Ninety three years back in history same day as on April 13th 1919 it was a bright sunny morning of ‘Baisakhi’ a holy day in Sikh religion. Over twenty thousand unarmed men, women and children from various parts of Punjab peacefully gathered at “Jallianwala Bagh”, amidst tense political situation. They were to attend a public speech about the highly controversial Rowlatt Act, or as popularly known then and now, as “The Black Act”, which essentially legalised jailing of Indians on any whimsical or baseless suspicion.
Brigadier-General Dyer was charged with responsibility to maintain law and order in Indian Punjab as per the directions of British Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O’Dwyer. Later that afternoon at 5:13PM over one hundred armed soldiers of British Army along with two armoured vehicles mounted with machine guns approached ‘Jallianwala Bagh’’. Without even a single warning to disperse the crowd, General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire.
The soldiers were ordered to fire the area especially where the crowd was thickest. An important point to remember is that “Jallianwala Bagh” is fully walled area with only one gate for entrance which was fully barred by the British Army. People tried to climb the walls but failed. Many people jumped into the well inside the compound to escape bullets. Reliable historian quotes that one hundred and twenty bodies were plucked out of the well alone. The attack lasted for fifteen minutes, until ammunition ran short.
Official British Raj sources placed the fatalities at 379 with 1100 wounded. However Civil Surgeon Dr. Smith indicated that there were 1,526 casualties. This bloody action was endorsed by the British Rulers, later in a telegram sent to Dyer, British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O’Dwyer wrote; “Your action is correct, Lieutenant Governor approves it”. Amongst the lucky people who survived the carnage was a 19 yeas old ‘Udham Singh’. Later on Udham Singh changed his name to “Ram Mohammad Singh Azad”, symbolizing the unification of the three major religions of India: Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism.
Ram Mohammad Singh Azad was born in 1899 his mother died when he was just two years old and father followed in 1907. After the death of his father he was brought up in an orphanage in Amritsar. On the day of massacre at ‘Jallianwala Bagh’ boys from orphanage including Udham Singh and his friends was serving water to the crowed.After the incident Ram Mohammad Singh Azad plunged into active politics and became revolutionary freedom fighter. He left the orphanage moved from one country to another to organise overseas Indians for the freedom struggle.
Ram Mohamamd Singh Azad returned to India in 1927 and remained active in freedom fight along with Bhagat Singh. However his real objective was to punish Michael O’Dwyer for Amritsar Massacre. Singh ultimately reached London in 1934 which was his final destination. He took up residence at 9 Adler Street Whitechapel for six years. During this time he got numerous opportunities to strike Michael O’Dwyer, however Singh wanted to kill him at the time when he could attract maximum global attention to his cause.
Finally after two decades of Amritsar Massacre, on 13th March 1940 Michael O’Dwyer was schedule to address the Royal Central Asian Society at Caxton Hall London. Singh concealed a revolver in his book, which pages were cut specially to conceal the revolver and reached Caxton Hall. At the end of the meeting when Michael O’Dwyer moved towards the platform to address, Singh stood up and open fire on him, Michael O’Dwyer was hit twice and he died immediately. Singh was arrested at the spot however he never intended to escape from there. Indian Congress leaders, including Jawahar Lal Nehru and Gandhi condemned the action of Udham Singh as senseless. However Indian youth strongly oppose this statement of Mahatma Gandhi.
On July 31st 1940, Ram Mohammad Singh Azad was handed at Pentonville Prison. He was buried in prison grounds in London. On the request of Indian Government in 1974, remains of Ram Mohammad Singh Azad were handed back to India and they are now buried in the same “Jaalinwala Bagh” Amritsar.In the English Law capital punishment has been abolished since 1965. British Government believes on the grounds of human rights that no any crime is big enough to hang a person to death. Even a murder is not given death sentence in England since then. I request all those torch bearers of human rights in England to give a quick recall to the Jallianwala Bagh Incident and how do they justify the brutal act of British Army?
On October 1997 Queen Elizabeth II visited Jallianwala Bagh and paid her respect with 30 seconds moment of silence, however she refused to apology for the incident.