World War II

Papaji's Inspiration

Valarie Kaur
Valarie Kaur

Valarie is a writer, filmmaker, and lecturer who has become a brave new voice on race and religion, hate and healing in post-Sept 11th America. A third-generation Sikh American, Valarie wrote and produced the critically acclaimed documentary film Divided We Fall (2008), which chronicles hate violence in the US after Sept 11, 2001. She earned bachelor's degrees in religion and international relations at Stanford University, master's in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School, and is now a student at Yale Law School.

Editor's note: This is a slightly edited version of an article on the author's blog.

Papa Ji was my mother's father. His wisdom and love made me who I am - and inspired Divided We Fall.

In November 2008, in California, I stood before his casket adorned with flowers, where his face shone regal in a red turban, and gazed out at a hundred people who had gathered in the small chapel. I never write down what I will say before an audience, but I knew that I needed to draw courage from words on paper.  I clutched the pages and spoke through tears:

My Beautiful Papa Ji,

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