband alive in front of my eyes, I somehow managed to save my life by sneaking my two children into the neighborhood house. The rioters looted everything in the house, and set fire to what they could not carry. Everything of mine turned to ashes. Only the clothes on the body were left.
I still wonder what was our father in law? We were working people. If the rioters had not targeted us, where would we be today? Our destruction was not limited here. Husband’s elder brother was also set ablaze in Dilshad Garden. At that time he survived because he was rushed to the hospital, but he was unable to do any work and after four-five years he finally succumbed.
The Chaurasi riots drove us from our home to the relief camp at Shyamlal College. Relatives of the people in the camp came looking for them and took them with them. There was no one to ask my condition. Bhai was also trapped somewhere in Haryana. The in-laws were not even taking it and till then the gurudwara was not even helped. What can I say about my suffering, the way children are being treated differently? We were very scared. Remained in the relief camp for about three months. How I faced the worldliness and suffering after that, my God knows.
I married in 19 years and was widowed by rioters in 23 years. There were two young children in the lap, and the future was absolutely bleak. There was no sight of life, but for how long would we stay in the camp? Had to fight destiny for his children. Those were very difficult days. The relatives who once used to go here in equal status, were now eligible for their mercy. If some relatives with money were found, then some money would be caught. If someone had given his descent, then someone would have bought the uniform of the children. Someone provided the necessary items of the house. With every help, prayers went out of the heart for helpers, but self-respect was equally hurt. The sons were admitted to the Guru Harikishan School. There was some help from there and some Sikh pension was supported. If he used to do small school work, he would get his money too. But I had decided to teach my children at all costs.
On behalf of the government, I got a flat in Raghubir Nagar near Tilak Nagar, but it was also occupied by a Sardar there. Who would fight for me? If I had gone alone, he would have been abusive. One day I had no money for children’s fees. I spoke to the occupier. He gave me one lakh rupees and got the flat in his name. My children have suffered a lot, but today they are in a good place. One is a computer engineer and the other works in a multinational company. His family is also settled.
The enjoyment that I experienced had faded with time, but on Tuesday afternoon, once again I saw the fear of the chaurasi when the commotion in my area and the smoke rising from the shops. I locked the children indoors. See, once again the shadow of the father arose from the heads of so many children, how many demands were destroyed, the lap of the mothers was lost? After seeing all this, felt how shared Delhi and my pain are. Once again Maujpur is in a state of panic. In all my prayers since the age of eighty-four, I have prayed to my Lord that the peace be maintained, so that no child is an orphan. Nothing worsens for those doing politics, only the poor get killed.