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On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 was bombed by Sikh radicals and killed all 329 passengers and crew. In the years that followed this tragic event, the Canadian government struggled to find those responsible for the attack. It was not until 2003 that Inderjit Singh Reyat, an Indian-Canadian citizen who was a Sikh extremist, was arrested. The inaction of the Canadian government led to unrest among the Indian-Canadian population, many of whom had fled India to escape religious and civil persecution from the riots between the Sikh and Hindu people. They felt that the government did not recognize that the terrorist organized the attack on Canadian soil.

In “The Management of Grief,” Bharati Mukherjee tells the fictional story of a woman who lost her husband and sons in the bombing of Air India Flight 182. Shaila may be a fictional character, but the story she tells is a real one. Mukherjee chose the Air India 182 tragedy to tell the story of grief for a reason. If I were Mukherjee, an Indian-Canadian citizen who lived in Montreal in 1985 when the bombing occurred, I would choose Air India Flight 182 because of the connection I felt towards this event. Despite the fact that Mukherjee did not lose any family to the terrorist attack, she still would have felt the loss within her community in Montreal. This attack was not just an attack on the plane but an attack on all Canadian citizens.

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