Jallianwala Bagh Massacre is known as the most evil side of British Imperialism the modern world has ever seen. There will be no wrong calling this massacre the foundation stone of the various radical nationwide movements that led to the India’s freedom. One may feel dejected to know the present condition of this monument that dwarfs its significance.
While entering the Jallianwala Bagh through the narrow historic lane from which General REH Dyer and his soldiers had entered on April 13, 1919, the Baisakhi Day and opened fire on the innocent people present there. Any visitor would expect detailed information about the tragic incident, but unfortunately its incomplete account is highly disappointing.
At the end of lane when one goes to the Souvenir Hall on the left side, the very first glimpse one gets is that of a simple sealed urn besides which is written ‘The ashes of Udham Singh’ placed in a glass shelf. Many people lean over the shelf unable to recognize this person who is known as a legendary martyr of the Freedom Movement. This is highly unjustified recognition accorded here to this martyr who went purposely to England to avenge massacre of Jallianwala Bagh by killing the former Governor General of Punjab Michael O'Dwyer.
Udham Singh was martyred on July 31, 1940 in Pentonville Prison, England where his body was buried. Later his ashes were brought to India after 34 years of the martyrdom. After cremating them, the soil of his ashes was packed in several urns and this is one of them. Other than this not writing the ‘martyr’ with his name will just confuse and mislead the common public and they will remain unaware to the contributions of this great leader. Just opposite to this, the picture of Michael O'Dwyer hangs. Ironically the memorial which doesn’t identify Udham Singh as Martyr has shockingly addressed Michael O’Dwyer as ‘Sir’.
Even the gallery outside this hall which is named as ‘Martyr’s Gallery’ is having two photos of martyr Udham Singh but here too nowhere the word ‘Martyr’ is found. Thus this gallery does not justify the spirit behind its name.
Standing at the entrance a stone reads that from there the General Dyer ordered his men to shoot the crowd. Sadly, even here no respectable form of address is used that identifies them as the fighters of freedom.
Jallianwala Bagh is a place where the Amar Jyoti is lightened in the name of martyr, the historical well and the gallery associated is also named as ‘martyr’ monuments. But when it comes to authenticate their martyrdom, what prevails is just a deep silence. A weird ignorance is their which doesn’t want the public to celebrate the courage of their heroes.
Tourists come with huge respect to this pilgrimage of patriotism. Call it the harsh reality but ironically there aren’t any traces which either identifies the people who sacrificed their lives in this soil or the man who went to the home of the criminal and killed him to avenge the death of his countrymen with the right title they deserve.
Even outside the main complex, the names of all those who lost their lives on that grim date were carved and highlighted on the sculpture with the yellow paint but that too have started to be removed and rubbed. This pathetic quality of work done speaks the authority that couldn’t even conserve the names of the martyr. Getting the required respect to them is much far away.
The Central Government of India decided to dedicate this 100th anniversary year to all those who lost their lives in this inhumane event. But even when more than 1/3 rd of anniversary year is already over, the current situation prevalent whispers another story. This anniversary year has come in the air of independent India so more than any politics; it’s a high time that the martyr souls should get their right for which their souls must have been waiting for a century now.
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