Today, when nation remembers shaheeds of Jallianwala Bagh and British envoy expresses regret for massacre, the main question still remains wrapped in mystery. Why did British army use brutal military force to crush unarmed people agitating in peaceful manner?
Careful examination of certain events at that time in world somehow connected with Punjab, throw clues for making an assessment about why British were so nervous and used avoidable brutal military force to crush seemingly peaceful unarmed agitation.
1. On onset of World War I, Gadar Party formed by Sikhs mainly from Punjab and settled in Canada and also active in USA, reportedly planned to liberate India specially so Punjab from British occupation. The freedom plan called conspiracy by British is famous as Gadar Mutiny. Details given at this link Gadar Mutiny
2. During World War I, a Berlin Committee was formed by Indians in Germany for independence of India. Berlin Committee
3. Gadar freedom plan led to Lahore freedom plan where in under Defence of India Act, Military Courts gave death punishments to 42 accused and almost 110 were given life imprisonment and send to Kala Pani in A&N.
4. Gadar freedom plan also led to Singapore Mutiny. Link Singapore Mutiny
5. British had promulgated Defence of India Act and tribunals set under it gave severe punishments to people even on small suspicion.
6. Gadar and Lahore freedom plans and Singapore resistence were crushed ruthlessly.
7. Berlin Committee later gave birth to Kabul Mission, wherein a Provisional Govt of India in exile was formed under Presidentship of Raja Mahendra Pratap Verma in 1915. This Govt had plans to raise an army of 40000 soldiers to invade British India to liberate first Punjab from British Occupation. Raja was giving calls for revolt in India. Provisional Govt of India in Exile at Kabul
8. In Nov 1918, World War One ended. lakhs of Indian troops were demobilised and settled with good pensions and land grants. Bulk in Punjab and UP. Under British pressure, major powers like Germany and Turkey withdrew support from Provisional Govt of India and it was winded up. Raja Mahendra Pratap continued his struggle moving to Russia and later to Japan. British suspected him having close links with communists spreading wings in Punjab.
9. Post World War I, reports of communisms getting support in Punjab alarmed British.
10. Defence of India Act was still in force.
With above backdrop, when people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to show solidarity with Indian independence defying military orders, British military assessed it as early indicators of passible armed revolt in Punjab, wherein demobilised ex-servicemen could also join it. It made British more nervous and panicky.
General Dyer it seems, was under panic when he ordered use of such brutal military force and got away with it as he recieved huge support back in Britain.
It is a debatable issue that when most of so called conspiracies were crushed and Govt of India in exile under Rajah Mahendra Pratap was removed then where was need for British to get panicky? Reports of communists still supporting demand of Indian independence were not strong enough reason for British to undertake such brutal and shameful military action. British did suspect many among lakhs of demobilised young ex-servicemen supporting cause of Indian independence. But even then, there were no clear evidence of impending armed rebellion.
Jallianwala Bagh is saga of bravery where people defied British authority and gathered for sake of freedom. It is a blot on British history wherein unarmed people were subjected to brutal military force. British Queen owes an apology to people of India.
Fauji Reporter salutes our nation’s heros of Gadar Party, Berlin Committee, Kabul Mission, Singapore Resistance, Govt of India in exile at Kabul and shaheeds of Jallianwalla Bagh.
Salute to Heroes