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Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: 7 lesser-known facts about infamous 1919 tragedy

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre remains a sombre reminder of the brutality of colonial rule and the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and justice. By uncovering the lesser-known facts, we honour the memory of the victims and reaffirm our commitment to never forget the lessons of history.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: April 13, 2024 11:19 IST
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
Image Source : WIKIPEDIA 7 lesser-known facts about Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre remains a potent symbol of British brutality in colonial India. On April 13, 1919, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to fire upon a peaceful gathering in Amritsar, Punjab. Beyond the well-known narrative of a peaceful gathering turned bloody, lie lesser-known truths that deepen our understanding of this tragic event. In this article, we delve into seven lesser-known facts surrounding the infamous massacre, shedding light on the deliberate atrocities committed, the suppression of truth, and the enduring legacy of courage and resistance. 

A bottleneck became a death trap: Jallianwala Bagh was an enclosed space with a single narrow entry point. This architectural detail proved horrific as the crowd, estimated at 10,000, had no easy escape route when firing commenced.

Beyond gunfire deaths: While the machine gun fire inflicted a horrific toll, many victims also perished attempting to flee. Jallianwala Bagh has a well within its grounds, and in the chaos, some people jumped in, tragically losing their lives.

A bullet's legacy: The number of rounds fired that day speaks volumes about the intent behind the massacre.  Approximately 1,650 bullets were emptied into the unarmed crowd in a relentless fifteen minutes.

A divided British response:  The massacre exposed a rift within the British government.  General Dyer was initially hailed as a hero by some in Britain, receiving a sword inscribed "Savior of the Punjab." However, others, including Winston Churchill, the then-Secretary of State for War, strongly condemned the atrocity.

A well-preserved memorial: Today, Jallianwala Bagh stands as a memorial park. The bullet holes in the walls serve as a stark reminder of the massacre. A well inside the complex said to be the one where people jumped in to escape, is also preserved.

The last witness falls silent:  In 2009, Shingara Singh, believed to be the sole surviving witness to the massacre, passed away at the age of 113. His passing marked a significant loss of a living link to this horrific event.

Sardar Udham’s vengeance: Sardar Udham Singh, who was present at Jallianwala Bagh as a teenager and was wounded in the shooting, assassinated Michael O'Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time of the massacre, in London in 1940. Udham Singh's act, while condemned as murder by the British, was hailed by many in India as a powerful symbol of resistance.

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