Jallianwala Bagh: The massacre that shook India

By Shreesha Ghosh

April 13 , 2022

Where it all happened

Jallianwala Bagh was originally an open area close to the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab. It was enclosed on three sides by buildings and had just one exit.

Image source: Wikipedia

Peaceful gathering

It was in the morning of Baisakhi – the harvest festival of Punjab – on April 13, 1919, when pilgrims and other civilians had assembled to protest peacefully against the arrest of freedom fighters, Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr Satya Pal.

Image source: Wikipedia

Leading up to  the doom

Two days prior to the massacre, an English missionary, Marcella Sherwood, was attacked by an angry mob in retaliation for the arrests of Dr Pal and Dr Kitchlew.

Image source: Alamy

The shootout

Leading a contingent of 50 soldiers of the Gurkha British Indian Army, General Dyer opened fire on the peaceful protesters, without any warning or provocation.

Image source: Alamy

Death toll

The firing stopped only when the soldiers ran out of ammunition. Official reports stated that 379 were killed and about 1,200 wounded, but some estimates claim the casualties to be higher.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Onus on whom?

The British government's Hunter Commission, in its report, charged Dyer for the massacre and eventually dismissed him following an inquiry. But he was still celebrated by a section of British society.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Beginning of the end

This unprovoked savagery prompted the non-cooperation movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920. According to some historians and experts, the massacre initiated the fall of British rule in India.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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