Saturday, 14 March 2015

Gen.Dyer - what made him commit mass murder at Jallianwalla Bagh

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Gen. Dyer.Butcher of Jallianwalla Bagh:(1919).www.thehindu.com
Jallianwalla bagh massacre (1919) bharatabharati.wordpress.com
  Jallianwalla Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, India: On the evening of April 13,1919 (Baisakhi day, an important Sikh festival), at a meeting, scores of innocent and unarmed people were caught unawares, killed and injured in the indiscriminate firing ordered by Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer and this gruesome mass slaughter of Indians on their native soil by the British triggered  a widespread protest throughout the length and breadth of India. Further, it drew the attention of world leaders, and the British rulers in England faced widespread criticism from all continents. 

Not withstanding the Government of India (under the Crown)'s prompt action which  forced Dyer to resign his commission, and Montague's staunch opposition to this recourse to violence at the Bagh,  Gen. Dyer’s warm reception on his return to England, where he was received like a conquering Roman hero and awarded a purse of £26,000.00 (approximately £1,000,000 in terms of 2013 PPP) undermined the effects of the censure.

Bullet marks,Jallianwalla bagh massacre (1919).Punjab,India
The award emerged from a fund set up on his behalf by the Morning Post, a conservative, pro-Imperialistic newspaper, which later merged with the Daily Telegraph. A Thirteen Women Committee was constituted to present "the Saviour of the Punjab with the sword of honor and a purse."

This obnoxious act of rewarding the mass murderer of innocent Indians, including women and children further infuriated prominent Indian freedom fighters  and they felt this inhumane British public reaction to a mass murderer was something like rubbing salt on the bleeding wounds. This incidence gave an impetus to the freedom struggle and forged unity among the Indians irrespective of religion and caste. Thanks to Dyer's barbarism. In the aftermath, people in thousands across India joined the freedom struggle. At this juncture, Gandhiji, who, hitherto, had  a controlled approach to freedom, was  now  furious, as the British government's reaction to this massacre was just a casual one. Now, he was more serious than ever before about the freedom and how quickly he could get it with the people behind him. 


Ms. Marcella Sherwood, English missionary and Gen Dyer:
What prompted a responsible British military Brig. General to resort to premeditated firing on the innocent, unarmed crowd at the Bagh? Perhaps, it is a vexed question. There is a logical answer to it in the mind of demonic Dyer.  Prior to the glaring  and galling mass murder by the fanatical Brig. Gen. Dyer, on 10 April 1919, there was a protest  rally at the residence of the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar in Punjab. Protesters  demanded  the release of two popular leaders of the Indian Independence Movement who were sent to the jail.

A military picket shot at the  demonstrating crowd, killing several protesters and  this triggered a series of violent events - several banks and other government buildings, including the Town Hall and the railway station were attacked and set on fire by the rampaging crowd. The mad crowd became unruly and  hell-bent and  the violence continued unabated. On April 11 Miss Marcella Sherwood, an English missionary, who had been working in that town for sometime, was on a charity work assignment.  Not knowing about the police firing and the rioting crowd,  she was, unfortunately, caught by a  frenzied mob. The violent crowd, in the melee, pulled her to the ground by her hair, thrashed and  kicked her and at last left her for dead. The local commander Brig. General Dyer got angry  over what had happened to an innocent Christian preacher, that too  a  respectable  British  lady. Mentally very much affected, Dyer later explained to a British inspector: "Some Indians crawl face downwards in front of their gods. I wanted them to know that a British woman is as sacred as a Hindu god and therefore they have to crawl in front of her, too."

This unfortunate incident involving a British woman changed the mental-make-up and attitude of Dyer and woke up the  dormant demonic attitude towards Indians. Being a military man, given to emotion, he  was breathing fire and brimstone. He was angry when he ordered  indiscriminate, public whipping of locals who came within lathi length of British policemen. Not satisfied with punishing of Indian crowd publicly, he became a vigilante and took the justice in his hand, ultimately leading him to commit mass murder on the 13th April, 1919. The victims included innocent children and women. This blood clotting massacre went down in the British Indian, nay, world history as the worst atrocity ever committed by the British military on the Indian soil, a blot on the administration by the Crown.

