101 years of Jallanwala Bag massacre 1919 rememberances
Today is the 101 Shaheedi Divas ( Martyr Anniversary ) of massacre of innocent people in Jallanwala Bag Amritsar. I bow my head to all those innocent killed by a mindless British Brigadier Reginald Edward Harry Dyer.
I was reading the story of that fateful day the 13th April 1919 where in as per many reports those who were killed were not less than 1500 persons( Swami Shardanand). Dyer reported the deaths were between 200-300. Another report from J.B Thamshat estimated death after house to house survey not more than 291. But Pt. MM. Malviya congress leader( Council member 1911-1919 reported in the Imperial Legislative council meeting on 12 September 1919, deaths in this tragedy as 1000 which included 42 children youngest among them being 7 months old. The Imperial Legislative Council was a legislature for British India from 1861 to 1947. It succeeded the Council of the Governor-General of India, and was succeeded by the Constituent Assembly of India and after 1950, was succeeded by Parliament of India.
Generally the story of the tragedy reveals that 15000 to 20000 people had geather to protest against Rowlatt Act or Black Act, which was a legislative council act passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in Delhi on 21 March 1919. As per this ruthless Act, it indefinitely extending the emergency measures of preventive indefinite detention, incarceration without trial and judicial review enacted to control perceived threat from revolutionary nationalists organizations. This act was opposed by Indian National Congress under its leader M.K. Gandhi, later Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1914.
During my reading I came across a Jallanwala Bagh tragedy story by Sardar Gurnam Singh Mukatsar written in his Punjabi book “ Jhoot Na Bol Pande”2005 on page number 283. Here Sardar Gurnam Singh writes he is in search of the fact when some Dalit Army sepoys brought a Deg (big Cooking Utensil ) full of Karah Prasad ( Sweet dish made from wheet flour,Desi Ghee, Sugar and dry fruits) to offer in the Darbar Sahib Gurudwara Amritsar. This offer of cooked food from Dalits was not accepted say as it was from Sudras by Gurudwara Sewadars converttee from high Hindu Castes, one among them was Jathedar Bhai Aroor Singh .It hurt the sentiments of Dalit Community as a whole. So the Dalits decided to gather in large number in Jallanwala Bag to protest the act of refusal of their Deg by Sikh Gurudwara management including Bhai Aroor Singh Jathedar. The news of Dalit proposed gathering on 13 April ( Baisakh Day) 1919 in Jallanwala Bagh. It was heard also by Bhai Aroor Singh, who informed Brigadier Dyer in his own way saying the gathering may inflict big damage to men and property in the area since they were gathering to protest against Rowlatt Act. Brigadier Dyer reached there on the proposed day with heavy armed enforcement. Jathedar Aroor Singh might have even given the names of Dalit sepoys, whose Deg was refused. On the fateful day Dyer opened fire and killed many.
Dyer was subsequently given “Saroopa” ( An Honour) by by Aroor Singh in presence of Sangat .Why this holi saroopa was presented to the killer among whom were large number of Sikhs gives teeth to story. Further the writer quotes a speech in India Parliament on 26 August 1997 at 6.10 pm by Major Singh Obekey was relating such like story. This speech was heard on radio as it was relayed direct, one among listener was the writer also.
Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Udham Singh , an eye witness of this massacre saw it from a tree top, where he had climbed to listen the leaders. Udham Singh a Kamboj lineage in Chamars, an important shudra caste (now Scheduled Caste) was then about about 24years and was working in near by to Jallanwala Bag carpenter shop . After seeing this most inhuman act of British officer he vowed to kill Dyer where ever Dyer may hide him. Sinse Brigadier Dyer after rirement when went back to UK,he died of a natural from paralysis. During those days Michael O'Dwyer was Punjab Governor. Sardar udham Singh killed Michael O'Dwyer on 13 March 1940, almost 21 years after the Jallianwala Bagh killings in Caxton Hall London. For this act Sardar Udham Singh was sentenced for life and hanged in On 31 July 1940, Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison situated in Barnsbury area of the London Borough of Islington, north London. Ref . Savtantantra Sangram Ke Mahabalidani Udham Singh
( Ref;_By Dr.Rajpal Singh Raj Rajlaxmi Prakashan Brahmpuri Delhi-53
Many(185) of those killed in Jallanwala Bag tragedy were Dalits and some of their names and description is given by D.C. Deenkar in his Book “ Sawtantarita Sangram Main Ashuton Ka yogdan0” Goutam ook Center Delhi( ISBN :81-87733-72-1). This detail is produced as under.
1. Amar Shaheed Nath Dhobi of Amritsar birth 1864
2. Amar Shaheed Dhulia Dhobi of Amritsar ,born 1866.
3. Amar Saheed Mangal Mochi residen of Gobindgarh Amritsar
4. Amar Saheed Budha was Chuhra,sweeper by caste and resident of Putlighar Amritsar. By Er.H.R.Phonsa