Rulers, Invaders and crooks can not change colour.
David Cameron the visiting British Prime Minister visited the site of Jalliawala Garden yesterday and voiced his regret for the massacre by describing the episode as “deeply shameful“.
Newspaper are running a debate if the Cameron should have offered an apology. Film actors are showing off their philosophical knowledge by saying that the past is gone and that generation is dead. Let’s bury the past. I would have agreed without hesitation but is past really dead? Have we actually buried it?
Brief History of Jalliawala massacre
In 1919 India was the colony of British Government. There were protests by people demanding self-rule. In the series of protest people were gathering at various places for some time. However 13th April 1919 was a Baisakhi Day. It is a Punjabi festival of new crop. People had gathered at Jallianwala Garden in Amritsar for Baisakhi celebrations. The District Magistrate had invoked a law similar to present day sections 129 to 132 of Cr. P. C. which empowers a sub-inspector or any Executive Magistrate could use “Civil force” for dispersal of the gathering/ assembly of more than 5 person if it was apprehended that assembly was likely to disturb peace. Section 130 provide for use of armed forces by Executive Magistrate. Section 131 provide that armed forces may act without order of Executive Magistrate and arrest people to disperse the assembly if no Magistrate could be communicated.
Now back to the assembly at Jalliawalan Garden. One Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer was commanding armed forces, ordered the assembly to disperse immediately but the assembly members simply turned a blind eye and deaf ear to him. Infuriated or perhaps humiliated He ordered firing upon the unarmed assembly which included women and children. Figure varies but 379 deaths were accepted by British Government while unofficial claim was of over 1000. Dyer was nicknamed “Butcher of Amritsar.” Later he explained that his action was necessary “teach a moral lesson to the Punjab”. Though he was removed from India but was treated as a Hero in England. No disciplinary action was ever taken against him.
The single incident made choice of using of violence in freedom struggle, very simple. It was a ‘do’ or ‘die as dog’ choice. This is an eyewitness account of the incident posted in Wikipedia:
The worst part of the whole thing was that the firing was directed towards the exit gates through which the people were running out. There were 3 or 4 small outlets in all and bullets were actually rained over the people at all these gates… and many got trampled under the feet of the rushing crowds and thus lost their lives… even those who lay flat on the ground were fired upon.
A very large number of families of Punjabi origin do not celebrate Baisakhi. My father never did. Just because of this incident. I visit a nearby beautiful Mughal Garden and at the entry point, often a thought encounters. If only I was born before first world war I could see a sign board outside the Garden which would read “Dogs and Indians are not allowed.” Even though I was born decades after Independence.
I want to address a letter to Cameron but these people in power want to stay in power only so that they may not have to answer. Yet these questions crop up in the mind:
Questions I want to ask
Cameron don’t apologise but satisfy us that a lesson is learnt by your generation. Please show us that you are no more racist. That in this century you would not repeat a slave trade, war on America, racism, Bobby Sand or colonisation even if you are strong enough to do it.
As Empirical evil, what your country was, it took a far worse evil and suffering of millions of people of Germany, to dislodge you from your empirical throne.
Please show us that you have taken steps to undo the seeds of cruelty/violence which were sown by use of power in colonisation of entire world. Please tell me that people of Britain do not remember the period before second world war as Golden Period of British Empire. That they find it shameful to do so!
Please tell me that your school books have honest history books which also say that the period of Empirical Colonisation was shameful?
please tell us that during training army-recruits are trained to disobey order to shoot unarmed civilians. That is not done even in India. We call it our wound but refused to learn from it why should you apologise.Just tell us honestly.
Apologies are meaningless. Actions speak. Please tell us about actions taken by your generation. Please also ask our Government about it. The action, None. Really? Well in that case I apologise for wasting my time on a planet where all people in power suffer from learning difficulties.
Thank God we have not found any aliens in space. I am pretty sure we will do the same with them what we did to ourselves in the history. Because we are living in same mindset. We are not the present. We are the history which has tendency to repeat itself over and over, again and again. Only the baton has changed from one player to another.