Kultar’s Mime tells the stories of Sikh children who survived the Delhi massacre through a poem that grew into a play, made its way from Boston to Delhi, and restarted the conversation about a forgotten chapter in history.
In April 1903, a pogrom targeted the Jewish population in Kishinev, Russia, leaving many dead and wounded and thousands homeless. Upon visiting the aftermath, the Hebrew poet Hayim Nahman Bialik composed one of his most famous poems, “In the City of Slaughter.”
In 1984, after Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot by her Sikh bodyguards, an orgy of murder, rape, and arson was unleashed upon the Sikh residents of Delhi, in which more than three thousand lost their lives. When he eventually discovered the hidden truth, Sarbpreet Singh, then a young Sikh living in Milwaukee wrote the poem “Kultar’s Mime.”
The play Kultar’s Mime synthesizes the suffering caused by these two events, separated by thousands of miles, many years, and vast cultural differences. Through the raw imagery of the two poems, it reminds us that, in the end, all innocent victims are the same.
About the Author
Sarbpreet Singh is a poet, playwright, and commentator with a career in technology. He writes a column for sikhchic.com, and his commentary has appeared elsewhere, including NPR's Morning Edition, the Boston Herald, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Providence Journal. He is the founder and director of the Gurmat Sangeet Project, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of traditional Sikh music. He also serves on the boards of several nonprofits focused on service and social justice and has been recognized for his interfaith work.
J. Mehr Kaur, the creator of the play Kultar's Mime, is pursuing a BA in theatre with an emphasis in directing at Smith College. Recent projects include Orlando and Seven: A Documentary Play, as part of Hillary Clinton's 2014 Women in Public Service Institute. She attended the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, where she directed a thirty-eight member ensemble in a multimedia musical inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement.