Indian diplomat Navdeep Suri speaking to ANI on Saturday. (Photo/ANI)
Indian diplomat Navdeep Suri speaking to ANI on Saturday. (Photo/ANI)

English translation of 'Khuni Vaishakhi' released to mark Jalianwala Bagh massacre centenary

ANI | Updated: Apr 13, 2019 23:38 IST

New Delhi, April 13 (ANI):  To commemorate the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Nanak Singh’s lost manuscript, 'Khooni Vaisakhi', translated for the first time into English by the author’s grandson Navdeep Suri was released in capital New Delhi on Saturday.
On being asked if the UK govt should apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre the Indian diplomat Suri said: "This is something that they would probably want to do for their own sake, not so much to assuage Indian opinion."
“I am sure when they are good and ready they will recognize that this is something that they would probably want to do for their own sake, not so much to assuage Indian opinion,” said Suri while speaking to ANI.
British Prime Minister Theresa May had recently said that the United Kingdom "deeply regrets" the 1919 massacre and called it a "shameful scar" on the British-Indian history.
"The tragedy of Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919 is a shameful scar on the British-Indian history. As her Majesty, the Queen said before visiting Jallianwala Bagh 1997, it is a distressing example of our past history with India. We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused," May had said at the British Parliament earlier this week.
Indian Diplomat Suri translated the book 'Khooni Baisakhi' which his grandfather, a survivor of the bloodshed, wrote in 1920. Suri’s grandfather Nanak Singh had gone to Jallianwala Bagh with two of his friends but returned alone as the friends fell to the bullets and the ensuing stampede. He lived on to pour his heart out in the form of “Khooni Baisakhi”
The book, featuring essays by Navdeep Suri, HS Bhatia and by Justin Rowalatt, whose great-grandfather, Sir Sydney Arthur Taylor Rowlatt, who drafted the Rowlatt Act, which was being protested in Jalianwala Bagh, has been published by Harper Collins India. 
22-years-old at that time, the renowned Punjabi writer Nanak Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on 13 April 1919 and first hand witness to the barbaric act by the British.
After going through the traumatic experience, he proceeded to write 'Khooni Vaisakhi', a long poem that narrates the political events in the run up to the massacre and its immediate aftermath.
The book was launched by current Union Minister of State with Independent Charge in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, who said that the Indian populace deserved closure for the barbaric act carried out by the then British government.
“Anybody who’s human and who believes in civilizational values, this was an atrocity committed on innocent civilians one hundred year ago. We should try and get closure on this. By closure, it should be acknowledged that there was a mistake made by somebody, there should be an expression of apology, of regret. More than regret, apology. It’s not something that happened, somebody took that decision,” Hardeep Singh Puri told ANI. 
The Indian ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Suri said that the massacre should not and cannot be forgotten. “The tragedy of Jalianwala Bagh should not and cannot be forgotten. It is a lesson to us that people died and so many of them gave up so much for the sake of our freedom. It is an opportunity for us to to also remember that it isn’t just those who died, but people like my grandfather Nanak Singh ji, who wrote about the atrocities that were being committed on the people of India. We have to keep that message alive that we should not accept that kind of oppression and we have to fight against it,” he said.  
Former Indian Ambassador to the United States, Navtej Singh Sarna said, “It’s a long, important, valid poem on the Jalianwala Bagh massacre by a person who was actually present there. And not only that, he went on to become the father of Punjabi novel. He was the first major novelist in Punjabi language. So, I think it’s a very important poem from that point of view. It’s full of historical details. It’s very vivid. It captures the emotions, the pain and the grief of the people. It captures the brutality of the massacre. I’m glad that today it is being taken to a wider audience.
On April 13, 1919, some 50 British Indian army soldiers began shooting at unarmed civilians who were taking part in a peaceful protest against oppressive laws enforced in the Punjab region.
The crowd had assembled peacefully at the venue to condemn the arrest of two national leaders -- Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew -- when they were fired at indiscriminately by General Dyer and his men.
According to British government records, 379 people including men, women, and children were killed while 1,200 were wounded in the firing. Other sources place the number of dead at well over 1,000. (ANI)