I was 13 years old when I visited Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar back in 2013. Visiting that place was an experience that left an unforgettable mark on my heart and mind. Stepping onto the hallowed ground where a tragic event unfolded in India’s history made me confront the past, stirring a mixture of emotions that ranged from sorrow to empathy and a renewed sense of the importance of justice and humanity.
The atmosphere at Jallianwala Bagh was mournful and contemplative. As I walked through the narrow entrance, the very walls seemed to echo with the cries of those who were trapped there, their voices forever imprinted on the stones. The sun-dappled courtyard, once the site of a peaceful gathering, now stood as a living testament to a tragic event that transpired on April 13, 1919, where innocent men, women, and children were mercilessly gunned down by British troops. The bullet marks on the walls and the well into which people jumped to escape the bullets bore witness to the horrors of that day. Looking down into the depths of that well, I couldn’t help but feel a shiver down my spine as I imagined the heart-wrenching moments of desperation and fear that must have filled the air that day.
The bullet marks that scarred the walls and the plaques that recounted the events provided a chilling account of what transpired. General Dyer’s orders to open fire on the unarmed crowd, who had gathered to protest the oppressive Rowlatt Act. I stood there, struck by the thought that the same ground beneath my feet had soaked in the blood of innocent people who had come together to voice their concerns against injustice on the pious occasion of Baisakhi. Baisakhi is one of the major festivals celebrated in Punjab and such a bloodshed incident on that day has left scars in the heart and mind of the people and their families. Today it has been more than 100 years but the incident is as fresh as if it happened yesterday in the minds of the people.
Amidst the sadness, there was also a sense of unity and remembrance. Visitors from all walks of life, different regions, and diverse backgrounds paid their respects to the victims. A memorial at one end of the garden stood tall, an emblem of remembrance and homage. The eternal flame burning there seemed to symbolize the undying spirit of those who had suffered and fallen. I joined others in paying my respects, laying down a flower as a mark of tribute to those who had become martyrs in the cause of our nation’s freedom.
Walking around the memorial, I came across inscriptions and quotes that emphasized the importance of peace, unity, and nonviolence. These words echoed the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, who championed nonviolent resistance against oppression.
My visit to Jallianwala Bagh was more than just a historical excursion; it was an emotional journey that connected me to the struggles of my forefathers and deepened my appreciation for the freedom we often take for granted. It was a reminder that the price of liberty is often paid in blood, and that the echoes of past atrocities must guide our actions in the present and future.
Leaving the garden, I carried with me not just the memories of that fateful day, but also a renewed sense of responsibility. The stories of sacrifice and resilience that Jallianwala Bagh holds need to be passed on to future generations, so that the lessons of history are never forgotten. We shall be indebted to them forever and we must remember the sacrifices of those who had given everything for our nation’s freedom. We are breathing freely and enjoying today because they laid their life.
In conclusion, my experience at Jallianwala Bagh was emotionally challenging. It served as a potent reminder of the sacrifices made for freedom and justice and the responsibility, we carry to uphold these values.
Written by Pritee Priyadarshini, MCA 2nd Year