Dilbagh Singh Survived the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots, but the Horrors Linger On

The 1984 anti-Sikh riots killed hundreds. Those who survived still haven't moved on.

1 min read

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"All they wanted was revenge – blood for blood, kill those who killed their fathers. But they could do nothing. So, they were a frustrated lot. Drugs and alcohol were their only way to cope with the frustration."
Dilbagh Singh, Singer

Dilbagh Singh’s Audi Q7 is just too big for the narrow roads of Tilak Vihar in West Delhi, which was his home once. Everyone here recognises his car. He’s the local boy who became a Punjabi singing sensation.

 Just like the 900 families living here in Tilak Vihar, commonly known as the widows’ colony, Dilbagh lost his two uncles and elder brother in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Though he has moved on to a better life and a bigger home in nearby Vikaspuri, the horrors of 1984 still haunt him.

"As a four-year-old, I saw how they killed my family members, they looted our home. We had to leave our big home behind and live as refugees here in Tilak Vihar. These memories are permanently stored in my mind’s hard disk, they can never be overwritten."
Dilbagh Singh, Singer

Dilbagh is one of the rare success stories of Tilak Vihar – almost 90 percent of his generation, who were 10-16 years old in 1984, could do nothing with their lives. When the survivors of the riots were resettled in Tilak Vihar, the women were also given low-level government jobs. This was their only means to earn a living.

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