When Big Tree Falls

When Big Tree Falls

When Big Tree Falls

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When Big Tree Falls is a short story by acclaimed Malayalam author N. S. Madhavan, adapted into an award winning feature film Kaya Taran by director Sashi Kumar.

Kaya Taran (or Chrysalis) is set in Meerut city during November 1984, about a Sikh woman and her young son who have taken shelter in a nunnery during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The title of the story refers to widely rebuked statement by Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, who is thought to have trivialised the murder of 2700 sikhs in Delhi, allegedly by supporters of his ruling party Indian National Congress, by remarking that when a big tree falls, the earth is bound to shake.

The phrase is from a statement he made in New Delhi on November 19th 1984, at a Boat Club rally commemorating his late mother's birthday: “Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji. We know the people were very angry and for a few days it seemed that India had been shaken. But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little.”

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