Sadism on a Sacred Day – Remembering Jallianwala Bagh

jallianwala-bagh04Jallianwala Bagh Massacre or Amritsar massacre was an important incident in the history of Indian freedom movement during the British Raj.  Today is the anniversary of that cold blooded incident in the history.

It’s been 96 years since that incident happened yet it gives me the pain as if it happened yesterday/ today. The pain I feel when I think of that cannot be described in words. Not only me, but all the true Indians would feel the same…

The question is: who killed those hundreds of Indians — men, women and little children — with cold blood at the orders of General Dyer? They were Indians.

Amritsar MassacreJALLIANWALA BAGH MASSACRE, involved the killing of hundreds of unarmed, defenseless Indians, took place on 13 April 1919 in the heart of Amritsar, the holiest city of the Sikhs, on a day sacred to them as the birth anniversary of the Khalsa. Around fifty British Indian Army soldiers, commanded by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, began the shooting without warning. Dyer marched his fifty riflemen to a raised bank and ordered them to kneel and fire. Dyer ordered soldiers to reload their rifles several times and they were ordered to shoot to kill. Official British Raj sources estimated the fatalities at 379, and with 1,100 wounded. Civil Surgeon Dr Williams DeeMeddy indicated that there were 1,526 casualties. However, the casualty number quoted by the Indian National Congress was more than 1,500, with roughly 1,000 killed.Back in his headquarters, General Dyer reported to his superiors that he had been “confronted by a revolutionary army”.

In a telegram sent to Dyer, British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O’Dwyer wrote: “Your action is correct. Lieutenant Governor approves.”

“I think it quite possible that I could have dispersed the crowd without firing but they would have come back again and laughed, and I would have made, what I consider, a fool of myself.” — Dyer’s response to the Hunter Commission Enquiry. He thought that a little shooting will do no good. How cruel…

He stated that he did not make any effort to tend to the wounded after the shooting: “Certainly not. It was not my job. Hospitals were open and they could have gone there.”

The Hunter Commission did not award any penal nor disciplinary action because Dyer’s actions were condoned by various superiors (later upheld by the Army Council). However, he was finally found guilty of a mistaken notion of duty and relieved of his command.

Shaheed Udham Singh
Shaheed Udham Singh

Udham Singh (a teenager  who saw the massacre on his own eyes) was deeply involved with Bhagat Singh’s revolutionary ideas and became a part of his revolutionary group. In 1927, Udam Singh was arrested for possession of unlicensed arms. He was prosecuted and sentenced to five years in prison.

Upon his release from prison in 1931, Singh’s movements were under constant surveillance by the Punjab police. He made his way to Kashmir, where he was able to evade the police and escape to Germany. In 1934, Singh reached London, where he planned to assassinate Michael O’Dwyer. On 13 March 1940, Michael O’Dwyer was scheduled to speak at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society (now Royal Society for Asian Affairs) at Caxton Hall. Singh concealed his revolver in a cut-out book, entered the hall, and stood against the wall. As the meeting concluded, Singh shot O’Dwyer twice as he moved towards the speaking platform, killing him immediately.

Udam Singh was one of the unsung heroes of India where people never realized his patriotism…

But the main villain of this massacre, Dyer died of natural death but with lots of pain. He died of cerebral haemorrhage and arteriosclerosis in 1927. He became increasingly isolated due to the paralysis and speechlessness inflicted by his strokes while in deathbed…

 The pain and cries because of more than a thousand deaths in Amritsar “united Indians as never before and after”. This incident solidified the support for the Indian Independence movement. Hope all Indians today will have such patriotism as Udham Singh, Bhagat Singh, Netaji, Sukhdev, Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan, Azad and the rest and will do his/ her part towards greater India…

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