We have all read about this dark day in our history books. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 13, 1919 saw a lot of innocent lives being lost. People were crushed as they scrambled to evade the bullets of the British army and it was all made worse by the narrow alley which offered the only exit. The exact numbers of casualties of that day are still a speculation at best.
We visited the Golden Temple and planned to visit the Wagah Border. The one place in Amritsar I really wanted to visit was the Jallianwala Bagh memorial. Can a place have a bad vibe even after almost 100 years?
As I entered the place via the small alley or passage, I could imagine the helpless cries of the people who lost their lives on that fateful day.
There is a flame which burns eternally in memory of the martyrs. The whole area is like a garden or park, and it seems like a benign façade hiding a cruel reality. People were strolling about, some old men were sitting on benches chatting, mothers were feeding crying kids, there were some food wrappers lying about – everything seemed so normal.
If I didn’t know where I was, the place would seem like just any regular park. I wanted to hold on to that illusion and not think about the violence and bloodshed that had occurred there, if only for a moment.
We rarely take a moment to think of the thousands who gave their lives so we could be born in a free country. But it is places like these that force us to pause and devote a moment to these hapless souls.
When you are in Amritsar, don’t forget to visit this shrine to our martyrs.