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

Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Surrey police looking for witnesses to pedestrian struck by vehicle

TOM ZYTARUK VANCOUVER DESI SURREY – An elderly Surrey pedestrian struck down while walking in a marked crosswalk in Newton on Oct. 11 has died….
Continue Reading »

ATM-snakes

Bank customer flees after snake found sleeping by ATM machine

CEN AGENCY A bank customer in India fled when he went to use a cashpoint machine and found a four-foot cobra coiled up in front…
Continue Reading »

tea plantation deaths-missing

Sri Lanka says no hope finding survivors after tea plantation mudslide (w/gallery)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KOSLANDA, Sri Lanka — Hundreds of desperate Sri Lankan villagers dug with bare hands through the broken red earth of a deadly…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Surrey police looking for witnesses to pedestrian struck by vehicle

TOM ZYTARUK VANCOUVER DESI SURREY – An elderly Surrey pedestrian struck down while walking in a marked crosswalk in Newton on Oct. 11 has died….
Continue Reading »

TransCanada files application to NEB for Energy East crude pipeline

THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY – TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) says its regulatory application for the proposed Energy East pipeline is a massive document with 30,000 pages…
Continue Reading »

TransCanada files application to NEB for Energy East crude pipeline

THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY – TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) says its regulatory application for the proposed Energy East pipeline is a massive document with 30,000 pages…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Smart 21 communities

Surrey named among World’s Smart21 Communities of 2015

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY, B.C. – The Intelligent Community Forum has named the City of Surrey as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2015. As one…
Continue Reading »

elephant crushes woman to death

Elephant crushes woman to death at India’s nature reserve

CEN AGENCY A school teacher was crushed to death by an elephant when it knocked her over with its trunk and then stood on her….
Continue Reading »

Crime-Vancouver-BC

Surrey Six murders: Allegations of weekend sex party, ‘sordid’ affair between investigator and potential witness rock case

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Six case heard details Tuesday of allegations of sexual improprieties involving a second senior RCMP officer. When charges were…
Continue Reading »

CBC-sexual behaviour-lawsuit

Jian Ghomeshi’s CBC lawsuit is hopeless — even if he’s telling the truth

HOWARD LEVITT FINANCIAL POST Jian Ghomeshi’s $50-million lawsuit against the CBC has everything to do with strategy and PR — but nothing to do with…
Continue Reading »

Wedding Canopy Toran

Significance of Toran and Rangoli

KIM TREHAN VANCOUVER DESI  Hello! Last week, Indians across the globe celebrated a festival called Diwali.  Although the festival itself has no significance to weddings, there…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Ismaili musicians - Aga Khan foundation

Salim-Sulaiman show underlines Vancouver’s rising Bollywood cachet

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI With big-time Bollywood composers Salim-Sulaiman set to kick off their North American tour at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday, it…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Burdwan blast: Shah Rukh Khan prays for better times for Bengal

IANS Kolkata – Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, West Bengal’s brand ambassador, Wednesday expressed his unwillingness to talk about the terror blast in Burdwan, but…
Continue Reading »

Ayesha Takia Azmi vegan

Chic Bollywood actress Ayesha Takia poses with a chick for PETA (w/gallery)

IANS New Delhi – Ahead of World Vegan Day on Nov 1, actress Ayesha Takia has posed with a fluffy chick for a new ad…
Continue Reading »