This chapter illustrates how Kaur, Jaijee, and Bains were prepared to use their bodies as resistance; believed in showing up during times of dire need; and remained in touch with people they had met in the worst of circumstances, without pretending to share those situations or experiences.
In July 1989 the three protagonists were joined by others in surrounding a police station to demand the release of young “Kid.” The chapter thus enters a time not so long ago where Members of Parliament running on the platform of Sikh self-determination, indeed separatism—Khalistan—won landslide electoral victories, due to a groundswell of support for candidates running against the status quo.
The chapter’s parallel timeline explores the turn into the 1970s, and how the demands for greater Punjab autonomy were neither secessionist nor new. The growing disparities in the country—promised by its Constitution to be a “socialist” republic—also drew many to a more strident leftism, the Naxal movement. The State response to Naxals first introduced “police encounters” to the countryside. At the same time, a document collating the demands to decrease centralization and increase autonomy for all states was prepared by Sikh leaders in 1973.