New Westminster poet brings to life the voices of those who perished in the 1985 Air India bombing

Published: October 24, 2013
renee-saklikar-children-of-air-india

Haunted: Poet Renee Sarojini Saklikar with her book, children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections. Saklikar’s book recalls the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, in which Saklikar lost an aunt and uncle. Jason Lang

DON HAUKA
ROYAL CITY RECORD 

Renee Sarojini Saklikar was buried deep in the archives when she started hearing the children’s voices.

And although she hadn’t intended to write poetry about Canada’s deadliest act of terrorism, the voices demanded it. The result is children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections, the first book of poetry about the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182.

“It’s very hard to talk about, but if you believe in ghosts and the soul, then you’ll understand that voices did rise up and speak to me, particularly the children,” said Saklikar.

“I didn’t start out to write about this tragedy in a poetic way. These voices claimed me.”

Sakilkar’s aunt and uncle were among the 329 people who perished on June 23, 1985, when a bomb placed aboard the airliner exploded above the Irish Sea. There were also 82 children who perished.

Saklikar is still haunted by the sunny June in 1985 when her aunt and uncle made their one and only visit to B.C.

“My aunt was my mom’s youngest sister. She was very passionate about women’s health. She was an expert marks-woman and very warm,” she said.

In some ways, Saklikar began writing her book the moment she and her family got the news of the bombing. But it didn’t start taking shape until 2009 while she was at the Writer’s Studio at SFU. She began delving into the archives, intending to write a personal memoir.

But as she plowed through the pages and pages of court documents, transcripts and letters, she started to hear the words leaping off the page.

“A certain phrase or page would speak to me,” she said. “This book is about language, whether it works or doesn’t work.”

Over the next three-plus years, Saklikar worked as the poems took shape. She has produced deeply personal poetry that explores personal loss set against public trauma. Published by Nightwood Editions and distributed and marketed by Harbour Publishing, the book is described as a “docu-poetic collection.”

Saklikar also writes thecanadaproject, a lifelong poetry project that chronicles her life from her birth in India, her childhood growing up across Canada and her current career on the West Coast.

Daughter of the late Rev. Vasant Saklikar (longtime minister of the Sixth Avenue United Church and school trustee who died in 2002), she is married to B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix.

What is her hope for the book?

“One hope I have is people will think about the question of violence and how it touches us when we don’t want to be touched by it,” Saklikar said.

“With so much pain and suffering, violence demands something of us. I hope the reader will contemplate on that.”

Read more stories from Royal City Record here.


Tags: , , , , ,





Featured

File photo: A nurse loads a syringe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody

South Surrey clinic places public ‘at risk,’ says document filed in Supreme Court

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A South Surrey clinic has “placed members of the public at risk” by falsely claiming to be naturopathic doctors and administering…
Continue Reading »

jail sex

B.C. Supreme Court to decide if Kamloops Mountie watching women have sex in jail is a crime

THE CANADIAN PRESS KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A judge wants to hear arguments from lawyers about the legality of the charge against an RCMP corporal accused…
Continue Reading »

Rice Bucket India poverty

India’s Rice Bucket Challenge gives a ‘meaningful twist’ to ALS ice bucket challenge

VANCOUVER DESI India has created its own “desi” version of the ALS ice bucket challenge that has swept the globe. While the original icy cold…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

File photo: A nurse loads a syringe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody

South Surrey clinic places public ‘at risk,’ says document filed in Supreme Court

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A South Surrey clinic has “placed members of the public at risk” by falsely claiming to be naturopathic doctors and administering…
Continue Reading »

jail sex

B.C. Supreme Court to decide if Kamloops Mountie watching women have sex in jail is a crime

THE CANADIAN PRESS KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A judge wants to hear arguments from lawyers about the legality of the charge against an RCMP corporal accused…
Continue Reading »

Child pornography

Abbotsford man charged with possession and distribution of child pornography

THE CANADIAN PRESS ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Charges of possessing and distributing child pornography and obstructing justice have been laid against a 39-year-old Abbotsford, B.C., man….
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Elephant headed god

Gallery: India prepares to welcome elephant-headed Lord Ganesha

VANCOUVER DESI Preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival marking the birth of the elephant-headed god, have taken off in India as Hindus prepare to welcome…
Continue Reading »

India-Khatav-Akola,Maharashtra

Baby born with two faces in India fighting for life (Warning: Graphic content)

VANCOUVER DESI A baby born with two faces and four eyes is fighting for her life at a hospital in western India, according to Ruptly….
Continue Reading »

PRV0826-SOCIETYEVICTED_217653098

City of Vancouver gives multicultural society the boot

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Vancouver Multicultural Society’s 40th anniversary celebrations have hit a major snag after the city issued the group notice of eviction…
Continue Reading »

Mystic India: The World Tour takes the PNE stage Tuesday and runs until Sept. 1. Submitted photo.

Bollywood dance group Mystic India takes stage at PNE for one week only (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Internationally acclaimed Bollywood dance troupe Mystic India will be transporting Vancouver audiences overseas as it takes the PNE stage for one week only….
Continue Reading »

cen main.jpg

Woman in India survives hour-long battle with leopard, armed only with small agricultural tool

CEN NEWS A 54-year-old woman has astonished wildlife experts in India after she survived a terrifying hour-long battle with a hungry leopard. Widow Kamla Devi…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

hot photos desi actress bollywood sex

Gallery: Deepika Padukone photo shoot

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone, who is creating a lot of buzz with her upcoming film Finding Fanny, poses for the camera. Related Stories:…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood desi boobs sex

Bollywood’s bold babe Sherlyn Chopra strips for Playboy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actress Sherlyn Chopra marks the first-ever Indian model to pose for Playboy magazine, according to eonline.com. While the 30-year-old announced she’d be…
Continue Reading »

Imam Siddique

Imam Siddique excited about Bollywood debut

IANS Mumbai – Imam Siddique, best remembered for his appearance in reality show “Bigg Boss 6″, is making his Bollywood debut with a film titled…
Continue Reading »