a wonderful interview with my personal hero @camanpour. we touched on everything from immigration. violence against women. the perpetual other-izing in today’s world. a true honor ❤🌸🌹(full interview available at facebook.com/rupikaurpoetry)
34 years ago in june the lives of my family. their friends. &hundreds of thousands of sikhs were fundamentally altered. this anniversary i want to reflect on the power of narrative. when my mother recounts her lived experience through 1980s-90s india she tells me how the state enforced media blackouts during the violence. how it allowed for the murder of sikhs to go unpunished+undocumented. hidden from the world. i get chills when my aunts talk of the human rights abuses & extrajudicial killings that occurred that june. 40 gurdwaras in punjab systematically attacked on the same night. they tell me how days after these attacks—bodies were still being carted out of each gurdwara by the wagon load. 5 months later—another genocide. this time in delhi where thousands of sikhs are killed again in the span of 3 november nights.
i’m heartbroken about what my dad endured at the hands of the punjab state. how many of his friends were murdered. kidnapped. imprisoned. & tortured. how he fled the country to save himself & provide a better future for us. how hundreds of thousands of other sikhs did the same. i think of the years of migration. alienation. and trauma that followed. i can’t begin to share how that impacted him. and how it all impacted the next generation. us—their children. we grew up with the aftermath of their scars. & too often we’re told “that was 34 years ago.get over it” but how do you get over it when children are still missing. men are still in prison. widows and survivors still suffer from nightmares and more. there’s that old proverb—“until the lion learns to write…the stories of the hunt will always glorify the hunters.” we haven’t been able to have our truth seen because of the state imposed information and media blackouts. but we are glorious. we come from the palms of guru nanak. the embrace of mata gujri. & the spirit of revolutionaries like jaswant singh khalra. we will write the stories of the hunt so that the hunters are no longer glorified. & when we do this. when we talk. listen. draw. paint. &mobilize. it will move us to a place of healing & love. allow us to forge our own path. & that’s a place i’m excited for my community to get to.
in the midst of so many suicides that have taken place this year— i feel terrified. sometimes i myself feel so trapped in the dark it feels like the only way out is to end it all. i know that’s not the answer. i’m lucky that the other part of my mind— the one that feels like it still belongs to me. the part fighting the darkness wins and i find the motivation to walk out into the sun and try another day. 🌸 depression has its phases. this sickness is more difficult to understand & comprehend than any other experience i’ve had. 🌸 when you hear the news & you see musicians artists and folks you deeply admire take their own life — it leaves me speechless. i always feel 2 things: 1) if they with all their knowledge support & access to resources couldn't beat this thing- how the hell will i? & my next thought is — 2) we will get through this. we have to. i message my loved ones who are suffering from depression & other mental illness & tell them that we are in this lonely battle TOGETHER 🌸 today i feel broken but i feel hopeful. & i’m sharing these details because it breaks me how some of you feel so alone you want to leave. i don’t want any of you to feel stuck at the first feeling that i mentioned above. i do not want you all to think that depression is an end & that there’s no way out. that’s the sickness talking. IT IS NOT YOU. when you feel low & find it difficult to reach out because your mind says “no one cares or understands” or “i’m bothering folks” THAT IS THE SICKNESS TALKING. pick up the phone. call up your loved ones. we’re not going to get through this battle alone. it takes a village. we have to keep trying until we find solutions that work for us. (strict routine. drawing. exercise work for me) we as a society have the power to make things better or worse. even when it comes to this sickness. we have to hold ourselves accountable for how we treat people. how we have dialogue in public & private spaces & ask ourselves: could i have been kinder? & more supportive? & then be kinder. be more supportive. sending all my light to those who’ve lost loved ones to this disease 🌸 i love you. i love us. i love the potential of humanity.
in the spirit of being in italy- i thought i’d share page 191 from the italian edition of ‘milk and honey’ (translated by alessandro storti) for all my incredible italian readers. my time here has helped me slow down. relax. and unwind from being on tour for the past months. and i’m happy to report that i’ve gotten some writing and drawing in. but most importantly- lots of pizza ❤🌸