Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar (Where Gumbo Was, #217)


Gumbo was visiting Jallianwala Bagh in the Sikh city of Amristar, site of the 'Amritsar massacre'.  Congratulations to George G, Portmoresby, Garry RF and Roderick Simpson who solved this week's puzzle. 

01 Jallianwala Bagh (1)

02 Jallianwala Bagh (2)

Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden of about 6.5 acres which is approached through a narrow walkway.  Here you'll find assorted monuments and memorials to a tragic event, but one that shed light on the periodic tyranny of British rule.  The events of this day were among those that began India's march to independence.

03 Jallianwala Bagh (3)

05 Jallianwala Bagh (4)

On April 13, 1919 (which happened to be 'Baisakhi', one of Punjab's largest religious festivals) thousands of people gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh to peacefully and non-violently protest the arrest of two community leaders, despite a curfew being in effect.  On the order of General Reginald Dyer (who later claimed he was facing a revolutionary army), and without any warning, 50 British troops fired about 1650 rounds on the crowd for ten minutes until their ammunition was almost exhausted (the troops then withdrew from the site).  The official (British) death toll was said to 379, but civilian estimates range from 1000 - 1500 people killed and hundreds more wounded. 

Entry to Jallianwala Bagh was limited to one main walkway as the garden was bounded on all sides by houses and buildings.  A few smaller entrances existed but most of these were locked.  At the time of the massacre, the main entrance was guarded by the troops with armored vehicles outside, so people really had no where to escape to and no way to defend themselves.

When you visit today, mostly you'll see a pleasant and nicely maintained garden....

15b Jallianwala Bagh (11)

15c Jallianwala Bagh (17)

Jallianwala Bagh (31)

Jallianwala Bagh (38)

...but the story of the massacre is highlighted at the site, even in the vegetation which is pruned to look like soldiers firing their weapons....

Jallianwala Bagh (45)

Jallianwala Bagh (46)

You'll find walls around the garden that still bear bullet holes from that tragic day....

Jallianwala Bagh (20)

Jallianwala Bagh (23)

Jallianwala Bagh (36)

Jallianwala Bagh (37)

It was a tragic days in many ways, but none more so than at the well (Martyr's Well) on the site.  120 bodies (including women and children) were recovered from within the well as people jumped into it to escape the gunfire, in so doing crushing and smothering those who had jumped in before them.  I'm not sure we need a more poignant reminder of how brutal the assault on the civilians must have been.

16 Jallianwala Bagh (19)

17 Jallianwala Bagh (18)

A lamp, the Eternal Flame of Liberty, burns at the entrance to pay homage to the martyrs...

08 Jallianwala Bagh (7)The garden also houses a gallery with a variety of art including portraits of that tragic day....

10 Jallianwala Bagh (10)
(walkway to gallery)

14 Jallianwala Bagh (16)15 Jallianwala Bagh (14)

The site also has this lovely monument, in the style of a flame...

Jallianwala Bagh (26)Jallianwala Bagh (29)

Admission is free.  There is apparently a light and sound show in the evening, although I didn't see that.

And a few final images...

Jallianwala Bagh (32)

Jallianwala Bagh (34)

Jallianwala Bagh (48)


Images (27)

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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On the 2 nights prior to the massacre, Indian Government buildings had been set on fire. Telegraph poles destroyed and railways attacked. Europeans - including a female English school teacher - had been attacked by mobs on the streets. Stripped naked, beaten and left for dead at the roadside. There were no British soldiers in the town. They were all in the mountains to escape the heat. The Ghurkhas'   -  Nepalese Soldiers - were trying to enforce the curfew that had been imposed following the murders of Europeans and the acts of destruction.

And the rest of the story is what happens when you get civil disorder.

Like Waco.

Last edited by GarryRF
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