The Darkest Baisakhi in the history of India
ਪੰਜ ਵਜੇ ਅਪ੍ਰੈਲ ਦੀ ਤੇਰਵੀ ਨੂੰ,
ਲੋਕੀ ਬਾਗ ਵਲ ਹੋਏ ਰਵਾਨ ਚਲੇ।
ਦਿਲਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਇੰਸਾਫ ਦੀ ਆਸ ਰਖ ਕੇ,
ਸਾਰੇ ਸਿਖ, ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੇ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ਚਲੇ।
ਵਿਰਲੇ ਆਦਮੀ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿਚ ਰਹੇ ਬਾਕੀ,
ਸਭ ਬਾਲ ਤੇ ਬਿਰਥ, ਜਵਾਨ ਚਲੇ।
ਅਜ ਦਿਲਾਂ ਦੇ ਦੁਖ ਸੁਨਾਣ ਚਲੇ,
ਸਗੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਗਲੇ ਕਟਵਾਓਣ ਚਲੇ।
(The above lines are from ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’, a long poem that details the events that led up to the bloodbath at Jallianwala Bagh, written by Nanak Singh, who was 22 when he went to Jallianwala Bagh on that fateful Baisakhi day in 1919. The poem was banned by the British upon its publication in 1920, and copies were destroyed. )
The unjustifiable killings of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children, in cold blood, at Amritsar on April 13, 1919, by the British soldiers, till date is considered one of the most significant wounds given by the British Empire.
It was the day of Baisakhi, one of the important festivals of Punjab. An estimated 10 to 15 thousand people including Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to commemorate the day that Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded the Khalsa Panth in 1699.
Since the Bagh was surrounded by houses and buildings, it had very narrow entrances, most of which were locked at all times. On the order of General R.E.H. Dyer, the soldiers entered from the main entrance, which was relatively wider and opened fire without warning, they continued to fire until the ammunition was exhausted. 1650 rounds. The soldiers had received orders to shoot at the densest section of the crowd.
Hundreds died from the direct shooting, several lost their lives in stampedes, and many died jumping into the well, to escape firing. It is inconceivable what the casualties would have been, had the armoured vehicles armed with machine guns been able to get past the narrow entrances to the Bagh that day.
The firing lasted for about 6 minutes resulting in destruction and devastation, with hundreds of innocent people losing their lives and leaving thousands of people injured and scarred.
The day was an eye-opener,
And though, it’s been more than 100 years,
Their bloodstains still scream,
Their helplessness still haunts,
Their sacrifices are still remembered.