Unveiling Untold Truths: Jallianwala Bagh Remembered

by Manjari Singh

In a poignant tribute to the somber anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, scholars, historians, and descendants gathered at Guru Nanak Dev University for a national seminar. Commemorating 105 years since the tragic event, the seminar, organized by the Jallianwala Bagh Chair, delved into the intricate tapestry of the Indian National Movement, seeking to situate the massacre within its broader historical context.

Keynote speaker Professor Harish K Puri, former Chairperson of the Ambedkar Chair at the University, captivated the audience with a profound analysis. He illuminated how leaders of the Congress Inquiry Committee, notably Mahatma Gandhi, bravely defied fear to testify against the British regime following the atrocity.

Amidst the scholarly discourse, two seminal books emerged, shedding new light on the massacre’s grim realities. “Re-visiting Martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre,” penned by Prof. Amandeep Bal and Dr. Dilbag Singh, grapples with the elusive quest to ascertain the precise toll of lives lost and wounded. Dr. Bal poignantly remarked on the challenges: the cloak of martial law, bureaucratic negligence, and deliberate obfuscation by the British, rendering an accurate account elusive. Yet, through meticulous research, the authors uncovered additional victims, including 34 children, underscoring the enduring tragedy’s human toll.

In “The Jallianwala Bagh Journals,” author Sarmistha Dutta Gupta embarks on a profound exploration of collective memory. Drawing on personal narratives and community recollections, Gupta unveils a tapestry of emotions woven into the fabric of Amritsar’s history. Reflecting on Rabindranath Tagore’s principled stand against memorializing the site, Gupta intertwines past and present, highlighting the enduring resonance of the massacre in public consciousness.

Professor Jagmohan Singh, nephew of the legendary Bhagat Singh, offered poignant reflections during the valedictory address. He unraveled the British Empire’s deep-seated apprehension towards the specter of Hindu-Muslim unity, evoking parallels with the tumultuous events of 1857.

In the technical sessions, luminaries such as Prof. Harish Sharma and Prof. Sukhdev Singh Sohal delved into literary and ideological dimensions, exploring the works of Manto and the Ghadrite interpretation of the tragedy.

As the echoes of history reverberate through the hallowed grounds of Jallianwala Bagh, this seminar serves as a poignant reminder of the imperative to confront the past with courage and compassion. In honoring the martyrs, we embrace not only their sacrifice but also our collective responsibility to forge a future rooted in justice and remembrance.

Manjari Singh

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