Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as the Massacre of Amritsar, occurred on April 13, 1919, when British troops opened fire on a sizable crowd of unarmed Indians in an open area known as the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab region (now in Punjab state), killing several hundred and injuring many more. Jallianwala is also spelt Jallianwalla. It was a pivotal moment in modern Indian history because it permanently damaged Indo-British ties and paved the way for Mahatma Gandhi to fully dedicate himself to the cause of Indian nationalism and independence from Britain.
The massacre had been planned, and Dyer proudly boasted that he had done it to have a “moral effect” on the populace and that he had resolved to shoot down all men if they continued to gather. He wasn’t sorry at all. When he arrived in England, numerous citizens of that country raised money in his honour. Others were horrified by this horrible deed and requested an investigation. It was referred regarded as one of the deadliest massacres in recent history by a British newspaper.
Michael O’Dwyer, the Lt. Governor of Punjab at the time of the Jalliawala Bagh Massacre, was assassinated on March 13, 1940, by Indian revolutionary Udham Singh. Indians were incensed at the massacre, and the government responded with additional brutality. People were forced to crawl on the streets of Punjab. They were flogged after being placed in an open cage. Newspapers were outlawed, and the editors of those papers were imprisoned or deported. Similar to the one that ensued after the 1857 uprising was put down, a reign of terror was enacted.
Read More: Revolt of 1857
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Causes
The colony was placed under the direct rule of the British Crown in 1859. The colonial government used the First World War as an opportunity to introduce the Defence of India Act in 1915 because it had long harboured fears of dissent and conspiracies. The government was given tremendous powers throughout the conflict, including the ability to detain people without cause, imprison them without charge, and impose travel, writing, and speech restrictions. It introduced the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act (often referred to as the Rowlatt Act) in March 1919, extending its wartime emergency powers into peacetime.
Gandhi had returned to India from South Africa after living there for 21 years not long after the war started. In the First World War, Gandhi sided with Britain out of allegiance to the British Empire. For the first several years after his return to India, Gandhi led nonviolent uprisings against regional injustices. Gandhi promptly voiced his opposition to the upcoming Rowlatt legislation and called for a general strike on April 6th, 1919, as soon as the news of it became known to the public. He urged people to participate in satyagraha, or nonviolent protest, by holding meetings and fasting for a day in order to call for the legislation’s repeal.
Punjab was already observing the heat of many events happening. Because Punjab was a crucial economic and strategic asset for the British, the turmoil worried them particularly. Three-fifths of the British Indian Army, which was heavily deployed in World War I, was made up of soldiers from Punjab by that point. General Dyer, who had been sent to Amritsar, seized command on April 11 in order to bring the area back to normalcy. He issued a decree outlawing public assemblies and threatening to violently disperse them.
Thousands of people assembled in Jallianwala Bagh on April 13 in defiance of General Dyer’s instructions. Unarmed citizens were shot at by General Dyer. Ten minutes of the shooting were put in. The government estimated 379 deaths, while some estimates were much higher.
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How Many Died in Jallianwala Bagh Massacre?
The number of fatalities during the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre was not officially recorded. However, the official British investigation indicated that 379 people died, and Congress stated that more than 1200 people were killed in the massacre.
Read about: Freedom Fighters of India
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Effects
All illusions about the British government’s benevolent control in the nation were dispelled when the British public praised and rewarded General Dyer, the massacre’s perpetrator. The nation as a whole was shocked by the massacre’s severity. On April 18, Gandhiji halted his movement after being overcome by the atmosphere of violence. After receiving the honorific Kaiser-i-Hind from the British for his contributions to the Boer War, Mahatma Gandhi renounced it. The poet and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore refused to accept his knighthood. The shooting was deemed “monstrous” by Winston Churchill, who also condemned it.
Jallianwala Bagh caused British justice to lose its credibility. On October 14, 1919, the Indian government established the Hunter commission committee to investigate the incidents in Punjab. The commission’s mandate was to look into the disturbances in Punjab, determine their root cause, and develop solutions to deal with their impacts. General Dyer’s behaviour was sharply condemned, but no action was taken against him, according to the commission’s findings. The Jallianwala Bagh slaughter served as a catalyst for the rebellion against the unique colonial rules.
Read More: Governor-General of India
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Significance
Jallianwala Bagh, which is now a significant landmark in India, played a significant role in the history of that nation’s war for independence. One of the factors that prompted Mahatma Gandhi to launch the Non Cooperation Movement, his first extensive and ongoing peaceful protest (satyagraha) campaign, was the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy (1920-22).
Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Prize-winning poet from Bengal, resigned from the knighthood he had been awarded in 1915. The incident was investigated by the Hunter Commission, which was commissioned by the Indian government at the time. In 1920, Dyer was censured for his conduct and ordered to leave the military.
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Jallianwala Bagh Massacre UPSC
|Events and Facts||Description|
|When did Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
|13th April 1919|
|Who ordered the Jallianwala Bagh
|Anglo-Indian Brigadier R.E.H. Dyer.|
|What was “a symbolic act of protest”?||By May 22, 1919, Rabindranath Tagore learned of the massacre. As a “symbolic act of protest,” he chose to forfeit his British knighthood after trying to organize a protest conference in Calcutta.|
|Hunter Commission||The Disorders Inquiry Committee was established on October 14, 1919, to investigate the killings. The Hunter Commission was the name given to it subsequently.|