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EF: A44206689 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Part Two

Post 1

h2g2 Guide Editors

kitrapsjasani would like to propose an update for one of the sections in this Entry A44206689 and will post it here shortly smiley - biggrin

EF: A44206689 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Part Two

Post 2


Jallianwala Bagh.

Gandhi had supported the British during the First World War and was convinced that in return Britain would give a sympathetic ear to India's nationalist aspirations. But he was wrong! In March 1919 the British authorities passed the 'Rowlan Act', which indefinitely extended the emergency measures regarding the 'Defence of India Regulations Act' that had come into existence during the war to control public unrest and root out conspiracy. The Act enabled the authorities to imprison, without trial, anyone suspected of terrorism living within the Raj. It also gave the colonial authorities power to deal with any revolutionaries.
The Mahatma and other Congress leaders were extremely critical of this and argued that not everyone should be punished in response to political crimes. But this, they soon realised, was fruitless. As a consequence, at a meeting of Indian leaders in Mohamed Ali Jinnah's residence, Gandhi proposed that 6 April be called a day of prayer and fasting; all, including government, businesses, in which many Indians worked, would shut down — a strike. This was a total success.
However, the success of the 'strike' was soon overshadowed by the tensions that arose, resulting in riots in the state of Punjab. Gandhi was imprisoned, but later released on the basis that he would intervene to stop the riots. This he did. But on 9 April 1919, two members of the Congress were deported from Punjab. This further stirred up tension in the state and removed any chance of peace being enforced. In the rioting that followed, an assistant English bank manager was beaten to death. The latter, who tried to defend himself with a gun, was cruelly murdered, and one English woman assaulted. Martial law was immediately imposed, and all meetings and gatherings of more than four people banned.
On Friday 13 April, the day of 'Baisakhi', thousands of people, many from other parts of the country who had left their homes before martial law and the ban were imposed, gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh, in the city of Amritsar, Punjab. They were holding a peaceful gathering when suddenly Indian troops under the command of General Reginald Edward Dyer entered the grounds. The armoured vehicles that accompanied the troops were unable to enter and therefore not participate in the event that was about to unfold. There were women, babies, children and men in the crowd.
The Bagh was bound on all sides by houses and buildings and a few narrow entrances, some of which were locked permanently, with the exception of the entrance being blocked by the troops. Without warning, the general ordered his troops to 'fire' at the thickest part of the crowd with their 3-0-3 Lee Enfield rifles. The crowd began to scatter as bullets hit their targets. People ran in all directions; some tried to climb over the walls, many jumped into a nearby well. The firing at the crowd lasted for ten minutes and afterwards no-one was allowed to go into the grounds to help those who had survived due to the curfew that had been imposed.
Dyer was convinced he had done a 'jolly good thing', as he thought he had stopped a mutiny, and returned to base. To rub salt in the wound, the general ordered that anyone passing or going through the street where the Englishwoman was assaulted would have to crawl on their hands and knees. This also applied to families whose only approach to their house was via the street. Anyone who ignored the order was publicly flogged. In some districts of the city, Indians carrying umbrellas or parasols had to lower them and salute British officers as they passed them. Gandhi was as outraged by this as the massacre, which was the turning point in the struggle for Indian independence.
A hundred and twenty bodies were plucked out of the well at Jallianwala Bagh. The Hunter Commission, set up to investigate the massacre, indicated in its conclusion that 1,650 bullets were fired, with 379 people killed (though some said it was at 2,000 but this could not be verified) and a total of 1,516 casualties. During the trial, the general was asked whether, had been able to take the two armoured cars, he would have opened fire with the machine guns? To this he replied:
'I think, probably, yes.'
When questioned whether he had made any preparations to help those who needed it, he replied that he was prepared to help any who applied. In response, he was asked how a child shot with a 3-0-3 Lee Enfield would apply for help? The Commission had been informed that the Lieutenant Governor of the state, Michael O’Dwyer was informed of General Dyer's action and had approved it.
General Dyer was dismissed from the Army and sent back to England, where many welcomed him as a hero, but some repudiated the action taken by him. The Secretary of State for India, Edwin S Montagu, wrote to the viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, in an official despatch: 'His Majesty's Government repudiate emphatically the doctrine upon which General Dyer based his action at Jallianwala Bagh. The crawling order offended against every canon of civilised government.' This message was passed on to the members of the Congress Party, but the Mahatma was clearly in no mood to discuss anything. He informed the viceroy that he would use his policy of non-violence and non-cooperation that would, hopefully, compel the British to 'quit India'
Udham Singh.

One of the survivors of the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh was Udham Singh, who, with his friends, was serving water when the shooting began. Singh, who later changed his name to Ram Mohammed Singh, assassinated Sir (as he had been knighted) Michael O'Dwyer at Caxton Hall, London, on 13 March 1940. At his trial, held at the Old Bailey, he explained the reason for his action: 'I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it.' He was sentenced to death and hanged at Pentonville prison on 31 July 1940.
Thirty-four years later the daughter of the first Indian prime minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, made a request to the British government to repatriate Singh's body, which had been buried within the prison grounds. When the aircraft carrying the casket landed at Delhi airport, the then Indian prime minister was there to receive it, as were two future presidents, Shankar Dayal Sharma, who was then president of the Congress party, and Zail Singh, chief minister of Punjab. Udham Singh's body was finally cremated at his birth place, Sunam in Punjab, and his ashes scattered in the River Ganges.

Footnote: General Dyer, who had become known as “The Butcher of Amritsar,” died in 1927. Cause of death was cerebral haemorrhage. He died in Long Ashton, Somerset, England.

Footnote: British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was the first serving Prime Minister who visited Jallianwala Bagh in 2013 but stopped short of making an apology. He laid a wreath and wrote in the book of condolences: “This was a deeply shameful event in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at the time as "monstrous". We must never forget what happened here. In remembering we must ensure that the United Kingdom stands up for the right to peaceful protest around the world."

Everything else remains the same. No further changes or updates needed.

EF: A44206689 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Part Two

Post 3

h2g2 Guide Editors

Many thanks - those changes have been made smiley - rose

EF: A44206689 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Part Two

Post 4


smiley - applauseShouldn't it be '.303' rather than '3-0-3'?


EF: A44206689 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Part Two

Post 5

h2g2 Guide Editors

Thanks <BB<

Yes - that has been tweaked.

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