British Asia News Network
London, April 1: Historical Novel honours the victims of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and revolutionary spirit of Udham Singh.
- The 100th anniversary of the Amritsar massacre falls on 13th April 2019.
- The centenary is marked with a special commemorative book collated with research from archives and interviews with descendants of those who experienced the massacre and period of martial law.
British Indian Author Saurav Dutt has released a historical novel to re-examine the brutal massacre that eventually brought about the end of the British empire.
This is a historical novel collated through research from the Partition Museum (set up by The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust), Amritsar, India and from interviews of descendants whose ancestors lived through the era of the original massacre. The book ‘Garden of Bullets: Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh’ coincides with the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on 13 April 2019.
Revisiting the event, its causes and aftermath, the nuanced book explores what we remember, how we remember it, and what we have forgotten, in India and the UK. Garden of Bullets: Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh explores the causes for the unrest in the Punjab before, during and after the events which took place on 13 April 1919 when British troops opened fire on peaceful Indian protestors. Protestors had gathered to challenge British rule before they were set upon by Colonel Reginald Dyer and his troops. Confined within an enclosed area of wasteland called Jallianwala Bagh in the Indian city of Amritsar, hundreds of Indians were killed and thousands injured. This was a defining moment in the fight for Indian independence, inspired by the Satyagraha movement (non-violent conflict) led by Mahatma Gandhi and the eventual demise of the British Empire in South Asia. The book raises awareness of the peaceful protest and direct action, martial law, the divergent British and Indian inquiry findings, and the ongoing social, political, and cultural response.
Author Dutt, who has publicly campaigned for a formal apology from the British government for an apology for the atrocity, is using the book to take a lead on addressing the need for a Global South perspective on the use of violence by British forces against peaceful protestors and its legacy. Dutt says "This dark era marked the turning point of British imperialism in the Indian subcontinent. It was the defining moment when the veil was lifted across the Global South, when the Indian populace and the world realised that this colonial project was not benign, not a force for good nor one that believed in justice and fair play; instead it revealed their rapacious, racist and ruthless spirit in its unholy glory. It was an event of ghastly barbarity and bloodletting, punctuated by the unethical and unjust response that followed in its wake. Never again would India take the British empire at its word and instead the massacre gave its revolutionary movements and fight for self-determination a momentum and direction that it had been hitherto lacking; it took the blood of hundreds of innocent men, women and children to make that happen.”
Based on two years of research, Garden of Bullets: Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh explores important issues of social political and cultural debate providing historical context and looking at narratives around Empire and the Raj, focusing on the Jallianwala massacre itself and exploring the impact and legacies of the massacre referencing India's freedom struggle.
Garden of Bullets: Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh is on release this week through R3M Productions, available in paperback and Ebook formats, through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and all good bookstores. It is complemented by a commemorative poem.