The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide


List of Events

After 1984, The Anti-Sikh Pogroms: Jaspreet Singh's Helium Book Launch

Thu 14 Nov 2013

Time: 7.00pm

On 1 November 1984, a day after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination, a nineteen-year-old student, Raj, travels back from a class trip with his mentor, Professor Singh. As the group disembark at Delhi station a mob surrounds the professor, throws a tyre over him, douses him in petrol and sets him alight.

Years later, after moving to the United States, Raj finds himself compelled to return to India to find his professor's widow, the beautiful and enigmatic Nelly. As the two walk through the misty mountains of Shimla, painful memories emerge, and Raj realises he must face the truth about his father's role in the genocidal pogrom. But, as they soon discover, the path leads inexorably back to that day at the train station.

In this lyrical and haunting exploration of one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Indian nation, Jaspreet Singh has crafted an affecting and important story of memory, collective silences and personal trauma.

This event is held in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing will take the form of a panel discussion chaired by Wiener Library Trustee Professor Philip Spencer and featuring Jaspreet Singh and Schona Jolly. Refreshments will be served after the event.

Professor Spencer is Director of the Helen Bamber Centre for the Study of Rights, Conflict and Mass Violence at Kingston University. His most recent book, Genocide since 1945 (Routledge, 2012) traces the history of genocide since the Holocaust looking at a number of cases across continents and decades. 

Jaspreet Singh is a novelist, essayist, short story writer and a former research scientist. His works have won the Quebec First Book Prize, the Observer Book of the Year and the Canadian Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. He has also been a finalist for four awards including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book.

Schona Jolly is a writer, journalist and a barrister specialising in human rights and equality law. She is from London, but has lived and worked in a number of countries, including India. She is particularly interested in South Asian affairs and writes for a number of international publications on India. She is an executive committee member of the Bar Human Rights Committee.

Admission: Free, but booking is essential as space is limited. 


The South Asian Literature Festival

The festival is a celebration of the language, culture and literary heritage of South Asia. Now in its fourth year, 
the festival has hosted more than 150 events and more than 200 writers, speakers, performers and across multiple venues in London, Brighton, Leicester, Edinburgh and Norwich. 
Major themes this year include Indo-Caribbean literature, the ‘Other’ in Asian Britain, Partition and Mythology. 

The Festival will take place at various venues across London including Asia House, Brent Civic Centre, British Library, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), Conway Hall, Dishoom, Free Word Centre, Sage Gateshead, University of Westminster - Regents Street, Weiner Library, as well as many schools and colleges across London.
Tickets are available from Friday 9am GMT on 4th October 2013 through or by calling the Festival Box Office on 01865 798797.


Location: The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London - click for map

How to book: