ANSWER: They gathered to protest against the British.
Full Details Of The Event
The peaceful demonstration turned violent when British troops, led by General Reginald Dyer, opened fire on the unarmed crowd, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands more.
This brutal event, known as the Amritsar Massacre, became a turning point in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule.
The Context of the Amritsar Massacre
The Amritsar Massacre took place during a period of heightened tension between Indians and the British colonial government.
India had been under British rule since the mid-18th century, and by the early 20th century, many Indians were becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of political representation and economic opportunities.
In response to these grievances, several Indian leaders had started to advocate for greater autonomy and independence from British rule.
At the same time, the British government was cracking down on Indian nationalist movements, using a variety of repressive tactics such as censorship, arrests, and detention without trial.
In Punjab, where Amritsar is located, the British government had imposed a series of harsh measures, including a ban on public meetings and a curfew.
Against this backdrop, a group of Indian leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, had called for a nationwide strike to protest the British government’s policies.
In Punjab, the strike had led to a series of protests, with thousands of people gathering in public places to express their dissatisfaction with the British government.
The Events of the Amritsar Massacre
On April 13, 1919, a large crowd of Indians had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the British government’s repressive policies.
The crowd included men, women, and children, and many of them had come from neighboring villages to participate in the demonstration.
The protesters had gathered peacefully, listening to speeches and singing patriotic songs.
At around 4:30 pm, a group of British soldiers, led by General Reginald Dyer, arrived at the scene.
Dyer had not been authorized to use force, but he had brought with him a contingent of troops armed with rifles and machine guns.
Without warning, Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on the unarmed crowd, firing continuously for nearly ten minutes.
The shooting was indiscriminate, and many of the bullets hit innocent bystanders who had not been involved in the protest.
Some people were trampled to death in the chaos that ensued, while others jumped into a well in an attempt to escape the bullets.
The final death toll is estimated to be between 379 and 1,000, with thousands more injured.
The Aftermath of the Amritsar Massacre
The Amritsar Massacre caused widespread outrage both in India and around the world. Indian leaders, including Gandhi, condemned the massacre as a barbaric and unjustifiable act of violence.
The British government, meanwhile, defended the actions of General Dyer, arguing that he had acted in self-defense.
In the months following the massacre, there were widespread protests and strikes across India, with many people demanding that the British government grant greater autonomy and independence to India.
The massacre also had a significant impact on the Indian nationalist movement, galvanizing support for the cause of Indian independence and inspiring a new generation of leaders.
In 1920, Gandhi launched the non-cooperation movement, which called for Indians to boycott British goods and institutions and to refuse to pay taxes to the British government.
This movement marked a turning point in India’s struggle for independence and set the stage for future protests and campaigns.
The impact of the Amritsar Massacre
The Amritsar Massacre had a profound impact on India’s struggle for independence.
It exposed the brutal nature of British colonial rule and strengthened the resolve of Indians to fight for their freedom.
The incident was widely reported in the international press, and it led to widespread condemnation of the British government’s actions.
Mahatma Gandhi, who had previously supported the British war effort during World War I, was deeply affected by the massacre and began to advocate for non-violent civil disobedience as a means of challenging British rule.
The Amritsar Massacre also led to a radicalization of the Indian nationalist movement.
Many Indians who had previously believed in peaceful protest now began to support more aggressive tactics.
Some even advocated for armed struggle against the British.
This shift in strategy would play a crucial role in India’s struggle for independence in the years to come.
Indians gathered in Amritsar in 1919 to protest against the British government’s passage of the Rowlatt Act, which gave the British government sweeping powers to arrest and detain Indians without trial.
The peaceful gathering turned into a bloodbath when British troops opened fire on the unarmed crowd, leaving hundreds dead and thousands injured.
Amritsar Massacre had a profound impact on India’s struggle for independence, exposing the brutal nature of British colonial rule and strengthening the resolve of Indians to fight for their freedom.
The incident led to a radicalization of the Indian nationalist movement and marked a turning point in India’s struggle for independence.
The non-cooperation movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 would set the stage for future protests and campaigns, ultimately leading to India’s independence in 1947.