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In “The Management of Grief” by Bharati Mukherjee, something that is never truly explained or comment on is the use of Sikh, as a noun or a adjective. Sure, it can be used as an allusion to connect the story to the Sikh bombing, an actual event on June 23, 1985. However, if that is its purpose then why have the scene on page 444:

I say to her, “They are Sikh. They will not open up to a Hindu woman.” And what I want to add is, as much as I try not to, I stiffen now at the sight of beards and turbans. I remember a time when we all trusted each other in this new country, it was only the new country we worried about.

I feel the reason why this scene is included is to show that terrorist attacks effect not just the intended target, but also others. In the case of the short story, “The Management of Grief,” Bharati Mukherjee goes to the extreme of using the Sikh, who were the ones that executed the attack, as the example of “others”. In the real Sikh bombing event, the Sikh had become a community that was being considered “evil” or immoral. Suffering backlash form the bombing, as victims of the bombing and slander from the actions of extremists.  A good comparison to the Sikh in this story is how  Muslims are portrayed today, both of which are suffering in a similar way.

However, even though it’s good to be aware of how events like the Sikh bombing affect the whole of the Sikh community. The majority of victims of terrorist attacks are those caught in the cross-fire of two ideals. In real-life, the Sikh bombing only killed 24 Indian citizens.That is only 7.3% of the victims were the intended target of this attack. A much lower number then what are narrator makes us believe with lines like “There are five other boys who look like Vinod (on that flight).”  Making it seem like there were a lot of Indians on the flight to mistake as her son. Also if, like the short story suggests, that some of the 24 Indian citizens were Sikh, then the actual targeted victim percent is even lower. That leaves about 305 people that were unintended victims of this attack in the death toll, and another couple-hundred victims of grief.

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