Dr. Rajat Mitra wrote a brilliant article with the title, “Jallianwala Bagh – Why Indians fired on Indians,” I am adding my notes that challenge Indian attitudes. Send a white man to an Indian restaurant and let him record with a camera how he is greeted, then you go and do the same thing and see if are treated the same, they consider you to be inferior to the white man!
I hope it is not you, but Indians have a problem respecting fellow Indians as equals, in fact, in a pew survey, India ranked as one of the most racist nations, look how we treat our Dalits, Muslims, Christians, and others. We are the same race, but the attitude of superiority towards others stinks. As Americans, we need to treat all fellow humans equally in our heart mind and soul and become imbibe positive American values of equality, liberty, and justice for all.
In 1852, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India wrote Queen Victoria something like this.” The Hindus and Muslims have done it again, they have built Ram Chabootra to sit down and discuss things, I am afraid, this is the beginning of the end to British Empire.” Then he recommended placing a wedge between the smart Indians. They failed their first attempt in 1857, and the good Indians came together to fight against usage of fat from pork and the beef. They did not stop at it and seeded the discord with 1871 census. That seed is still alive in men like Rajiv Malhotra, an Indian American, who makes his money by frightening Hindus that Hinduism is in danger. Hinduism does not need these fake defenders of religion, Hinduism is a 5000-year-old robust religion, and no one needs to defend it, it’s good enough to stand on its own.
The partition of India was an unfortunate incident in our history, but our reaction to it is uglier than the action itself. It is time we accept the reality and live with it. What’s the point in blaming the dead men? We constantly hurl insults at Indian Muslims who have nothing to do with the partition, nor did they vote for it. Now, our politicians make an ass of a lot of Indians who think they will have a job if they hate Muslims, food will magically appear on their plates if they lynch Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Sikhs, and others. How stupid can one be?
We need to vote in a leader who makes sure, the rule of law prevails, and does not sit on his ass without speaking. A safe India is built when you are not scared to walk on any inch of Indian soil, if you are afraid to walk, then you don’t need leaders like that. Your safety hinges on making sure all are secure; you will never be safe if others around are not.
It is time for the wise among us to talk sense to these politicians. If you are an Indian ( most of us are good people, it takes a few to poison us all) who thinks the Indians who are not Hindus should not have the right, then look in your dirty pants how ugly you are and how you want all the benefits America offers. You want to have all the benefits shamelessly in America, but deny the same to Indians who are Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and others. Indian Muslims must be lauded; they have taken much shit from the extremists among Hindus, yet, they have endured the pain without retaliating.
Injustice will not last long; it will give “pleasure” for a few years but will pay a high price at the end. Prejudice is bad karma, and everyone will pay for it.
I sincerely hope we will have a divided government by May 19th with strong opposition so that no leader can do his mun-mani, that is run the nation on his whims. If democracy is saved, India has a lot to gain in stability and will earn the trust of the community of nations. More than anything, you can feel safe to go anywhere in India.
Brilliant Article, explains why ‘some’ Indians are obedient slaves and have no qualms in doing wrong things. One more item, the author could have added, was Indian soldiers felt superior working for the Sahebs, that is not the problem, but they looked down upon other Indians as inferior people. The ugly caste system also treats Dalits as inferior humans, the law prohibits such treatment, but the practice continues, as the African Americans are discriminated in the United States, despite the laws. At least in the US laws are enforced.
Note: India’s right-leaning men cannot stomach criticism of the Modi government, but the hypocrites bash the Congress government. The true patriotic Indians criticize both the governments to keep them on their toes.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Acting Brig-Gen Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Indians, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. The civilians had assembled for a peaceful protest to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal, and Saifuddin Kitchlew.
The Jallianwalla Bagh is a public garden of 6 to 7 acres (2.8 ha), walled on all sides, with five entrances.
On Sunday, 13 April 1919, Dyer was convinced of a major insurrection and he banned all meetings; however, this notice was not widely disseminated. That was the day of Baisakhi, the main Sikh festival, and many villagers had gathered in the Bagh. On hearing that a meeting had assembled at Jallianwala Bagh, Dyer went with Gurkha troops from the 2nd/9th Gurkha Rifles. Dyer’s force entered the garden, blocking the main entrance after them, took up position on a raised bank, and on Dyer’s orders fired on the crowd for about ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to flee, until the ammunition supply was almost exhausted. The following day Dyer stated in a Report to the General Officer Commanding that “I hear that between 200 and 300 of the crowd were killed. My party fired 1,650 rounds. More at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre
Mike Ghouse is a pluralist, newsmaker, and author committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His latest book American Muslim Agenda just does that. The talking points of the book are at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com
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Jallianwala Bagh – Why Indians fired on Indians
by Dr. Rajat Mitra
I lived in Hong Kong for some years. One of the facts I observed was that Hong Kongers, by and large, do not like Indians and many of them even hate us. Whether an Indian goes on to look for a home or on the streets to buy groceries, the feeling is palpable. Many Indians I talked to said they feel it rather strongly. I had asked several people but got no satisfactory answer.
