On 13th April 1919, there was a gathering in Jallianwala Bagh. People from all age groups were present – elderly, youngsters, couples, families & kids. It was the day of Baisakhi & the holy Golden Temple was hardly 10 mins. walk away from the Jallianwala Bagh.
A certain General Dyer arrived at the place with his troops, blocked the entrance to the garden & fired 1650 rounds of bullets at innocent, unarmed Indians. That day, 1000+ kids, youngsters, adults and elderly were killed on his orders. There was no escape from the bullets that day. The entrance was blocked. There was a well inside the garden. In acts of extreme desperation, people tried to jump in the well to save themselves.
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre has been extremely downplayed in the history of the 20th century. It’s become a date that we have memorised. A date that comes to our mind when someone mentions the incident or takes the name of the place. Yeah, there have been a few mentions here & there. But it wasn’t just an incident, an accident, or an unfortunate tragedy.
Let’s call it what it was. It was an act of terrorism, committed in daylight.
And you don’t just forget and forgive acts of such nature. Speaking of forgiveness, how can we even begin to forgive, when they haven’t yet asked for a formal apology. Not to this date!
If you visit the place today, you won’t know what happened here until you spot the signs. The narrow & only entrance to the park brings back every piece of the written word that you have read about the massacre. You can’t help but wonder about the naked show of cruelty & brute force used that day. The walls that still have the bullet marks remind you of what it took for India to break open the chains of colonial rule & take its independence back. The memorial inside the park is a true testimony of India’s resilient & indomitable spirit. Take a moment here & remember the heroes who laid their lives for the cause of India’s independence, to take the first step to restore a great nation to its former glory.
In such places, you usually feel a sense of eerie. You sense a deep discomfort that exists because of the loss of human lives at such a scale. In Jallianwala Bagh, I don’t feel discomfort. I feel anger.
Nothing can right a wrong of this nature.
But there can be a start of some sort. How? With a simple ‘Sorry’. It’s high time that the British accept what they did in Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, and offer an apology.
Would an ‘apology’ solve everything?
No, nothing about this can be solved. But a ‘sorry’ is long due.
Outside the Jallinwala Bagh, you see a statue of a human hero. A man who knew courage & pride. The man who had committed to the cause of freedom. Thanks to OTT & the power of media, most of us know about him.