Saturday, 21 March 2015

Reward for the '''Butcher of Amritsar,'' Gen.Dyer at Jalianwalla Bagh (1919): India


Butcher of innocent Indians - Jalianwalla Bagh. 1919:www.amazon.com
The Government of India under the Crown forced Dyer to resign his commission, with out any pension benefits. and Montague staunchly condemned Gen. Dyer for  his unjustified response to opening fire on the innocent people without any prior warning,

Thanks to the munificence of  Morning Post newspaper, a conservative pro-Imperialistic newspaper, which later merged with the Daily Telegraph.To raise funds for the hero of Jallianwalla Bagh, the celebrated news paper made an appeal for generous donation  from the public, eventually they received enough funds.Gen. Dyer  was given warm reception on his return to England, where he was received like a victorious war  hero and awarded a purse of £26,000.00 (approximately £1,000,000 in terms of 2013 PPP) for his patriotic service to the nation. A Thirteen Women Committee was specially constituted to present "the Saviour of the Punjab with the sword of honor and a purse."The English ladies  appreciated Gen. Dyer for saving the modesty of a solitary British nun from the rampaging Indians. The news of the crime was received very differently among Indians. Some of the leaders like Gandhi and Nehru were just appalled at giving cash reward to a notorious British General who made a derogatory "crawling order" on the 11th of April, 1919 to  subdue the demonstrating crowd prior to the premeditated massacre at Amritsar.
Queen and Philips www.gettyimages.in
 Above image: The Queen & Prince Philip Barefoot Without Shoes, Visiting The Golden Temple Of Amritsar in  Punjab, India
Plaque Memorializing 1919 Amritsar Massacre-Jallianwala Bagh- Amritsar
his  public honor to a mass murderer further infuriated  freedom fighters and  the entire people of India. They felt this inhumane public reaction was something like rubbing salt on the bleeding wounds.

Can you imagine what will be your reaction  if  responsible news papers and equally responsible public  jointly give  a tumultuous reception with fanfare and fireworks and a huge purse of one million dollars to serial killers like Ted Bundy (USA: law student who raped and murdered more than 35 women in six states;  executed in 1989), Harold Shipman:( England:14 January 1946 – 13 January 2004 also known as "Dr. Death"; doctor convicted of 15 murders; possibly  killed at least 215 and possibly up to 457 people over a 25-year period- one of the most prolific serial killers in recorded history) and John Wayne Gacy (USA: also known as "The Killer Clown"; killer of at least 33 men and boys; kept bodies buried under his Chicago home; executed in 1994?). This massacre made people like Gandhi and Patel more resolute than ever before. Indians bore this public murder stoically but  became more convinced to get the freedom at any cost.

What started out as a peaceful protest at the residence of the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, in Punjab, India on 10 April 1919 became so restless that a military picket resorted to shooting at the demonstrating crowd, killing several protesters and this triggered a series of violent events. Following day the violent mob mercilessly attacked  Miss Marcella Sherwood, an English missionary, and left her for dead. Gen. Dyer, upon hearing this sad news, said 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." Miss Marcella Sherwood later defended General Dyer, glorifying  him "as the 'Saviour' of the Punjab.'' She meant honorable British ladies like her were saved by Gen. Dyer, a perfect gentleman in British uniform.

The Butcher of Amritsar - Nigel Collett'sThe Butc biography of Gen. Reginald Dyer .timesofindia.indiatimes.com
 ''Dyer decreed that between 6 am and 8 pm  Indians could only proceed on their bellies and elbows and were to be beaten if they raised a buttock. This effectively placed the street's inhabitants under house arrest. When informed of this, Dyer harrumphed and  said that they could go out at night  forgetting that his curfew order meant that they faced far more severe punishment should they try to.....'' The General went to the extend of explaining before the enquiry commission that his military action was to prevent repeat of another Sepoy Mutiny (of 1857).                                                                            
April 13, 1919 in Amritsar on Baisakhi day an important Sikh festival – at 4.30 PM, Dyer arrived with his soldiers and two armored cars fitted with machine guns that were left outside the gate because of narrow entrance. Other entrances were closed permanently. The Bagh was surrounded by houses and buildings.  Dyer without warning the crowd to disperse—blocked the main exits. He explained later that this act "was not to disperse the meeting but to punish the Indians for disobedience."

Dyer ordered his troops to begin shooting toward the most crowded sections aiming for maximum  casualties. Firing continued roughly for ten minutes. Cease-fire was ordered only when ammunition supplies ran out; about 1,650 rounds were spent and had only enough ammunition left to defend themselves on their way back to base.The General carefully directed proceedings from the front, pointing out targets his troops had missed.He wanted to net as many victims as possible, no matter whether they were children or women. Dyer left the scene immediately, a curfew had been clamped on the city at once to ensure that the wounded including elderly women and young children were left unattended so that they would be bled to death in agony and pain. The severely wounded victims remained there until the following morning groaning without any treatment whatsoever. What a despicable character the British General was!! Winston Churchill termed this act "frightfulness" and what today would be called state terrorism

Civil Surgeon Dr. Smith indicated that there were 1,526 casualties. The true figures of fatalities are unknown, but are likely to be many times higher than the official figure of 379.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. 

Nigel Collett's in his biography mentioned   Brigadier-General Villiers-Stuart, the Inspector of Infantry in India, describing him as "an excitable lunatic'' who did little during his time as a garrison commander except that "he used to drive about the mountain roads around Abbottabad (now in Pakistan) with a car full of ladies of the station, his great delight being to frighten them by dangerous driving at which he was an expert. The man was insane."
Ref:
Alfred Draper, The Massacre that Ended the Raj, London, 1981Ian Duncan Colvin, The life of General Dyer, Edinburgh, London : W. Blackwood & Sons Ltd, 1929

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.

Derek Sayer, "British Reaction to the Amritsar Massacre 1919–1920," Past & Present, May 1991, Issue 131, pp 130–164

Brain Bond, "Amritsar 1919," History Today, Sept 1963, Vol. 13 Issue 10, pp 666–676

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