13 Apr : The massacre that haunts even today

जलियांवाला बाग ये देखो यहीं चली थी गोलियां
ये मत पूछो किसने खेली यहां खून की होलियां
एक तरफ़ बन्दूकें दन दन एक तरफ़ थी गोलियां
मरने वाले बोल रहे थे इन्क़लाब की बोलियां
यहां लगा दी बहनों ने भी बाज़ी अपनी जान की
इस मिट्टी से तिलक करो ये धरती है बलिदान की

Grown up listening to this patriotic song, when came to know about the incident behind this song, couldn’t understand – Why so ?

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Today in 1919 at 5.30 pm something happened that kept the nation stunned then and I am sure, till now. It was a massacre of thousands of people, who were protesting against the Rowlatt act in Jallianwala bagh in Amritsar. Suddenly they were fired upon by troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer. All 5 entrances were under firing for ten minutes. 1,650 rounds of gunfire resulted in thousands of deaths.

The crowd haphazardly moved around saving their lives that resulted in a stampede. People even tried to escape the shooting by jumping into the solitary well on the compound. After 10 minutes everything was silent. A plaque in the monument at the site, set up after independence, says that 120 bodies were pulled out of the well. The wounded could not be moved from where they had fallen, as a curfew had been declared. Many more died during the night.

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Seems to be a story but it’s the truth of Jallianwala bagh massacre. Baisakhi is celebrated every year with a sting of this tragedy. Jallianwala Bagh is now a national place of pilgrimage.

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Udham Singh saw the happening with his own eyes and avenged the killings of his countrymen by killing Michael O’Dwyer in Caxton Hall of London. On the 31st July, 1940, Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville jail, London.

The protest in Jallianwala Bagh was against Rowlatt Act passed in March 1919 by the Central Legislative Council. As per this Act, any person could be arrested on the basis of suspicion. No appeal or petition could be filed against such arrests. This Act was called the Black Act and it was widely opposed. An all-India hartal was organized on 6 April 1919. Meetings were held all over the country.

#Hindi
आज 1919 में जलियांवाला बाघ नरसंहार हुआ था. ब्रिटिश सेना के अफसर जनरल डायर ने अमृतसर में निहत्थे प्रदर्शनकारियों पर फायरिंग के आदेश दे दिए थे. जिसके बाद ब्रिटिश सैनिकों ने दस मिनट तक 1,650 rounds गोलियां चलाईं. जिसकी वजह से आधिकारिक रूप से 370 लोग मारे गए थे. हालांकि गैर आधिकारिक आंकड़े कहते हैं कि इस घटना में 1 हज़ार से ज़्यादा लोगों की जान गई थी. गोलियों के अलावा भगदड़ की वजह से भी लोगों की मौत हुई थी. कुछ लोग तो अंग्रेज़ों की गोलियों से बचने के लिए बाग में बने कुएं में कूद गए थे. हादसे के बाद कुएं से 120 लाशें निकाली गईं.
इस हादसे का आंखों देखा हाल हर हिन्दुस्तानी के ज़हन में है. लेकिन आज भी इस हादसे के बारे में सुनकर, पढ़कर या सोचकर रूह कांप जाती है.
इस हादसे का इकलौता चश्मदीद था एक बच्चा उधम सिंह. उसने इस नरसंहार में मारे गए लोगों का बदला जनरल डायर को मारकर लिया. उधम सिंह को 31 जुलाई 1940 को फांसी लगाई गई थी.