JALLIANWALA BAGH MASSACRE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – History)

News-CRUX-10     15th April 2024        
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Context: Prime Minister of India paid tribute to the people killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 and shared a video defining the incident and showcasing the unparalleled courage and sacrifice of the victims.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

  • About: It was a culmination of British colonial policies, including the introduction of laws like the Defence of India Act and the Rowlatt Act, granting extraordinary powers to the government.
  • Return of Gandhi and Rising Unrest: Gandhi's return to India and his opposition to the Rowlatt Act heightened tensions, leading to widespread protests and strikes across the country.
  • Tense Situation in Punjab: Punjab, with its strategic importance and significant presence in the British Indian Army, was a focal point of unrest, especially with the imposition of martial law in certain areas.
  • Events Leading to the Massacre

oProclamation and Disobedience: Despite General Dyer's proclamation prohibiting public gatherings, thousands defied the order and gathered at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919.

oBrutal Response: General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on the unarmed crowd, leading to a massacre that lasted for about ten minutes.

  • Immediate Effects of the Massacre

oPublic Outrage and International Response: The brutality of the massacre shocked the nation and drew condemnation worldwide, with figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore taking significant actions in protest.

oImpact on British Rule: The incident shattered the perception of British justice and fueled the resistance against colonial governance, marking a turning point in India's struggle for independence.

  • Aftermath and Long-term Consequences

oIneffective Inquiry and Lack of Accountability: Despite condemnations, the British government's response, including the ineffective Hunter Commission, failed to hold General Dyer accountable, exacerbating the sense of injustice among Indians.

oLegacy of Resistance: The Jallianwala Bagh massacre galvanized the Indian populace, leading to movements like the Non-cooperation movement and contributing to the eventual downfall of British colonial rule in India.

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