Finally, I asked a local friend about the reason. He was a historian at one of Hong Kong’s University. At first, he tried to deny that this exists but then later said the roots of it are historical. “Do you know,” he said, “the British came to Hong Kong in 1841 and when they tried to build the first police force with the help of locals, they realized that the loyalty of the locals cannot be trusted to follow their orders or shoot and kill if their fellow brethren revolted or were a rebellion. But they realized they didn’t have the same experience in India. So they brought the Indians. The first batch of Indians who came brutalized and tortured the people here. The memory still lives in the mind of every person here and we haven’t forgiven you for it and will never do,” he said in a deeply emotional voice. “You Indians followed orders and didn’t show any mercy towards us which we expected you would do.”
I could only apologize to him and said it was an injustice. But what he had said left me perturbed. In social sciences ‘the other’ is a term that denotes how human beings divide, create walls with other groups whom they perceive as not similar to them and even inferior. For the American ‘the other’ is everyone who is outside America. For the British everyone who is not White and outside the country is ‘the other’. For the man from Pakistan, it has become the Indian. Same can be said of the Chinese. But the curious thing for Indians is that for many an Indians ‘the other’ is not an outsider but another Indian only with whom his deepest chasm lies. He is someone whom we make into an enemy.
“You Indians, you have done it with your own people, like in Jallianwala Bagh. That is how the British controlled your nation for two centuries, isn’t it?” The historian’s words have stayed with me since then.
In one of his books, Amitav Ghosh, the author, writes that the British believed that the Indians can always be relied upon to ruthlessly put down anyone whether their own in India or anywhere else on their orders, something they could never imagine doing with anyone else. Would a Japanese be ever trusted to fire on its own people on the orders of a foreign General? Would a Chinese army have done so when asked? I believe the answer is a big no.
As one ex-General from the former British Indian army said, “The British were masters in making the Indian people believe that they were fighting on the side of the truth and so when the Indians fought a fellow Indian they saw him as evil and felt little or no guilt killing him.”
Is that why even today we are deeply divided, can torture a fellow Indian and feel little empathy, even shoot at him or beat him to death?
Why did we Indians create ‘the other’ amongst each other and not outside as other nations do?
Once, a British historian, on the mention of Jallianwala Bagh, said that a British police force or army would never shoot at its own people if asked to do so.
Why did we Indians do it then? I believe it is worth finding an answer to this dilemma.
Why didn’t the police force refuse to follow Michael Dyer’s orders and not shoot at their own people? This maybe is one of the most poignant and perplexing questions in understanding why the British could rule India.
Has the notion of ‘the other’ as one we can hate and eliminate always existed amongst us in our history and as one that the British only perfected when they came in contact with us? I wish to ask this on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh if we as a society created a gap within that can cause fissures and we can again be ordered into maniacal behavior on the orders of a white man or woman.
Did we carry our philosophy of ‘vasudeva kutumbakam’ too far and become like the subjects in Milgram’s experiment?
Jallianwala Bagh to me appears to be not the action of a deranged, crazy lunatic General but of a psychopath who knew this weakness of Indians only too well, who understood this mindset in us. He knew that when ordered to fire, the men wouldn’t stop because the cries of their own countrymen would have no effect on them. This philosophy, sick and dangerous, may need to be addressed and understood that may lead us to kill each other or destroy. Will it ever lead us to become a united cohesive nation and not hold us back?
Creating ‘the other’ and making him into an enemy is dehumanizing which has just not only been symbolic, making us slaves but also making us lose what is the most precious, our freedom. It delineated us from the power that rightfully belonged to us as a nation.
Last year we visited the Jallianwala Bagh. There were hundreds of people laughing, talking and taking pictures. No single face looked solemn. Only some seemed curious looking at the Well or the Bullet marks on the wall. Where does this detachment from our history come from?
Slavery dehumanized us Indians. As we know from history, no group cedes its privileges over others out of altruism but is forced to do so when the privileges they enjoy begin to threaten their survival. Gandhi could never do that to the British. Only once during the INA Trials and the Naval Revolt, it happened when the idea of one Indian being separate from ‘the other’ got erased terrifying the British into thinking it might bring their annihilation in India.
Will the present generation erase this blot? In it perhaps lies the safety that will make our future generations safe from the contradictions that pushed our ancestors into slavery and annihilating each other.
Psychologist and Author of ‘The Infidel Next Door.
Also read: Patriotism of Hate between Nuclear rivals by Dr. Tarunjit Butalia