Chapter Abstracts

The Wheat Fields Whisper About


Of the events that jolted the Sikh sense of self, but also generated self-doubt, self-consciousness, and rational & irrational attempts at self-preservation. While eulogized Sikh history continued to provide inspiration, this recent history became a source of dejection, debate, & disturbing convergences between different forms of violence. Of questioning erasures, daring official memory, respecting varied attempts at resistance, and slowly untangling decades of cat’s cradles to believe again in the Guru’s mandate against dejection.


Of varied & hybrid roles assumed by Sikh women; they negotiated violence and trauma amid multiple responsibilities, while defying the stereotypes of a monolithic identity. Even when the violence disproportionately targeted the male body, it provoked the policing of the female body, and profoundly affected the community’s entire body politic.


Of noncombatants who challenged the violence that paralyzed most others. Of human rights defenders who still recognize human loss as a tragedy rather than bargaining chips: where no victim is canceled out by another based on their group affiliation. Of people who brought human rights into homes that didn’t yet employ that phrase.

Mallika Kaur

Writer, Lawyer, and Human Rights Defender

Mallika Kaur is a lawyer and writer who focuses on human rights, with a specialization in gender and minority issues. She received her BA from University of Chicago; Master in Public Policy from Harvard University, and her Juris Doctorate from the UC Berkeley School of Law, where she currently teaches skills-based and experiential social justice classes.

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