Amritsar, April 13: 98 years ago from this day, today, India experienced a spine-chilling incident which is till date considered as the cruelest act of assassination in the name of punishment. Jallianwala Bagh massacre stands as the biggest shock in the history of Indians freedom. Jallianwala Bagh has been beautified into a garden today where people are allowed to take a look in the past.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally visited Amritsar to pay his tribute and salute to the martyrs. He said, “The valour and heroism will never be forgotten.”
Furthermore, relatives of the martyrs have called it as ‘black day’ by burning effigies of Brigadier Dyer. Also, Bhushan Behal, President of Jallianwala Shaheed Parivar Samiti said, “We do have resentment against our own governments and we will protest against them, but we also want to highlight the goriest of acts of the British general to the world by burning his effigy. Our demand is just; we are not asking anything but our rights -facilities given to relatives of other freedom fighters. We have been deprived of our right by the government.”
A Glimpse in the Past:
Jallianwala Bagh massacre involved the killing of hundreds of unarmed defenseless Indians. On April 13, 1919, senior British military officer, Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer deployed his riffle men, near the entrance and without warning or the order to the crowd to disperse, opened fire. The firing continued for 20 minutes and 1650 rounds had been fired.
According to British authorities, 379 were killed and 1200 wounded while Indian National Congress revealed that more than 1500 were killed. Many of them also died in the stampede or jumped into the well. Later, 120 bodies were recovered from the well. The crowd was estimated in between 15000 to 20000 and gathered to celebrate Baisakhi.
The Jallianwala Bagh was acquired by the nation on August 1, 1920, at the cost of 5.965 lakhs. The memorial was beffitingly named, ‘The Flame of Liberty’ built at the cost of 9.25 lakhs. It was inaugurated by Dr Rajinder Prasad, first President of India in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru who was the first Prime Minister of India on April 3, 1961.
Two leaders were born out from the Jallianwala Bagh massacre:
Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh gave up their lives in the name of ‘Freedom for Hindustan’. They both were revolutionary figures who were present at the place of Jallianwala Bagh incident, 1919.
In fact, Udham Singh was pouring water for everyone. Luckily, he escaped from there but was severely depressed after the incident. The massacre scarred him to the level of killing Governor of Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer. Michael had supported General Dyer in 1919 for the massacre plan. Thus, Udham Singh reached London in 1934 and shot twice at O’Dwyer. Singh did not try to flee or resist the arrest. He was later hanged in 1940 at Pentonville Prison and buried there.
"I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to wreak vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What a greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?"
- Udham Singh after Michael O'Dwyer's assassination.
While Bhagat Singh was 12 years old when he visited Jallianwala Bagh after few hours which made him aggressive against the Britishers. At the age of 14, he was among those in his village who welcomed protesters against the killing of a large number of unarmed people at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib. Singh also tried to get in get Udham back home.
The reunion of these two revolutionary figures never happened because the year when Bhagat Singh was hanged was also the year when Udham Singh was put behind the bars in USA.
Both of them died while serving the nation. They were fierce, straight minded and gave up their lives to seek revenge. The story Of Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh is eternal and many freedom fighters sought inspiration from them. Even today, every Indian remembers their sacrifice and walk on their path with inspiration left behind.