Mahatma Gandhi supported British in the World War I and even went to the extent of recruiting strong Indian men for them, Mahatma thought, for supporting, British would give Independence or at-least Home Rule. While all of the other Indian leaders were opposed to it, including Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Same thing happened what everyone feared.
But after the end of war they broke their promise, neither Independence nor Home Rule was sanctioned to Indians. Instead they introduced a Rowlatt Act. Mahatma felt betrayed by British. So he wanted to address a congress sponsored meeting towards Independence movement at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, beside the Golden Temple. It was a Baisakhi day, one of the most religious festivals of Sikhs , on April 13, 1919.
But on way Gandhi was taken out of train before reaching Amritsar, arrested and taken to Bombay.
Here is what happened then:
Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer entered the city with his troops along with him was the Amritsar town “crier.” He was shouting Dyers order in Hindi and Punjabi, English and Urdu.
Despite of his orders, people started strikes and protests, this angered Dyer, as the people started “deliberate violation” of his orders and Dyer went to Jallianwala Bagh with his troops where thousands of citizens had gathered to protest against Rowlatt Act.
Interesting thing to note here was with Dyer there were only four British officers, no white soldiers.
Dyer ordered the soldiers to fire for ten minutes and to keep shooting unless everyone was dead.
Dyer and his troops went back after 10 minutes of shooting at Jallianwala Bagh. But those 10 mins of shooting left more than 1000 people dead and around 2000 injured with bullets.
It was all torturous. It was blood flood everywhere, some evidences were recorded where people said that even those who were lying down were shot. Some had their head cut open, others had eyes shot and nose, chest, arms, legs. Some witnesses said that they sat all night crying for help and assistance, but all they could do was see their near and dear ones die.
I can’t imagine how awful the whole thing was. I can’t imagine what it felt like to those people. When I first read about it, I literally had tears in my eyes.
Another sad thing was Mahatma didn’t come to know about this for atleast 2 months. British tried to hide this. But as the news of worst ever British despotism broke out strikes, protests started all over India. The pain that people of Amritsar faced was realized by every Indian, this incident united Indians as never before and after. Jallianwala Bagh and its aftermath solidified national support for Indian independence. Tagoreji returned his knighthood given by British, Mahatma returned a medal he received by the British. Mohammed Ali Jinnah gave up from the imperial legislature. Motilal Nehru burnt all the English Suits he had and started wearing Khadi clothes.
And thus, the brave Sardars, that they are, became the reason for quicker Independence in India. Long live their bravery.
More details here Jallianwala Bagh massacre.