The goal of this project is to create a collection of stories, photo-essays and media about the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogrom. These riots, which have been labeled a massacre or genocide by investigators, took place in the first week of November across India, with the highest casualties in New Delhi. This story is still relatively untold in most American publications, news stations, and radio media. The story of Sikhs in 1984 is surrounded by conflicting information, deeply rooted distrust, and a lack of media coverage in most of the world outside of India. By traveling to India and collecting testimonials of Sikh survivors and Hindu rescuers, I hope to shed light on the slow recovery that has happened in the last 30 years and look into the documented reality that justice has never been fully dealt to the offenders of the Anti-Sikh riots.
I hope to accomplish this in three ways. The first is a photo-essay that examines the life of Sikh survivors 30 years later. Some have been relatively successful in overcoming loss of life and property, while others, such as those in the so-called “Widows Colony” have had a hard time of regaining any semblance of normal life. I will examine the efforts and short-fallings in helping those who are still in abject poverty due to the events in 1984.
The second component of this will be a look at Hindu rescuers, which has been very under-reported in the media. This lack of coverage has lead to a belief that Hindu neighbors turned on their Sikh neighbors and associates. Survivor reports contradict this, with many (including those I have interviewed here in the States,) crediting their very lives to the acts of courage shown by Hindu neighbors. While I am in India, I will photograph these individuals and families with those they saved, when possible.
Along with this I will be recording these interviews on video as well as audio to create an archive of victim, witness, and rescuer testimonials. These will be produced with broadcast quality audio which will enable use on radio stations around the world. Recording these interviews is important for both the historical record as well as to substantiate claims of atrocities in November of 1984. I have arranged for primary contacts on the ground in Amritsar and in New Delhi, my primary areas of investigation. They will provide local consultation. I also have begun collecting survivors and rescuers for interviews, including a senior advocate in the Delhi High Court, Mr. H.S. Phoolka.
Recent events at the golden temple have illustrated the need for in depth reporting on the November 1984 Riots. The few stories that were written, glazed over the Anti-Sikh Pogrom with only a single sentence. A single sentence for the approximately 8,000 lives lost. The survivors, the rescuers, and those still seeking justice deserve to have their voices heard abroad. This project will tell their story. Thank you for making it possible.
This project should go smoothly, but there are some potential challenges I have planned for.
The first is obtaining a Visa. This can take time, so I have built in a time buffer to allow for any delays.
The second potential obstacle is the possibility of gear theft. I have taken this into consideration will prepare accordingly. All temporarily unused gear will be padlocked shut in a Pelican case and secured to furniture when I am out. This has deterred quite a few theft attempts in the past while shooting in Mexico. If the worst should happen, I have photography insurance and will work with Adorama who will ship replacements in little to no time at all to my bases of operation.
Another risk will be data corruption from dust or water. All photos, audio, and video will be uploaded daily to cloud storage to backup any physical storage.
Finally to personal safety, I have arranged for locals related to contacts here in the United States to act as guides and fixers for more rough parts of New Delhi and Amritsar. I take personal safety very seriously.
Same as above, but with gold level sponsorship displayed prominently at all gallery events as well as on all videos. I will mention you as a contributor at all speaking functions for one year. As a thank you for your contribution, I will also send you a 16x20 metallic print of your choice.
Same as above, but with platinum level sponsorship. This entitles you to be listed as Associate Producers or if Business to be placed as “Production in Association with:...” If provided your logo or a link to your business can be placed with this sponsorship. I will list your business as a donor on my website and will mention your business in social media. As a special thank you you will also receive your choice of 24x36 metallic print, selected from any of the photos taken on the trip. You will also receive frequent personal updates from location in India. Once back, I will be available to meet with you or your organization to speak, travel arranged separately.