April 13th, 2019 marks 100 years of bloodbath at the Jallianwala Bagh in 1919 which happened to be Vaisakhi, a holy day for Sikhs to commemorate the birth of Khalsa Panth. On that fateful day, thousands of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims gathered at the Bagh, drank water from same glasses and took food together to show exemplary unity and to condemn the draconian Rowlatt Act. The unarmed Indians were fired indiscriminately on the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer towards the densest section of the crowd, 1650 rounds in all, till the point all the ammunition was exhausted.
The bullets and the stampede that followed killed a large number of people, while many among the wounded later succumbed as they were not treated because of the curfew later imposed. The dark memories of the incident is forever etched in the souls of every Indian.
Among the survivors was a 22 year old Nanak Singh who fainted at the site while his body was piled up among the corpses. The incident impacted Singh to an extent that he wrote a long stark poem in 1920 titled Khooni Vaisakhi which narrated the massacre which happened under British Raj. The poem was banned immediately, destroying every copy to curtain their heinous act and subsequently its manuscript was lost.
99 years later, the poem is now reproduced by Nanak Singh’s grandson and Indian diplomate who is India’s High Commissioner to UAE – Navdeep Suri. The family made many vigorous attempts to get at least one copy of the banned book Khooni Vaisakhi when at last a library in England provided a copy to the family. The book translated in English and published by Harper Collins is all set to release on 13th April 2019. Interestingly, the book also includes an essay by Justin Rowlatt, great grandson of Sir Sidney Rowlatt who authored the Rowlatt Act. Produced below are few excerpts from the book.
THE GATHERING IN JALLIANWALA BAGH
As the clock struck five on thirteenth April
They all gather in the Bagh, my friends.
Seeking justice fair and honour, they stand
Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims together, my friends.
Folks young and old, and lads went too
For only a handful had stayed back, my friends.
They went to speak, to share their grief
Place lives at stake without fear, my friends.
Worrying no more about their precious lives
They left this world behind, my friends.
With slender hope of coming back home
Desires and dreams abandoned too, my friends.
With their own blood, they wanted to bloom
The parched soil of the Bagh, my friends.
Like swarms of moths, they gathered around
To be singed by violent flames, my friends.
Fed up with life, they courted death
Forcing Yama to accept their will, my friends.
Like Mansour, who said, ‘I am the Truth!’
When he knew he’d meet the gallows, my friends.
Like Shams Tabrizi, whose quest for God
Ended up in a painful death, my friends.
Like birds from the woods, they flocked together
So the hawk could have his fill, my friends.
To quench Dyer’s deadly thirst
With streams of blood their own, my friends.
Ah! My city mourns with grief today
Happy homes lie shattered because they go.
Heads held high offered for sacrifice
For Bharat Mata’s pride and honour, they go.
Pray, stop these valiant souls of God!
Straight to the abyss, they rise and go.
O mothers, watch your precious sons
To give up their youthful lives, they go.
O sisters, hold back your brothers dear
You won’t see them again once they go.
O wives, hang on to your dear beloveds
Or you’ll spend your lives widowed if they go.
O children, go run and hug your fathers
’Cause you’ll be orphans if they go.
Stop them, hold them, do what you can
They won’t come back, once they go.
Says Nanak Singh, Can’t stop them now
For nation’s sake to die they go.
We, at Reincarnating Raipur, pay our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones. Shown below is the cover of the book Khooni Vaisakhi.
To order, click – https://www.amazon.in/Khooni-Vaisakhi-Poem-Jallianwala-Massacre/dp/9353029384/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=khooni+vaisakhi&qid=1554279594&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell