Q) Discuss the role of Jallianwalla Bagh Incident and the Hunter commission in sharpening the national movement in India. (150 Words)
- Source: TH - Page 10/NEWS - Jallianwala Bagh conservation was supervised by ASI: Culture Ministry
- GS 1: History
Introduction: Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre occurred on 13th April 1919 near Amritsar when a crowd was gathered in the area for the celebration of Baisakhi. The environment was tense as two nationalist leaders Saifuddin Kithlew and Dr Satyapal's arrest had led to violent protests on 10th of April. The British Brigadier General R. Dyer had imposed martial law for this reason. He saw the Jallianwalla Bagh as the defiance of the law and ordered a general shooting after closing all exit points. As may as 1000 are believed to have been dead due to bullet shots, stampede and drowning into the well in the area.
Impact of the Incident on the Indian National Movement:
- Dejected the Intellectual class and the moderates: Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood. Gandhi gave up his title of Kaiser-i-Hind bestowed by the British for the works during the Boer War. Renowned historian APJ Taylor called it a "decisive moment when Indians were alienated from the British rule.
- Nationalist realized that non-cooperation is the only way: Gandhi declared that cooperation with a 'satanic regime' was now impossible.
- Breeded a class of revolutionaries: Many revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh were inspired by this event to take up the fight against the British.
- Exposed the Racial attitude of the British: despite the note taken by the Hunter commission formed to enquire into the excesses about the ills done by General Dyer, not punishment was meted to him. Further, many British supported his actions. Racial tension were even evident among the members of the committee.
- Created a foundation for Non-cooperation & Civil-disobedience: One of the main reasons for the overwhelming participation in the Non cooperation - Khilafat movement was Jallianwalla Bagh incident.
- Inspired change in society: For example when priests in the Golden Temple honored Dyer and declared him a Sikh, this led to an anger and dejection and created a ground for Gurudwara Reforms and a system of election to administer the Gurudwaras in India.
- International condemnation: Such incidents exposed the inhuman British rule in India and exposed the myth of expansion of civilization through the British Rule.
- Increased Regional participation: In the previous Swadeshi Movement and the Home Rule League, the participation from Punjab in the mass agitations was not as impressive as in Bombay or Bengal Presidency. However, after Jallianwalla Bagh Masacre, Punjab emerged as one of the hub of mass movements and revolutionary activities.
Conclusion: This incident had created a shocking impact on the Indian population which is often seen as the beginning of the end of the British Empire in India. In the recent times, the archbishop of Canterbury in the Britain have apologized for the incident. However, it remains the single largest blot on British empire to this day.