Jallianwala Bagh memorial

Why Indian outrage over revamp of Jallianwala Bagh memorial

The modernised complex of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial that was not long ago inaugurated by the Prime Minister has provoked huge anger amid netizens along with leaders of Opposition parties. While cybercitizens have accused the gov. of destroying history in the name of renovation, the Opposition leaders have named it as an abuse of martyrs.

Prime Minister virtually set in motion the renovated bagh complex in Amritsar.

The monument was foremost opened by then Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1961, as a thankful country tribute to the victims of the slaughter, when a huge crowd had gathered at the Bagh to objection the arrest of nationalist leaders Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlu.

In reaction to the enormous gathering, the British officer instructed his troops to fire into the crowd, killing a thousand hundred people.

What is present in the renovated monument complex, what has been transformed from the original, and what has been added?

Modi, who is also the chairperson of the Bagh Memorial Trust, devoted the memorial to the public.

The hour-long virtual plan began with a Gurbani recital. A few-minute silence was remarked to pay a salute to the martyrs of Bagh. People of the families of those who fell to British bullets were available to participate in the ceremony.

In 2019, approx Rs 20 crore was reserved by the Centre for the remembrance of 100 years of the Bagh slaughter.

Conservation work and Restoration, and the building of facilities like washrooms, drinking water and ticketing counters, has been taken on by the Ministry of Culture. The memorial has been closed down for the public since Feb 2019 for the makeover, executed by the gov-owned NBCC Ltd.

The exit and entry points to the Jallianwala have been wobbled, and a lotus pond has been constructed around the key memorial. The popular Martyrs Well, into which humans jumped to get away the hail of bullets, is now surrounded in a glass shield — a controversial decision that has been attacked since it is recognized to restrict the view.

What is new at Jallianwala Bagh?

A few times Sound and Light show re-confirmed the events of April 1919, to be displayed free of cost every day. A Salvation Ground has been constructed for travellers to sit in peace to honour the martyrs.

Some new models of martyrs have come up on the higher walls of the small lane through which travellers enter the complex. These regarded as ordinary Punjabis from various walks of life, who walked into the park on that critical day but never returned.

It has a model of Guru Nanak Dev, a statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Sikh warrior Banda Singh Bahadur.

The politics of nationalism

With just a few times to go for the elections, the politics of nationalism has taken the limelight. Just last week, the Punjab CM had started the Bagh Memorial Park, a second memorial as a salute to the unknown burn of the massacre, saying that the memorial at the original site was constructed to remember the martyrize who were recognized.

The second memorial has been constructed over 1.5 acres of land at the Park in Ranjit Avenue, almost a few km away from the site.

What is the Jallianwala Bagh massacre?

The event dates back to April 1919, when the British zone was facing crucial disapproval in Punjab that let them arrest individuals without any trial and warrant. Sir Michel O’ Dwyer forced martial rule in Amritsar and Lahore on April 11, but the command reached Punjab only on April 14.

Upon hearing about the huge gathering, Col Dyer marched into the jallianwala with a line of 50 soldiers armed with bolt action rifles,.303, and Lee Enfield around 5 pm. It’s said he instructed the troops to open fire without giving any notification. They shoot all the 1,650 rounds they had, even though the mass began fleeing after the initial volley. As per the British, hundreds of Indians ended their lives in the firing, the oldest of whom was 80 and the youngest 9. Indian historians nail the toll at 1,000.

Why does there a controversy related to the latest revamp?

The Bagh has gone through some repairs and touch-ups over the years. But the tiny alley leading to the Jallianwala had remained unmarked for almost 100 years. While few other things changed, the narrow entrance built of Nanakshahi bricks, through which Dyer’s soldiers march into the Jallianwala, continued to evoke the fear of that day. Last year in July, it was renovated into a gallery with sculpture, leaving no trace of old passage.

The tiny lane — which was shut down by British soldiers makes it pretty impossible for Indians to escape from the Jallianwala on that frightful day — now has a glossy new floor. Besides this, it has been to a certain extent covered to keep the birds from sitting on the models.

Before and after images of this lane, shared by a historian, have led tan an uproar on social media, with few netizens calling the renovation a bid to eliminate history.

Gurmeet Rai Sangha, Heritage Management Specialist, and director, CRCI, who has worked on n few heritage projects with the Punjab gov, while reacting to the modernization of Bagh, said, “I would say that such places of heritage and historical importance are being reduced to theme parks as Bagh was the beginning of the end of British rule in the country. Instead of reducing it to a theme park by putting statues, the aim should have been on matters like interpretation centres and documentation.

Why does the Jallianwala Baghrenovated?

Four new galleries have been developed through adaptive re-use of not used well buildings in the complex to showcase the historical value of events that took place in Punjab during that timeline. The galleries portray the Gadar movement, the history of Punjab, and the history of the freedom movement.

Why the s the Jallianwala Bagh massacre an important event in Indian history?

It ked as a turning point in our country modern history, in that it left an enduring scar on Indo-British relations and was the preliminary to Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi’s full commitment to the cause of independence from Britain and Indian nationalism.

Who has developed Jallianwala?

Architect Benjamin Polk


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