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Although Queen Elizabeth II had not made any comments on the incident during
her state visits in 1961 and 1983, she spoke about the events at a state banquet in India
on 13 October 1997:
It is no secret that there have been some difficult episodes in our past
cannot be rewritten, however much we might sometimes wish otherwise. It has its
moments of sadness, as well as gladness. We must learn from the sadness and build
on the gladness.
On 14 October 1997, Queen Elizabeth II visited Jallianwala Bagh and paid her
respects with a 30-second moment of silence. During the visit, she wore a dress of a
colour described as pink apricot or saffron, which was of religious significance to the
Sikhs. She removed her shoes while visiting the monument and laid a wreath at the
While some Indians welcomed the expression of regret and sadness in the
Queen's statement, others criticised it for being less than an apology. Prime Minister of
India Inder Kumar Gujral defended the Queen, saying that the Queen herself had not
even been born at the time of the events and should not be required to apologise.
Winston Churchill, on 8 July 1920, urged the House of Commons to punish
Colonel Dyer. Churchill succeeded in persuading the House to forcibly retire Colonel
Dyer, but Churchill would have preferred to see the colonel disciplined.
In February 2013 David Cameron became the first serving British Prime Minister
to visit the site, laid a wreath at the memorial, and described the Amritsar massacre as
"a deeply shameful event in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described
at that time as monstrous. We must never forget what happened here and we must
ensure that the UK stands up for the right of peaceful protests". Cameron did not deliver
an official apology.
1977: A Hindi language motion picture called Jallian Wala Bagh was released.
The film was written, produced and directed by Balraj Tah. Associate producer
was Amarjit Singh Madan. The film is about the life of Udham Singh who
assassinated Michael O'Dwyer in 1940. The film was partly filmed in the UK
notably in Coventry and surrounding areas.
1981: Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children portrays the massacre from
the perspective of a doctor in the crowd, saved from the gunfire by a well-timed
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1982: The massacre is depicted in Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi with the
role of General Dyer played by Edward Fox. The film depicts most of the details
of the massacre as well as the subsequent inquiry by the Montague commission.
1984: The story of the massacre also occurs in the 7th episode of Granada TV's
1984 series The Jewel in the Crown, recounted by the fictional widow of a British
officer who is haunted by the inhumanity of it and who tells how she came to be
reviled because she defied the honours to Dyer and instead donated money to
the Indian victims.
2002: In the Hindi movie The Legend of Bhagat Singh directed by Rajkumar
Santoshi, the massacre is reconstructed with the child Bhagat Singh as a
witness, eventually inspiring him to become a revolutionary in the Indian
2006: Portions of the Hindi movie Rang De Basanti nonlinearly depicts the
massacre and the influence it had on the freedom fighters.
2009: Bali Rai's novel, City of Ghosts, is partly set around the massacre,
blending fact with fiction and magical realism. Dyer, Udham Singh and other real
historical figures feature in the story.
2014: The British period drama Downton Abbey makes a reference to the
massacre in the eighth episode of season 5. The characters of Lord Grantham,
Isobel Crawley and Shrimpy express their disapproval of the massacre when
Susan MacClare and Lord Sinderby support it.
Saka Panja Sahib
A non-violent agitation to assert the right to felling trees for Guru ka Langar from
the land attached to Gurdwara Guru ka Bagh was underway. The first Sikh volunteers
were arrested and tried for trespass, but from 25 August police resorted to beating day
after day the batches of Sikhs that came. eventually the beating stopped and the
procedure of arrests resumed with jail time of about two and a half years and a fine of
one hundred rupees each.
One such train left Amritsar on 29 October 1922 for the Attock Fort which would
touch Hasan Abdal the following morning. The Sikhs of Panja Sahib decided to serve a
meal to the detenues but when they reached the railway station with the food they were
informed by the station master that the train was not scheduled to halt there.
Two of the Sikhs, Bhai Pratap Singh and Bhai Karam Singh who were leading
the sangat went forward as the rumbling sound of the approaching train was heard and
sat crosslegged in the middle of the track. Several others, men and women, followed
suit. The train run over eleven of the squatters before stopping while the Sikhs pleaded
to serve the arrested Sikhs before proceeding. The Sikhs served the Singhs in the train
and then turned to the injured. The worst mauled were Bhai Pratap Singh and Bhai
Karam Singh, who succumbed to their injuries the following day.
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In 1924 A special Jatha of five hundred Akalis approaching Jaito, India is fired
upon by police; two hundred were injured and one hundred attained martyrdom. but the
freedom to hold Akhand Path at Jaito was obtained after one year and ten months.
Sohan Singh Bhakna, Kartar Singh Sarabha, alongside many other Punjabi's
founded the Ghadar party to overthrow British colonial authority in India by means of an
armed revolution. The Ghadar party is closely associated with the Babbar Akali
Movement, a 1921 splinter group of "militant" Sikhs who broke away from the
mainstream non-violent Akali movement.
