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Jallianwala Bagh - Massacre to ' Teach the bloody browns a lesson'  

The British imperialists unhesitatingly showed their cruel and ugly face when they imposed martial law on Punjab in April, 1919. The way summary trials took place with people being punished with transportation of life and confiscation of property for simply raising slogans against the British King and the ruler showed the brutal, but also the frightened face. 

(source: How 1919 Punjab rebellion was suppressed - By Gobind Thukral).

In April, 1919, British imperialism descended to the depths of criminal barbarism in the Punjab. As a peaceful festival was about to commence in Amritsar, it was fired upon with machine guns and rifles. Six hundred unarmed men, women, and children were killed, and the slaughter finally reached a total of 1800 persons. A reign of terror in the district followed in which the most sordid and sadistic acts were committed against the Indian people by British officers, administrators and soldiers.

"One day, during the Martial Law period, Mr. Bosworth Smith gathered together all the males over eight years at the Dacha Dalla Bungalow..Whilst the men were at the Bungalow, he rode to our village, taking back with him all the women who met him on the way carrying food for their men in the Bungalow. Reaching the village, he went around the lanes and ordered all women to come out of the houses, himself forcing them with sticks. He beat them with sticks and spat at them and used the foulest and most unmentionable language. He hit me twice and spat in my face. He forcibly uncovered the faces of all women, brushing aside their veils with his stick. He repeatedly called us flies, bitches, swines, and said, "Why did you not prevent your men folks from going out to do mischief?  Now, your skirts will be looked into by the Police Constables."

(source: India and British Imperialism - By Gorham D. Sanderson p. 269-270).

On 13 April, 1919 a large unarmed crowd gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to peacefully protest against the arrest of their popular leaders, Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlu and Dr. Satya Pal, both members of the Congress party. Jallianwala Bagh was a large open space enclosed on three sides by buildings with only one exit. Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, the military commander of Amritsar was determined to make an example of this meeting and wanted to terrorise the people into submission. He surrounded the Bagh with his troops, closed off the exit and then ordered his soldiers to shoot into the crowd with their machine-guns and rifles.

The massacre was brutal and heartless the trapped crowd had nowhere to run or hide. Men, women and children ran helter-skelter, some jumping into the well to escape the volley of bullets. When their ammunition was exhausted, Dyer ordered his men to leave the area, his ghastly deed done. The wholesale slaughter at Jallianwala Bagh horrified the whole country. The brutality of the so called civilized foreign rulers and the need to fight for freedom were reiterated by this incident. Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in protest, preferring to stand by the side of his countrymen. Today, the bullet scarred walls of Jallianwala Bagh enclose a memorial symbolizing the eternal flame which is dedicated to those martyred here. Every year on April 13, Baisakhi day, homage is paid to those innocent patriots who died here. 


The immediate background to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre was the disappointment of Indians with the colonial government’s failure to introduce democratic reforms after World War I as had been expected. India’s contribution to the war effort had been enormous, providing more soldiers than the combined contribution of all other colonies. More than a million Indians served and fought in various theatres of war. Of these, 450,000 were from the Punjab. In spite of chronic poverty, India contributed £100,000,000 to Britain for the war effort. Additionally the princes and peoples of India contributed £2,100,000 to various charities and war funds. India ended up incurring a debt of £127,800,000 because of the war. The prices of essential commodities rose sharply and the soldiers returning from the war were badly treated by the British officials.

When Brigadier General Dyer arrived in Amritsar from Jalandhar at 9 pm the next day, his fellow British residents had convinced themselves that 1857 was about to be repeated. Between 19-24 April, General Reginald Dyer enforced the notorious “crawling order”, forcing all those using the street where Marcella Sherwood was assaulted to pass on all fours, their noses to the ground. In Lahore, college students were ordered to walk up to 20 km in the sun four times a day for roll call before military administrators. At a school in Kasur, the six largest school students were whipped simply for their size. In all 1,229 people, largely urban artisans and youth were convicted of involvement in the uprising. Eighteen people were sentenced to death, 23 were transported for life and 58 were flogged on the orders of the Martial Law Commission.

(source: Let’s not forget Jallianwala Bagh - By Ishtiaq Ahmed - April 15 ' 2003).

It is worth noting that General Dyer, who ordered the firing at Jallianwallah Bagh at an unarmed and peaceful crowd, was felicitated by the British parliament; he was given an honourable discharge, a purse of 80,000 pounds and a bejewelled sword inscribed 'Saviour of the Punjab'. 1,650 bullets, 1600 casualties -- a day that will truly live in infamy--and they gave him an award!

(source: Refer to Jesus Christ: Artifice for Aggression - By Sita Ram Goel

A Whiff of Grapeshot: 

The last blow was the massacre of Amritsar. Since all news of this event remained hidden from the world, and even from Parliament, for several months after its occurrence, and since this slaughter was the proximate cause of the Revolution of 1921.  

10,000 Hindus from outlying districts collected in the enclosure known as Jalianwalla Bagh, and proceeded to celebrate a religious festival. The Bagh was an extinct garden, and surrounded with high walls on every side, and entered by a few narrow passages. Informed of this meeting, General Dyer proceeded to the spot with a detachment of troops equipped with Lewis machine-guns and armored cars. Entering the Bagh, he saw the crowd, and  without giving the slightest warning, or affording the assemblage any opportunity to indicate its pacific intentions, he ordered his troops to fire upon the imprisoned mass; and though the crowd made no resistance, but shouted its horror and despair and pressed in panic against the gates, the General ordered the firing to continue until all ammunition the soldiers had brought with them was exhausted. He personally directed the firing towards the exits where the crowd was most dense; “the targets,” he declared, were “good.” The massacre lasted for ten minutes. When it was over, 1500 Hindus were left on the ground 400 of them dead. Dyer forbade his soldiers to give any aid to the injured, and by ordering all Hindus off the streets, prevented relatives or friends from bringing even a cup of water to the wounded who were piled up in the field.  

A reign of terror followed. Gen Dyer issued an order….that Hindus using the street should crawl on their bellies; if they tried to rise to all fours, they were struck by the butts of soldiers guns. He arrested 500 professors and students and compelled all students to present themselves daily for roll-calls, though this required that many of them should walk sixteen miles a day. He had hundreds of citizens, and some school-boys, quite innocent of any crime, flogged in the public square. He built an open cage, unprotected from the sun, for the confinement of arrested persons; other prisoners he bound together with ropes, and kept in open trucks for fifteen hours. He had lime poured upon the naked bodies of Sadhus (saints), and them exposed them to the sun’s ray that the lime might harden and crack their skin. He cut off the electric and water supplies from Indian houses. Finally he sent airplanes to drop bombs upon men and women working in the fields. 

The news of this barbaric orgy of military sadism was kept from the world for half a year. A belated commission of inquiry was appointed by the Government. A committee appointed by the Indian National Congress made a more through investigation and reported 1,200 killed, and 3,600 wounded. Gen. Dyer was censured by the House of Commons, exonerated by the House of Lords, and was retired on a pension. Thinking this was insufficient the militarists of the Empire raised a fund of $150,000 for him and presented him with a jeweled sword of honor.  

The Case for India - By Will Durant Simon and Schuster, New York. 1930 p. ).

Mahatma Gandhi, who was now the foremost figure in Congress, declared that:

"cooperation in any shape or form with this satanic government is sinful."

(source: The Illustrated Library of The World and Its People: India I - Greystone Press/New York p. 157).




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