Remembering Air India

The Art of Public Mourning


Remembering Air India

On June 23, 1985, the bombing of Air India Flight 182 killed 329 people, most of them Canadians. Today this pivotal event in Canada’s history is hazily remembered, yet certain interests have shaped how the tragedy is woven into public memory, and even exploited to advance a pernicious national narrative. Remembering Air India insists that we “remember Air India otherwise.” This collection investigates the Air India bombing and its implications for current debates about racism, terrorism, and citizenship. Drawing together academic analysis, testimony, visual arts, and creative writing, this innovative volume tenders a new public record of the bombing, one that shows how important creative responses are for deepening our understanding of the event and its aftermath.

Contributions by: Cassel Busse, Chandrima Chakraborty, Amber Dean, Rita Kaur Dhamoon, Angela Failler, Teresa Hubel, Suvir Kaul, Elan Marchinko, Eisha Marjara, Bharati Mukherjee, Lata Pada, Uma Parameswaran, Sherene H. Razack, Renée Sarojini Saklikar, Maya Seshia, Karen Sharma, Deon Venter, Padma Viswanathan

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front cover 1
Title page 4
Copyright page 5
Epigraphs 6
Contents 8
Acknowledgements 12
The Art of Public Mourning | Chakraborty, Dean and Failler 14
Remembering in Relation 34
Remembering in Relation | Dean 36
On the Shores of the Irish Sea | Parameswaran 62
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao (excerpt) | Viswanathan 66
Remembering across Place and Time | Kaur Dhamoon 82
A Nation Outside of History 86
From Foreign to Canadian Seshia 88
The Impact of Systemic Racism on Canada’s Pre-Bombing Threat Assessment and Post-Bombing Response to the Air India Bombings | Razack 118
Courtroom #1 from the Flight 182 series | Venter 151
In the Vestibule of the Nation | Razack 152
The Political Apology 158
Politics of (Im)moderation | Busse 160
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada at the Commemoration Ceremony for the 25th Anniversary of the Air India Flight 182 Atrocity 186
The Canadian Government’s Apology to the Victims and Families of Air India Flight 182 | Sharma 192
Creative Archive 198
Mediating Memories of the 1985 Air India Bombings | Marchinko 200
Revealed by Fire | Pada 216
An Invocation Dance for Lata | Parameswaran 220
An Ethics of Remembering | Hubel 222
Personal Loss, Collective Grief 226
Model Mourning, Multiculturalism, and the Air India Tragedy | Chakraborty 228
The Management of Grief | Mukherjee 254
Desperately Seeking Helen | Marjara 272
air india, unsent / letters from the archive | Sarjini Saklikar 274
“Courting Aphasia, We Travel” | Kaul 320
Contributors 324
Index 330
Other Titles from The University of Alberta Press 361