NARRATIVES, KNOWLEDGE AND TRUTH
First Published in 2008, pp 377+vi
This book takes the reader on a voyage into that terrain of recent history of conflict in Punjab which remains cordoned off by the barriers of knowledge raised by the mainstream media and the established scholarship on the subject. It shows how the terror was spawned, sustained and then suppressed behind those barriers. Probing the connections between mass atrocities and the miasma of hegemonic narratives, the book demonstrates that a socially deliberative space of plural understanding of political conflicts is the first prerequisite for the rectification of all abuses of power. Coming from a witness and the biographer of Punjab's recent history who remains dedicated to people's rights to truth, justice and reparation, the book deserves the attention not only of the students of political conflict and the media but also the community of human rights activists, academics and others who grapple with the issues of historical accountability worldwide.
Ram Narayan Kumar, author of several books on Punjab including much celebrated Reduced to Ashes: the Insurgency and Human Rights in Punjab, is currently based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kumar directs a research project Understanding Impunity: Failures and Possibilities of Rights to Truth, Justice and Reparation, housed by South Asia Forum for Human Rights.
Return of "Near Normalcy"
Truth Claims and the Politics of Justice
Social Moorings of Knowledge / 21, Human Rights Interventions and Apologies / 23, An Assassination and the Demonization of the Community / 25, Framing of the Suppression / 26, Media and Conflict: Standards of Evaluation / 31, The International Print Media in Punjab: An Evaluation / 33, Elections to the Village Councils: The Fate of a Candidate / 35, Anti-insurgency Legislation / 38, Enforced disappearance of Mr. Bhatti: A Human Rights Lawyer / 41, Impunity under the National Human Rights Commission / 49, The Life and the Death of a Sikh Priest /58
The Becoming of a Nightmare-1984
The Democratic Interlude and a Debate on Decentraliza-tion / 86, Alchemists of the Turmoil-their Politics and the Patrons / 87, The Clash in Amritsar / 92, The Rise of Bhindranwale / 96, Humiliation of the Akalis / 99, The Agitation and the
Negotiations / 106, The Confrontation / 113, The Operation Blue Star and the 1919 massacre at Amritsar-A comparison / 123, The Operation Woodrose and the carnage in Delhi / 126
The Operation Blue Star and the Peace Process:
Spin Doctoring the International Media
The Coverage Before the Operation Blue Star / 142, Approving the Military Action / 159, Labeling and Its Effects / 164, Sikhism as a Hindu Sect: Associations of Meaning / 170, The Coverage Between the July 1985 Accord and its Rescinding in January 1986 / 179
Black Thunder over the Golden Temple
New Appointments in Punjab / 211, The declaration of Khalistan and the Operation Black Thunder I / 212, Delegitimizing Moderation / 214, Dealings with the Militants / 216, Lost Opportunities of Peace / 219, The Rode Initiative and the Dismissal of the Akali Government / 222, India's own 'Dirty War' / 225, The Rode Initiative at Work / 230, Operation Black Thunder II / 236
Deadends of Democracy:
Khalistan, Terrorism and the Poll Boycott
The Second Panthik Committee / 259, Simaranjit Singh Mann and The Case of Conspiracy / 263, The Elections in 1989 / 266, Failures of the National Front Government / 268, Confessions of an Undercover Agent / 280, Chandra Shekhar's Initiatives and the Aborted Elections / 284, The Poll Boycott in 1992 - the Deadend / 296, Restoration of Normalcy / 299
What is Sikh Dissent?
The Akali Demands / 316, The Territorial Claims / 318, River Waters - the Elemental Issue / 329, The Center-States Relations / 343, Anxieties of Identity and the Akali Religious Demands / 349, The Sikh Origins / 350, Hum Hindu Nahin / 356, The Sikh identity and its Opposition / 362