When Dyer was facing an inquiry commission about his mass murder of unarmed innocent people including children at Jallianwalla Bagh, Ms. Marcella Sherwood, the Christian preacher later came to his rescue and openly defended General Dyer, describing him "as the ''Saviour' of the Punjab." Though Dyer was reprimanded and severely criticised by the inquiry commission, finally he was let out Scot-free. No one can set aside this crime against humanity as an aberration, perpetrated by  an evil - minded man. The lady Christian missionary's act of giving witness in favor of Gen. Dyer was also puzzling. As a preacher and a strong believer in the ''Gospel of Christ,'' she could have done justice by  giving witness against the butcher, thus upholding the Christian spirit of fairness, compassion and justice, considering the scores of people including children killed in the mad firing on the fateful day. It is true she was wounded severally by the rioting crowd. Miss Marcella Sherwood was unfit to be a Christian preacher and her sin was much worse than mass murderer Brig. Gen. Dyer, a devil in British military uniform. This  mad man, in the name of punishing  some people who were responsible for the worst  treatment meted out to a British lady, on that unfortunate day, killed more than  1000 people and injured hundreds of people. The official figure of casualty given by the British was not true. The senior military officer  had no justification to kill people on a mass scale just for an English lady who was seriously injured by the rampaging mob. Much more disgusting and nauseating was the fact this mass murderer was given a huge purse and a title for his dastardly act in Punjab back home by the disgraceful British public. Anyway, it helped Indians to hasten the fight for freedom more vigorously than before. At no time did Gandhiji get a better chance to go ahead with his mission.

Some sad Facts:

 01. The 6.5-acre (26,000 m2) garden site of the massacre is located in the vicinity of Golden Temple complex, the holiest shrine of Sikhism in Amritsar, Punjab in India.

02.  Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden in the per-Independence era, used to be a venue  for public rallies,etc  organized on the grounds there. Inside the garden, a memorial was built in 1951 in memory  of the innocent people who died in the 1919 massacre. Later on, a flame in honor of the martyrs was added. Since then, it has become a symbol of India's struggle for freedom from the British. Prominent leaders around the world, have visited the place and offered their regrets and respect including Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. It remains to date a heartfelt and extremely sad memory in the hearts of Indians throughout the world.
 

03.  A 10-minute long cold-blooded massacre of 1,000 people (1,500 were injured), including women and children, at the hands of 50 riflemen and 1,650 rounds of ammunition directed at an unarmed crowd on April 13, at the Bagh. 

Brig. Gen. Reginald Edward Harry Dyer (1864-1927), YOONIQ Images
04. The riflemen were under the command of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer (who reported to  Gov. Sir Michael O' Dyer and who in turn approved of all of Dyer's actions).

05. The official figure released by the British stood at 379. The unofficial estimate of the innocent deaths stands at 1000 approximately and more than 1000 injured seriously. Many still refuse to believe the British figure as the size of the crowd was between 10,000 to 15,000 people.

06. In a letter to the Leader of the Liberals and former Secretary of State for India, the Marquess of Crewe, he wrote, "My own opinion is that the offence amounted to murder, or alternatively manslaughter."
 

07. A young Sikh teenager by the name of  Udham Singh (aka Mohammad Singh Azad), who saw the happening with his own eyes, was very much mentally wounded by such a barbaric act and vowed to avenge the person responsible for the Amritsar massacre.

08. On 13 March 1940 in the Caxton Hall, London, where a meeting of the East India Association was on, Udham Singh sneaked in and fired  at Sir Michael O' Dwyer, who was the governor of  Punjab  and who gave permission to Gen. Dyer to commit the massacre.
 

09. On the 31st July, 1940, Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville jail, London.

Ref:
Nigel Collett, The Butcher of Amritsar: General

Reginald Dyer, London: Hambledon & London, 2005 ISBN 1-85285-457-X

Moreman, T R (2004). "‘Dyer, Reginald Edward Harry (1864–1927)’" (subscription required). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32947. Retrieved 7 January 2008.