Author: Subrahmanya Sharma V., Assistant Professor, Department of English, UniversityCollegeof Arts, Tumkur.
Of all the fictional representations of the critical events that happened after independence with partition, Indira Goswami’s Pages Stained with Blood stands apart, as it focuses on the least discussed pogrom of violence inflicted upon the innocent Sikhs in Delhi in 1984, after the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The novel introduces to us the varied trajectories of Sikh experiences of the last two decades of the twentieth century, with 1984 as its epicenter. Originally written in the Assamese, titled “Tej aru Dhulite Dusharita Prishta”, Pages Stained with Blood is the English version. Indira Goswami was teaching in Delhi University when the violence against the Sikhs had occurred in Delhi in 1984. It was a painful experience for her to watch the carnage from a close perspective. The novel is an outburst against this outrage and victimization.
Instead of focusing on the upper strata of Sikh society, Goswami deals with Sikhs of the streets. The novel is a deviation from dry statistical details of the loss of human life and property and prefers to examine the evolution of those ordinary Sikh characters, as they struggle to cope with communal frenzy. The narrative locale of the novel isDelhi within which the novelist tries to outline the contemporary Sikh milieu. She describes how Sikhs were being targeted; their properties were looted with the active support ofDelhi police and some influential political leaders of the city. Their religious places were desecrated and their women were molested. True to the title, the pages are metaphorically stained with the blood of innocent Sikhs.
Although Indira Goswami has sympathies for the suffering of the Sikhs, she does not support their unbridled terrorist activity. She denounces utterly the cold blooded murder of many innocent people by Sikh militants. It underlines her commitment to the message of peace and non-violence. The Delhitragedy of 1984 revived the memory of the partition of 1947. On both occasions, the Sikhs had suffered greatly. The community is yet to forget the bitter experiences of 1984 and the instigators of violence were set free by the law a couple of years ago, thereby making their wounds incurable forever. From all these perspectives, Pages Stained with Blood becomes crucial in our understanding of humanistic concerns.
Banerji, Dr. Himadri. “Revisiting 1984 through Assamese Fiction” in World Sikh News. April 15-21, 2009. pp.20-21
Butalia, Urvashi. “ An Archive with Difference; Partition Letters” in Kaul, Suvir(ed). The Partitions of Memory: The Afterlife of the Division ofIndia.New Delhi: Permanent Balck, 2000. rpt 2011, pp.208-41.
Goswami, Indira. Pages Stained with Blood. Translated from Assamese by Pradip AcharyaNew Delhi: Katha, 2000.
Kaul, Suvir(ed). The Partitions of Memory: The Afterlife of the Division ofIndia.New Delhi: Permanent Balck, 2000. rpt 2011.
Kashyap, Aruni. “An Inerview with Indira Goswami”. <http;// pratilipi.in/…/stained-with-blood-an-interview-with-indira-goswami//> 13-03-2012Cached – Similar
 Indira Goswami (14 November 1942 – 29 November 2011), known by her pen name Mamoni Raisom Goswami and popularly as Mamoni Baideo,was an Assamese editor, poet, professor, scholar and writer.
She was the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award (1983), the Jnanpith Award (2001)and Principal Prince Claus Laureate (2008)A celebrated writer of contemporary Indian literature, many of her works have been translated into English from her native Assamese which include The Moth Eaten Howdah of the Tusker, Pages Stained With Blood and The Man from Chinnamasta.
 It is my personal observation that certain events like the Babri Masjid demolition riots, Godhra violence etc are much debated and discussed in academics. However, there is a deep silence regarding the 1984 violence against the Sikhs that killed more than 4000 inDelhi alone.
 Dr. Himadri Banerji, p-21
 The novel has been translated to Bengali and English. According to Dr. Himadri Banerji, its Bengali version has more or less remained true to the original version. But its English rendering has been extensively edited resulting in numerous deletions of many interesting details.
 In an interview given to Aruni Kashyap, Indira Goswami tells that “I wrote exactly what I saw. There is almost no difference between fact and fiction in that book”
 One of the characters is Santokh Singh Ajnavi, a young auto driver: the second one is Balbir Singh, a middle aged poor kabadi wallah. The third one is Nanak Singh Bhalla who had almost stopped talking to any one since the abduction, rape and murder of his only daughters during the tumultuous days of 1947. Goswami described these characters as ‘a part of my family’. P-123
 Urvashi Butalia records in her essay “ An Archive…” that for many people inDelhi, the violence of 1984 was “ like partition again”in Suvir Kaul, p-210