It was evening of November 1st, 1984 when news blared from a dusty old radio that the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi was shot dead at point-blank range by her Sikh bodyguards in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar. It was an event that ended the reign of popular Sikh leader Bhindranwale, in a fierce gun battle in the heart of Amritsar, and devastated the Golden Temple compound, a site worshipped by the Sikhs.
The horrific memories of those days can’t be overlooked easily especially for the family who were victims. Men and boys were killed, further girls and women got raped. Women living in Tilak Vihar which is in West Delhi turned into widows and thus now Tilak Vihar is popularly named as Widow Colony. About 3,000 Sikhs were killed.
From the outside, it might give the appearance of just another middle-class area but this heinous incident transformed it into an enclave of widows and orphans, drawn from this and other affected localities. The small shabby houses on either side of narrow lanes here are inhabited by those who still haven’t recovered from the bloody murder the Indian capital saw almost 30 years back.
And every now and then, be it an anniversary or a new controversy over the riots, the spotlight returns to the colony where women widowed in the violence are silently rebuilding their shattered lives.
Further, to highlight something on this, punjabi cinema is coming up with new film ‘Widow Colony’ which is written and directed by Smeep Kang and bankrolled by Gippy Grewal. The film will be released in 2022.