[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.
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