Jallianwala Bagh: History massacred or restored?

Jallianwala Bagh: History massacred or restored?

Jallianwala Bagh

Renovation of the historic Jallianwala Bagh has residents and the Centre in the cross hairs. Tribune correspondent PK Jaiswar and lensman Sunil Kumar give a glimpse of the renovated memorial where reportedly 1,000 persons were martyred and 1,200 left injured on the day of Baisakhi in 1919

Historians allege that the original character of a memorial built in memory of the martyrs of the ghastly massacre has been massively tampered with.

Earlier, too, renovation of the Jallianwala Bagh had sparked protests. A decade ago, an open air theatre was developed and light and sound show was started, which featured a voiceover of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan.

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People from different walks of life had gathered to protest against the arrest of Dr Saifudin Kitchlew and Dr Satyapal, who were agitating against the Rowlatt Act, at the Jallianwala Bagh on the day of Baisakhi on April 13, 1919.

Dozens of troops led by Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer mercilessly had gunned down the protesters by blocking the only entry and exit point of the Jallianwala Bagh.

Following renovation of one-and-a-half years, the Jallianwala Bagh was virtually thrown open on August 28 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also a Chairman of the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Trust. Four new galleries have come up, besides a salvation ground.

Also read: Martyrs’ memorabilia to be kept at Jallianwala Bagh

Both walls of the narrow street, which act as an entrance, have been embossed with murals that depict people from all walks of life who came to the Jallianwala Bagh to participate in the protest. The narrow lane was never altered earlier. Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer and his troops had blocked this very entry and exit point. This made it impossible for thousands of people to escape from bullets being showered by troops. The entrance now has a new flooring.

The façade of the historic well is also renovated. Glass panels have been installed around it where hundreds of martyrs jumped to escape firing by the British soldiers. The Nanakshahi bricks have been replaced by plaster on the well.

Now, separate entry and exit points have been developed at the Jallianwala Bagh. Earlier, there was only one entry and exit point.

Visitors watch a documentary, which tells about history of the freedom struggle and the World War-I. Similarly, other galleries inform about the unity among people during the freedom movement.

The same gallery also informs about history from the first Sikh Master Guru Nanak Dev to the 10th Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh, who laid the foundation of Khalsa Panth. The gallery features Sikh General Banda Singh Bahadur and Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

One of the galleries depicting ancient civilisation of Punjab, then a part of Sapt-Sindhu region, comprising Sarasvati, Sindhu, Jhelum, Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab and Beas rivers.

Immediately after entering the Jallianwala Bagh from the narrow lane, a ‘Jalkund’ made of granite stone is placed. Earlier, there was a fountain, at this particular spot.

Visitors reading the account of Ratna Devi, who was one of the survivors. This space has been dedicated to the survivors of this gory tragedy.

Tourists look at the bullet marks on a wall at the Jallianwala Bagh. Wooden grills have been installed so that no one touches these spots, which have been highlighted with white colour.

A salvation ground has been developed, which features black granite pillar type structures in order to pay homage to the martyrs. The granite pillars have quotes of freedom fighters, including Lala Lajpat Rai, Shaheed Udham Singh and poet Mohammad Iqbal.

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