It’s a play that blends painting, poetry, theatre and music to tell the stories of Sikh children who survived the 1984 Delhi massacre that was organized in the wake of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Kultar’s Mime, coming to Surrey this weekend, follows a collective of young Jewish artists who decide to commemorate a 1903 Pogrom that targeted Jews in the Russian town of Kishinev.
During their journey, however, they learn about the 1984 massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi and in a powerful moment of embracing others’ pain, they shift focus and decide to tell a story that embraces the pain of others.
The play, presented by The Sikh Research Institute, incorporates text from two poems: Kultar’s Mime by Sarbpreet Singh and In The City Of Slaughter by Haim Bialik.
Bialik, a young Hebrew poet, went to Kishinev to talk to survivors of the three days of violence that saw 49 Jews killed, 500 wounded and 2,000 families left homeless. He wrote one of his most famous poems, using searing, powerful imagery to describe the horror that descended upon the Jewish residents of the city.
Eighty-one years later, Delhi was witness to a horror of even greater proportions. On Oct. 31, 1984, Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards. In retaliation, an orgy of murder, rape and arson was unleashed upon the Sikh residents of Delhi in which more than 3,000 lost their lives.
The poem Kultar’s Mime drew upon eyewitness accounts of the Delhi pogrom to describe the sufferings of the Sikhs of Delhi, through the eyes of a group of young survivors.
The play synthesizes the sufferings of innocent victims of organized violence, separated by thousands of miles, numerous years and insurmountable differences of religion, language and culture. Drawing upon the raw imagery of both poems, it tells a story of human suffering and courage, reminding us that in the end all innocent victims are the same, regardless of which God they worship and what tongues they speak.
The Surrey shows take place Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Ave. Admission is by donation.
Reservations are available on Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/1LT6Xb0