October 18, 2021

A MARTYR’S WELL, WALLS WITH BULLET MARKS – EXPLORING HISTORY ON AMRITSAR

A city which is famous for two shoot outs situated close to each other at a throw away distance with historical importance happened decades apart is what Amritsar is famous for. One is Jalian Wala Bagh, the name itself enough to remind the brutal killing of Indians mercilessly by British Army prior to Independence and the second one is Golden Temple where another commando operation was held out to eliminate some Sikh terrorists by Indian Army post Independence. If the visit to Jalian Wala Bagh boils your blood for the many lives lost there for a patriotic cause but on contrary a visit to Golden Temple is nothing to do with any such feelings or thoughts instead you will be mesmerized by a truly divine world.

Apart from these two places, the prospect of visiting Wagah border was made this a must visit place while in Delhi and as usual booking for a ticket for this overnight journey didn’t been a big task through some mobile application and on a weekend morning I found myself to be in a Punjab bus stand even before the sun is about to start its journey from horizon.

The hotel booked for staying a night was not that far away and an hour of sleep in the comfort of room was a luxury which didn’t expected for to get a relief from the tiresome boring bus journey and made the day a fresh start. A Punjabi breakfast was the first thing before ventured out to explore Jalian Wala Bagh memorial which is one of the most important place as far as Freedom movement is concerned.

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A place where cold blooded murder has unleashed on ill fated Indians in broad day light by British Indian soldiers.

The place also now known as “The Flame of Liberty” and is maintained by preserving every possible detail left behind after that calculated and well planned assault very carefully so that everyone who visits this place will get a chance to see how cruel the freedom struggle and the days prior to it were. A memorial stone is also installed in front of the memorial inscribed with all the details.

Jalian Wala Bagh was a vast public place then with an area around 6 acres, enclosed all around leaving one main exit and few small openings. A number of peoples from many communities like Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims were gathered on a fine morning on the day of Baisakhi, one of Punjab’s largest religious festivals similar to Pongal and Vishu of South. These people happened to join with some Non – Violent Sikh locals protesting against the decision by the British authorities to deport two Sikh leaders when Colonel Dyer has ordered to shoot on these crowds by closing all the exit points as they were angered with the way Indians were shown the courage to oppose some royal decisions.

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Though we will never be able to know the extent of causality due to the fact that the available reports were  contradictory and not matching with each other in different articles but it is believed that more than thousand people were murdered and injured people’s number might be much more than this too.

History is re-lived here in the exact place where many people had lost their lives, through a number of bullet marks specifically marked in a square on the brick walls, through a ‘well’ which is later named as Martyr’s well where many people fell or jumped while they runaway to save their life from bullets.

Bullet marks or precisely the deep impressions where the bullet stroked on the red brick walls as they might had fired without any particular aim among the crowd of approximately between 15000 to 20000 numbers as per the record is still conserved within white square marked on the wall. Literally scared at the thought when it read that 1650 rounds were fired continuously on innocent people without any warnings that too after closing all the available exit points.

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Many pictures showing the gravity of events to demonstrate the extent of brutality were displayed in Gallery. A light and sound show with the voice of bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachan is also arranged. An Amar Jyot, a flame that would never cease is also made in a specially decorated place to respect the sacrifice of many lives lost in the unfortunate event.

Not much time was required to complete the visit here and unlike other tourist spots this place was given some pain somewhere in the deepest corner of the heart looking at the different locations before we were out on the busy streets from another building as the exit point which contains many photographs, news articles and reports published on the following days after the incident.  

The next visit within the city was another temple known as Durgiana Tirath. The Golden Temple is the most important attraction in Amritsar without any doubt, but when people will enter inside the main gate of this Durgiana temple, they will also wonder is it Amritsar special that devotional places are constructed within a lake and in Golden shade. This temple too is constructed in a huge water body with a bridge to reach the temple. The golden dome and white marble resembles to the style used in Golden Temple.  

Another temple with a surprise element to many visitors most probably was Mata Lal Devi Temple situated very close to Durgiana Tirath. This was a place with less divinity but more fun. As there is saying that India has 330 million Gods, this temple looks like they were having a plan to install as many as possible.

The entrance and immediate inside looks like any ordinary temple across many places in India and a small entrance on the left side where the concept starts changing. It consists of a long corridor which seems like never ending one that visitors need to walk through and the different locations were containing many features with variety of hidden amazement. Deities of a number of Gods were lined along, some places the whole area arranged with mirrors. Replicas of caves and streams were beautifully made and arranged in between, and in some other spots one need to crawl or bend or jump in order to move. Some spots were made to look like entering through the mouth of a wild animal. A cave that resembles like the famous Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu Kashmir is also made on the way. By the time I was out on the street it was time for lunch after which the program for Wagah border was fixed. 

I wish it was lucky if there was a chance to witness some Bhangra music and dance that the Punjab and Punjabi’s are famous for, but sadly it never materialized. But spending few hours in Punjab with a visit to all these places, The Golden Temple and Wagah Border in addition to getting a taste of a local flavor mingling with a society that shows a bundle of energy and happiness every time was some moments that was not easy to forget which made this trip worth too

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