Contd from.. ..
[We took a rickshaw for Jalianwala bagh. Golden temple is again at a walking distance from it.]
“The impossible men of India shall rise and liberate their Motherland”
Mahatma Gandhi, after the Amritsar Massacre.
I have seen many places with naked history buried in their hearts where human life has no value over barbarousness of some people. And every time I had become numb to realize how obnoxiously we treat other human beings.
One was in a museum in Sydney where a crime as small as stealing a kerchief would cost a seven year jail term. You can imagine the punishment for bigger crimes.
Among other such places that I have seen, one was the Colosseum in Rome. I had remained shocked beyond words for the rest of the tour to that city. And it happened again when I visited the Jallianwala Bagh.
As an individual I am quite strong hearted; do not get moved by something I read, hear or watch on screen. But once I am at the place, surrounded by the same screaming walls retelling the story of ghastly deeds; I, in a way experience the same anguish and pain which would have felt by some helpless people years ago.
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as Amritsar Massacre, was named after the Jallianwala Bagh (Garden) where, on April 13, 1919, British Indian Army soldiers on General Dyer’s orders opened fire without any warning on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children from all religions Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. The firing lasted about 10 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired or 33 rounds per soldier !! There were over 1500 deaths, with more than 2000 wounded.
The only passage to enter/exit
The Jallianwala Bagh is an open enclosure with tall buildings on all the four sides with only a narrow passage which lead into it. At the time of firing, this exit was blocked.
As the machine guns started raining bullets and there being no exit, a general stampede followed. There were two more gates and when people started running towards them, they found them to be locked. Women and children were crushed under the heels of those who tried to escape firing.
The well in which many people who tried to escape from the bullets were drowned.
The only option for these unarmed victims was to stand near the walls or to jump into a well which has been now named as Martyr’s Well. They did both. The soldiers left only when they had exhausted their ammunition. There was none to offer even water to the dying, let alone attending to the wounded.
The remnants of walls have been preserved to show the bullet holes.
There are a few horrifying stories mentioned in the museum part of this garden. I am not going to mention them except of one Ratan Devi. She was forced to keep a nightlong vigil, armed with a bamboo stick to protect her husband’s body from jackals and vultures. Curfew with shoot-at-sight orders had been imposed from 2000 hours that night.
Ratan Devi has stated in the account, ”I saw three men writhing in great pain and a boy of about 12. I could not leave the place. The boy asked me for water but there was no water in that place. At 2 am, a Jat who was lying entangled on the wall asked me to raise his leg. I went up to him and took hold of his clothes drenched in blood and raised him up. Heaps of bodies lay there, a number of them innocent children… ..” Rest I leave.
I am posting only very few pictures taken there. Rest all will go in my album.
Today this ground has been changed to a park and it has a pleasant garden. More photos of this garden later. At the entrance there is a memorial plaque which recounts the history. At the east end of the garden there is a large memorial built in memory of those who died here.
Travel guide:– Entrance is free.
Entry time – 7 AM to 9 PM
Our next stop was Golden Temple, just 400 meters from this place.
P.S.- If you like to travel with me, I suggest you to join me on Facebook travel page.
I have to visit this place. Thank you very much for these shots.
Very informative post! I liked the images too!
Hi Cuckoo! Quite impressive post! Had heard about the massacre, but learn a lot here!!
Thanks for your comments at Blogtrotter, now with new posts on Delhi! Enjoy and have a great weekend!
This is a very sad chapter in the history of India of monstrous barbarity. This incident paved the way for greater resolve to fight for independence from the British Raj.
I’d like to point out that Dyer, who was responsible for giving orders to fire, was later on demoted.
Thank you for sharing your photographs.
@Celine – u say that he was demoted. but wikipedia has a different story to tell.
