This chapter shows the protagonists’ steadfastness in the face of the emerging reality of the post–Cold War world. They must themselves be the lighthouses their people seek; their lifetimes have witnessed Western powers’ realpolitik, heralding destruction for locals; as well as divisive tactics by local powerfuls, cementing expedient enmity that outlasts generations.
The chapter opens with a reprieve from the tortured Punjab of the 1990s, traveling to the boisterous Punjab of 1938. It closes with a million murders and the largest forced migration in human history: the Partition of British India in August 1947.
The chapter traces the fight launched in 1993 by a Hindu of Tarn Taran, Punjab: Chaman Lal. While the world’s experts, including India’s large delegation, met at the United Nation’s World Human Rights Conference in June 1993, Lal’s 20-year-old son, a vegetable vendor, was abducted. The banality of police impunity and the dire consequences to people’s leaders and rights defenders are highlighted.