Jallianwala Bagh

There was no place to go except to go ahead and take the bullet

Only walls around you, you cannot go anywhere, except to go ahead and take the bullet

You cannot escape, for they are everywhere, so just go ahead and take the bullet

That was the situation of people, who were stuck in Jallianwala Bagh while General Dyer commanded to shoot them

Background to Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

During the first world war, the British needed soldiers to fight for them and many were recruited from India

To support their economy, British was collecting heavy taxes from Indians

Also, during that period they introduced an act called, Defense of India Act, in 1915

This was to limit nationalist movements that were taking place in India, by arresting, restricting press etc

After the war came to an end, Indians thought that their troubles would end

But British had no such plans, they replaced Defense of India Act with the Rowlatt Act, also known as Black Bill

According to that Act, the government could arrest anyone, restrict freedom of press etc.

Gandhi decided to start a satyagraha which spread all over the nation to protest against these unjust laws

He told that it would start on 6 April 1919, with a hartal, meaning a mass protest

Protests were conducted across the nation and to suppress these movements, local leaders were arrested

Two such important leaders were Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, who was arrested on 10 April 1919

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

The arrest of Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew made the protest more violent

Due to this martial law was imposed, where military ruled and not the government

This meant that people were not allowed to meet or protest and General Dyer was the commander then.

On 13 April 1919, people gathered in a compound named Jallianwala Bagh, to protest against the Rowlatt act and arrest of nationalist leaders

Apart from protesters, there were also devotees who went there to celebrate the sikh festival, Baisakhi

General Dyer arrived there with his troops and blocked the gates of Jallianwala Bagh.

Without any warning, he open fired on the crowd in Jallianwala Bagh

The firing came to an end when they run out of bullets. It is said that 1650 bullets were fired

In this fire, more than 379 people were killed according to official records

But it is estimated that more than 1000 people were killed and 1500 people were wounded

It was not only the bullets that killed people but also stampede. Some also jumped into a nearby well to avoid bullets

This massacre was the most inhuman act done on part of the Government of British India.

To inquire about the massacre, the government set up a commission, known as Hunter Commission

They didn’t take any disciplinary action against General Dyer and only made him resign from his job

News of the massacre spread and there were strikes and protests in North India

To show their dissent, Rabindranath Tagore gave up his knighthood and Gandhi returned his title Kaiser-e-Hind

But Dyer received mixed responses back at his home, in England

While few criticised his actions, others appreciated his work and also a fund was raised for him

He was given a sword, by House of Lords, which was carved with “Saviour of Punjab”

Because of the massacre by Dyer, relations between British and India were ruined forever

Not only the massacre, but the reaction to it hurt Indians more, as they didn’t receive justice to this horrible act till date

The End.