On his return to Britain, General Dyer was presented with a purse of 26,000 pounds sterling, a huge sum in those days, which emerged from a collection on his behalf by the Morning Post, a conservative, pro-Imperialistic newspaper, which later merged with the Daily Telegraph. A Thirteen Women Committee was constituted to present “the Saviour of the Punjab with sword of honour and a purse.”
Cuckoo, allow me to respond to Rahi:-
Rahi, since you mentioned Wikipedia, I checked it too and here it what it says of Dyer:
“He was met by Lieutenant-General Sir Havelock Hudson, who told him that he was relieved of his command. He was later told by the Commander-in-Chief in India, General Sir Charles Carmichael Monro, to resign his post and that he would not be reemployed.”
There were mixed reactions on Dyer’s action on the Amritsar Massacre. There were those who supported, and those who condemned, both in India and Britain. However, the official Hunter Committee assigned to investigate on the Massacre condemned Dyer’s actions. The British House of Commons also reprimanded his actions on the Massacre.
I wrote “demoted” as I thought Brigadier-General (Dyer’s position before the Amritsar Massacre) was of a higher rank than Colonel. I’m not too sure on the correct order of the hierarchy system in the military. Correct me if I am wrong.
thanks Celine for the further research on dyer. i just wanted to say that the influential britons (who had a voice in those times over government policy) were supportive of dyer’s heinous acts. So even if he lost his job or was demoted (i would b of little help in telling about the millitary heirarchy system. may b cuckoo knows), he never felt guilty for the massacre. and The Morning Post remembered him in articles titled, “The Man Who Saved India” and “He did his Duty”.
Celine & Rahi,
Carry on the good discussion. I am liking it. 😀
Yes, Brigadier-General is a higher rank than a Colonel.
so celine u were correct on the demotion thing. but u will hav to accept that the general british feeling at that time was of praise for dyer. although i hav heard that quite a large number of british people do not approve of the imperialist ways now
I’m glad about having got into a discussion and like this exchange our thoughts. I agree on the general feeling of praise showered on Dyer by the British during those times.
However, since Cuckoo has encouraged and hoping you do not mind, let me take the liberty to share a few more thoughts. This will be from another angle and is concerning in particular to your assertion that Dyer “never felt guilty…”
I do not think it can be emphatically stated that Dyer ‘never felt guilty’ of his action. Though initially he publicly kept proclaiming he did the right thing, his health failed soon after the incident and he was then stricken with paralysis from which he did not recover. At the time of his death he is reported to have mentioned:
“…but I don’t want to get better. Some say I did right, while others say I did wrong. I only want to die… and know of my maker whether I did right or wrong.” [quote: wikipedia].
Taking the above into consideration, there is a possibility that he might have experienced a conflict within himself and may have perceived eventually that his actions were not justified. It could also be that on his death bed he was perhaps remorseful. No one would know what he actually went through during the last moments of his life…
What do you think?
Apologies for another long comment. Please note that this is not meant to convey in any way at all that I am defending Dyer’s action. Certainly not!
I missed this wonderful post because of the incapacitation of the net at our end. I am also happy for having arrived late for otherwise I could have missed the interesting intervening comments. Thank you …
sorry, am a bit late here..stunning pics..i almost revisited my history class in school..we enacted this during one of those history association events and I still remember it vividly
I love places such as this that have so much history contained within them. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Great pics and though I have, infact everyone has read abt the massacre in history books, being there must be a whole different experience.
Can anyone provide any information about the identity of the sepoys who actually fired upon the crowds ?
Dyer lives till today as the quintessential British imperialist but the people who had actually executed his commands were Indian sepoys, which makes this crime even more shameful and unthinkable. It is really a wonder why people have never insinuated these equally culpable men).
I agree with you. They were equally culpable if not more. The nation must have condemned them for their acts.
But if you see from another angle, they were only doing their duty to earn a livelihood to support their families. I can’t say they were patriots but they were normal human beings.
However, this does not mean I am supporting their acts. I too condemn !