The year 1984 is deeply ingrained in the collective Sikh memory. The attack on the Sri Harmandir Sahib and the subsequent pogrom in Delhi fundamentally challenged the manner in which the Sikh population in India and the diaspora engaged with the state. Indeed, these two events represented the culmination of a first phase of a war that began in the 1970s and continued well into the 1990s with the clearest effect on the Sikhs in Punjab. Nevertheless, 1984 continues to evoke a series of questions that are addressed in this paper. It examines how lives become precarious and grievable as well as how societies descend into barbarism. Finally, it seeks to understand how we memorialise grievable lives.