Amritsar: It's emotions that pour out of the martyr's well at the Jallianwala Bagh – a remembrance of the British era massacre. "We won't allow losing its identity with this intensive makeover," say kins of those who lost their lives on Baisakhi 1919, as the government takes up renovation of the site.
Stories associated with the Jallianwala Bagh massacre are still fresh in 'our' minds -- these were the emotional outbursts of a handful of local octogenarians who daily visit the 6.5-acre garden site, where on April 13, 1919, Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer of the occupying British forces opened fire on a peaceful congregation on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year.
Located in the vicinity of Golden Temple complex the massacre ignited the first spark of the Indian freedom movement.
Gazing at the ongoing reconstruction through pale eyes, octogenarian Madan Lal Taneja said: "We have lost many of our near and dear ones in this well. They jumped into the well not for saving their lives but for country's dignity."
Taneja's uncle fell into the well after a stampede as General Dyer's armed soldiers marched in and opened fire on the peaceful congregation of men, women and children without any alarm and blcking the only exit.
Taneja, who spent his entire life in the holy city of Amritsar in Punjab, said the martyr's well is a remembrance of that stark reality.
BY VISHAL GULATI