The events of the Jallianwala Bagh still haunt the consciousness of the whole nation. It was where close to 400 people were massacred by the British army on April 13th, 1919, under the orders of General Dyer. Apart from these 400, close to 1200 people were wounded. Some of them had gathered in the Bagh to protest against the British atrocities while others had simply come to celebrate the festival of Baisakhi. The events that unfolded on this date left a scathing dent on Indians and, in a lot of ways, fuelled the Indian Independence movement.
All this brings me to what the central government has done recently. The significance of the Jallianwala Bagh is to remind people of the heinous atrocities that the British committed against innocents. It’s not a theme park. What the government is doing in the name of ‘renovation’ is hugely problematic and is close to erasing the painful history of Jallianwala Bagh. The place is not meant to be revamped and beautified to attract ‘tourists’.
Reports suggest that the renovation consists of re-building the entrance of the Bagh with murals, covering the ‘Shahidi Khu’ with glass, covering the bullet marks on the wall, removing some victims’ pictures from the wall, etc. Such insensitivity towards the Jallianwala incident is embarrassing.