Dr. Geeta Radhakrishna Menon
Mahatma Gandhi 44 - The Massacre At Jallianwala Bagh - Poem by Dr. Geeta Radhakrishna Menon
A shocking tragedy that shook India was
The dreadful massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.
When General Sir Reginald Dyer,
The military commander of British Rule in India,
Took over Amritsar, the first order he gave was
To prohibit public meetings.
The innocent people of Punjab were
Unaware of this order!
On 13th April 1919, a black Sunday,
Over ten thousand people gathered
At the Jallianwala Bagh,
A spacious, open ground enclosed by high walls.
On an auspicious day of Baisakhi -
A celebration of the spring season!
Unfortunately, the celebration turned into a nightmare
Undeniably, a horrific happening!
Just as the meeting had begun,
General Dyer arrived with fifty soldiers
Fully armed with rifles.
They blocked the entrance to the ground
The only exit gate as well.
Without any warning Dyer ordered his soldiers to fire.
Bullets began raining, hitting the unprepared,
Innocent people gathered in the ground.
A pandemonium occurred,
The people panicked and began running helter skelter,
There was no way for the people to escape,
As the soldiers had blocked the entrance,
There was no other exit either.
Many were killed with bullets,
Many in the stampede,
Many jumped to death into a well!
It was a terrible scene of heart rending cries
Of men, women and children!
This is a part of Indian history,
That shall remain imprinted as a part of freedom struggle,
Never to be forgotten!
It was a miserable death for a mass of people
The garden of Jallianwala in Amritsar that
Turned into a vast graveyard!
An ugly display of human power, arrogance
And cruelty of the worst order!
The Jallianwala tragedy happened just a day before
Gandhiji's Sabarmati Ashram speech,
Read by Sri Vallabhai Patel before a large audience.
But Gandhiji knew about this incident only later
As telegraph and telephone systems were all switched off.
Gandhiji was shaken up by this outrageous incident of terror.
Gandhiji was still barred from entering Punjab.
He demanded a full investigation into
The Jallianwala massacre and the punishments.
In September, the British authorities appointed
A Hunter commission to conduct an enquiry,
And in October, Gandhiji was given permission to enter Punjab.
On 24th October 1919, when Gandhiji arrived in Lahore,
For the first time in his life,
He was given a warm reception by the people of Punjab.
A huge crowd awaited him to get a glimpse of their leader.
In Punjab, Gandhiji sought funds for the Jallianwala memorial.
He emphasized "that it was with no ill will or hostility to anyone
But as a symbol of people's grief and
As a reminder of the sacrifices, through death of the innocent."
Poet's Notes about The Poem
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