This chapter highlights how Bains, Kaur, and Jaijee did not outright reject violence in the violent Gandhian India, but did call out wrongs by all combatants. They also avoided speaking for experiences that were not their own.
The chapter builds up to one of the most famed nonviolent acts of defiance by a Sikh militant, Mr. Dhami, at a 1994 police press conference in Chandigarh. Mrs. Kulbir Kaur Dhami, who was kept in a secret torture camp with Mr. Dhami and their five-year-old son, exposes the project of impunity. Her story challenges prevalent narratives simplifying Sikh women as hapless bystanders of the militancy as well as of Sikh men as simple-minded aggressors. The chapter follows the interlocutors’ lead in respecting victim-survivors and not doubting their alternating needs for silence and breaking the silence.
The chapter then segues to the earlier history of Punjab, particularly the various indigenous Sikh movements of the 1920s that sparked an anticolonial frenzy, and closes in 1935, when Punjab was becoming a beacon of inspiration for the subcontinent, as well as a growing threat to majoritarian forces.