The Winter of 1984: Lest we forget

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The human history is marred with recurrent cases of violence, deceits and cover-ups. But still there are some dates, and especially some events, which are impossible to forget. As some of the most inhumane acts were committed, in broad daylight, on these dates while the civil society silently and helpless watched all this from a distance.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.- John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Like any other year, 1984 probably started on a happy note. We Indians were thrilled on the 2nd of April when Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma was launched into space, aboard the Soyuz T-11.

The terrorism in the North-Western Indian state of Punjab and the demand for Khalistan prompted the then Indian government to launch Operation Blue Star on the 1st of June. On the 4th of June Indian troops stormed the Golden Temple at Amritsar to capture and kill the terrorists hiding inside it.

The aftermath of Operation Blue Star

On 31st of October the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh security guards. Her son Rajiv Gandhi succeeded her as the Prime Minister of India.

“When a big tree falls, earth shakes.” – Rajiv Gandhi

Between 31st October and 3rd November an estimated 2,700 to 10,000 Sikhs were killed during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other areas. The mobs looted and damaged several Sikh homes, businesses and Gurdwaras in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

An Industrial disaster, of epic proportions

On 3rd December one of the worst industrial disasters took place in Bhopal. A methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, killed more than 2,000 people outright and injures anywhere from 15,000 to 22,000 others (some 6,000 of whom later die from their injuries).

The winter of 1984 was a period of mass genocide and massive government cover-ups. These were some of the darkest months in the history of Independent India. Probably the only expectation that the Indian people had from 1985 was a hope, that their country still remains democratic and that their fundamental rights aren’t violated once again.

It has been decades, yet the victims of the anti-Sikh riots and Bhopal gas tragedy still haven’t received any justice – but they still haven’t lost hope.

The road to success passes through the fields of failure

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Everyone passes through a period in their lives when nothing works in their favour. Whether you are a programmer or a politician, sometimes you pass through a phase when it seems that everyone is conspiring against you and that is why you are not succeeding.

The truth is, the road to success passes through the fields of failure. If you haven’t ever failed in your life, you can never be successful. All great people have failed in their life, at one point or the other, but failure did not stop them from working hard.

Henry Ford, the founder of world famous Ford motors failed many times before becoming a success. As a child Albert Einstein was slow to talk, and according to some he did not start speaking until the age of 4. Einstein did not grow up to become a world famous orator, but the talk about modern physics without his contribution is difficult, if not impossible.

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Miracles and success stories just don’t happen in the west. The story of Amitabh Bachchan is all inspiring, especially his second innings. The Indian cine legend faced financial crisis at the age of 57 in the year 2000. But he used his skill to his advantage and was the highest individual tax payer in the financial year 2012-2013. He is still one of the most sought after Bollywood actor.

Narendra Damodardas Modi is yet another example. He was blamed for the Godhra violence, one of the bloodiest controversies in the country’s history. But after investigations his name was cleared and he is the present Prime Minister of India.

Not to forget a failed lawyer, also called a half-naked fakir by some, used peaceful means to liberate India, and its neighbours, from the clutches of Britain, a warmongering nation.

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The simple fact of life is the road to success passes through the fields of failure. These stinking, sludge filled fields of failure are not easy to cross, but if you have the patience and determination to cross these marshy lands, success beckons you.

Mahatma Gandhi, and 10 famous quotes

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Background
Mohandas  Karamchand Gandhi was born on the 2nd of October 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat. He is known for: leadership of Indian independence movement, philosophy of Satyagraha, Ahimsa or nonviolence, pacifism, among many other things.

His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Nonviolence.

He is also called Bapu (father) and Gandhiji in India, and is unofficially called the Father of the Nation.

Gandhiji was assassinated at 5:17 pm on 30 January 1948 on his way to a prayer meeting.

It was owing to his efforts and philosophy that more than 16% of the world population was freed from the oppression of British imperialism, an act somehow considered unworthy for a Nobel peace prize – although he was nominated 7 times.

Quotes

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  1. You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

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2. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

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3. An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

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4. Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.

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5. Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

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6. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

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7. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

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8. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

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9. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

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10. A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.

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