In 1914 Baba Gurdit Singh led the Komagata Maru ship to the port of Vancouver
with 346 Sikhs on board; forced to leave port on July 23. Bela Singh Jain an informer
and agent of Inspector William Hopkinson, pulled out two guns and started shooting at
the Khalsa Diwan Society Gurdwara Sahib on West 2nd Avenue. He murdered Bhai
Bhag Singh, President of the Society and Battan Singh and Bela Singh was charged
with murder, but Hopkinson decided to appear as a witness in his case and made up
much of his testimony at his trail and subsequently Bela Singh was acquitted. On
October 21, 1914, Bhai Mewa Singh, Granthi of Khalsa Diwan Society shot William
Hopkinson in the Assize court corridor with two revolvers because he believed him to be
unscrupulous and corrupt, using informers to spy on Indian immigrants. Canadian
policeman William Hopkinson shot and killed by Mewa Singh who is later sentenced to
In 1926 Six Babar (literally, lion) revolutionary Akalis, are put to death by
In 1931 Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev are convicted of murder of police
inspector J.P. Saunders and executed; Bhagat Singh is popularly known as Shaheedey
Azam (supreme martyr)
In 1940 Udham Singh, an Indian revolutionary socialist, assassinated Michael
O'Dwyer to avenge justice for the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre when 15,000 to 20,000
people including women, children were shot at after a peaceful protest in Amritsar
Bhagat Puran Singh Pingalwara dedicated his life to the 'selfless service of
humanity'. He founded Pingalwara in 1947 with only a few patients, the neglected and
rejected of the streets of Amritsar. An early advocate of what we today refer to as the
'Green Revolution', Bhagat Puran Singh was spreading awareness about environmental
pollution, and increasing soil erosion long before such ideas became popular.
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The months leading up to the partition of India in 1947, saw heavy conflict in the
Punjab between Sikh and Muslims, which saw the effective religious migration of
Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus from West Punjab which mirrored a similar religious migration
of Punjabi Muslims in East Punjab. The 1960s saw growing animosity and rioting
between Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus in India, as the Punjabi Sikhs agitated for the
creation of a Punjabi Sikh majority state, an undertaking which was promised to the
Sikh leader Master Tara Singh by Nehru in return for Sikh political support during the
negotiations for Indian Independence. Sikhs obtained the Sikh majority state of Punjab
on 1 November 1966.
In 1950 the Sikh Rehat Maryada is published.
In 1962 the Punjabi University is inaugurated at Patiala, India
Communal tensions arose again in the late 1970s, fueled by Sikh claims of
discrimination and marginalization by the secularist dominated Indian National
Congress ruling party and the "dictatorial" tactics adopted the then Indian Prime
Minister, Indira Gandhi. Frank argues that Gandhi's assumption of emergency powers in
1975 resulted in the weakening of the "legitimate and impartial machinery of
government" and her increasing "paranoia" of opposing political groups led her to
instigate a "despotic policy of playing castes, religions and political groups against each
other for political advantage". As a reaction against these actions came the emergence
of the Sikh leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who vocalized Sikh sentiment for
justice. This accelerated Punjab into a state of communal violence. Gandhi's 1984
action to defeat Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale led to desecration of the Golden
Temple in Operation Blue Star and ultimately led to Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh
bodyguards and led to the Sarbat Khalsa advocating the creation of a Sikh homeland,
Khalistan. This resulted in an explosion of violence against the Sikh community in the
Anti Sikh Riots which resulted in the massacre of thousands of Sikhs throughout India;
Khushwant Singh described the actions as being a Sikh pogrom in which he "felt like a
refugee in my country. In fact, I felt like a Jew in Nazi Germany". Since 1984, relations
between Sikhs and Hindus have reached a rapprochement helped by growing economic
prosperity; however in 2002 the claims of the popular right-wing Hindu organization the
RSS, that "Sikhs are Hindus" angered Sikh sensibilities. Many Sikhs still are
campaigning for justice for victims of the violence and the political and economic needs
of the Punjab espoused in the Khalistan movement.
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In 1996 the Special Rapporteur for the Commission on Human Rights on
freedom of religion or belief, Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia, 1993
2004), visited India in
order to compose a report on religious discrimination. In 1997, Amor concluded, "it
appears that the situation of the Sikhs in the religious field is satisfactory, but that
difficulties are arising in the political (foreign interference, terrorism, etc.), economic (in
particular with regard to sharing of water supplies) and even occupational fields.
Information received from nongovernment (sic) sources indicates that discrimination
does exist in certain sectors of the public administration; examples include the decline in
the number of Sikhs in the police force and the absence of Sikhs in personal bodyguard
units since the murder of Indira Gandhi." The reduced intake of the Sikhs in the Indian
armed forces also attributes to following certain orders issued in the Indian Emergency
In 2001, Fauja Singh became to be the world's oldest marathon runner.
On 22 May 2004 Manmohan Singh became the first Sikh to become the Prime
Minister of India.
There were several other kingdoms which ruled over parts of India in the later
medieval period prior to the British occupation. However, most of them were bound to
pay regular tribute to the Marathas. The rule of Wodeyar dynasty which established
the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India in around 1400 CE by was interrupted
by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan in the later half of the 18th century. Under their
rule, Mysore fought a series of wars sometimes against the combined forces of the
British and Marathas, but mostly against the British, with Mysore receiving some aid or
promise of aid from the French.
The Nawabs of Bengal had become the de facto rulers of Bengal following the
decline of Mughal Empire. However, their rule was interrupted by Marathas who
carried six expeditions in Bengal from 1741 to 1748 as a result of which Bengal became
a tributary state of Marathas.
Hyderabad was founded by the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda in 1591.
Following a brief Mughal rule, Asif Jah, a Mughal official, seized control of Hyderabad
and declared himself Nizam-al-Mulk of Hyderabad in 1724. It was ruled by a hereditary
Mysore and Hyderabad
State became princely states in British India in 1799 and 1798 respectively.
After the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, under the terms of the Treaty of Amritsar,
the British government sold Kashmir to Maharaja Gulab Singh and the princely state of
Jammu and Kashmir, the second largest princely state in British India, was created by
the Dogra dynasty.
Around the 18th century, the modern state of Nepal was formed
by Gurkha rulers.
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