13th April History -Jalliwanwalla Bag

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13th April History - The Darest side of British Raj in India - The massacre in jallianwala bagh

April 13th History is marked by significant events that have changed the course of history. This date has marked numerous occasions worth remembering. Let’s take a glimpse into the past and explore some of the noteworthy events that have taken place on this day in history.

Yet another feather in the Cap for the city of Calcutta. The Calcutta Metro starts its trial run below the bed of the Hooghly River making it the first and only metro in India to do so. However, did you know that the conceptualization of a Metro railway across the Hooghly River was done way back in 1921 by a British civil engineer Harley Dalrymple-Hay? Well that is a story for some other day. Today, I share the 13th April History with my readers.

Sometime recently, a man named Jaswant Singh Chail, a British citizen from Southampton entered Windsor Castle in an attempt to injure the royal family with a loaded crossbow. He admitted this in court and said his act was to avenge the Jalliwanwalla Bagh massacre, and this is the first event that I share with my readers as 13th April History.

The Garden of Blood

The 13th of April, 1919 is a dark day in the history of India. It was this day when a large crowd of peaceful protesters gathered in Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal, and Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew. The Bagh which was enclosed by walls on all sides had only one narrow entrance.

General Reginald Dyer, who was the commander of the British Indian Army in the area, arrived at the scene with a group of soldiers armed with rifles and machine guns. Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on the unarmed crowd without any warning or provocation. The troops continued to fire for around ten minutes until they ran out of ammunition.

The official death toll of the incident was 379, although unofficial estimates suggest that the number could have been much higher. The order to General Dyer to take action against the protesters was given by Michael O’Dwyer, the then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. O’Dwyer believed that a show of force was necessary to quell the growing unrest in the region.

The incident immediately gained criticism both in India and internationally. General Dyer was removed from his position immediately. But the incident led to a wave of protests and civil unrest across the country. The Indian National Congress, which had been advocating for independence from British rule, launched a non-cooperation movement in response to the massacre.

The incident also had a significant impact on the literary and cultural scene in India. Rabindranath Tagore, who had been awarded a knighthood by the British government in 1915, was deeply disturbed by the incident. He renounced his knighthood as a protest against the massacre and the British government’s policies in India. In his letter to the Viceroy of India, Tagore wrote, “The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in their incongruous context of humiliation.”

Later O’Dwyer, was shot dead at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society (now Royal Society for Asian Affairs) in Caxton Hall in Westminster, London, on 13 March 1940, by Indian revolutionary, Udham Singh, in retaliation for the massacre in Amritsar.

Old Bet in America

The next event I share with you is on a lighter side of life. Do you know no Elephants were found in America before the 13th of April, 1796? Yes, this is the day when the first (or second) elephant arrived in the United States from India. The elephant was a female named “Old Bet,” and she was brought over by a businessman named Jacob Crowninshield. Crowninshield had purchased the elephant in Calcutta and decided to bring her back to America to exhibit her as a curiosity.

The arrival of Old Bet caused quite a sensation in the United States, as most Americans had never seen an elephant before. Crowds flocked to see the animal, and she became a popular attraction in towns and cities across the country. Old Bet was exhibited in circuses, parades, and fairs, and even appeared in several paintings and prints.

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Old Bet’s arrival in the United States also marked the beginning of a long and storied history of elephants in America. Over the next two centuries, elephants would become a common sight in circuses and zoos, and would also be used for transportation, logging, and even as military animals.

However, it’s important to note that the use of elephants for entertainment and labor has become increasingly controversial in recent years, as concerns about animal welfare and conservation have come to the forefront. While the arrival of Old Bet may have been a fascinating moment in American history, it’s also a reminder of the complex relationship between humans and animals, and the ethical questions that arise from our use of them.

That’s all for the day friends, but before I bid goodbye join me in paying our respect to Manveen Sandhu on her birth anniversarySandhu was a Punjabi Indian artist, educationist, culture promoter, and a peace activist. She was the creator and director of Punarjyot, an NGO focused on the preservation and promotion of Punjabi heritage.


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