First task for newlyweds: Bowing before Jallianwala Bagh - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

First task for newlyweds: Bowing before Jallianwala Bagh


First task for newlyweds: Bowing before Jallianwala Bagh

Vishav Bharti
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 8

Six decades back, when Satpal Sharma and Krishna Devi got married, the first thing the elders of the family did was to take them to Jallianwala Bagh and make both bow before the well. It was only then that the newlyweds visited Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir.

The ritual had been observed during his father’s wedding and then in the case of his children, too, for it was here that his grandfather ‘Shaheed’ Amin Chand was martyred on April 13, 1919.

Amin Chand hailed from Muradpura Haqima Wala, a village near Amritsar inhabited in the 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s physicians. Amin Chand also learnt the skill at an early age. He eventually left the village and rented a one-room house in Amritsar’s Chowk Passian and started his practice. Soon, his room was frequented by freedom fighters.

Back in the village, his wife passed away, leaving behind five children. But Amin Chand asked his parents to take care of them as he was ‘busy’ in some important work.

He became active in the Congress’ rural unit and a few days before the April 13 ‘jalsa’, he was seen beating canisters with the famous slogan against the Rowlatt Act: ‘No Daleel! No Appeal! No Vakeel!’

On April 13, as a mark of protest, Amin Chand was decked up in ‘maatmi libaas’ (black achkan and churidar pyjama and a white turban), but when he spotted his two young sons and a nephew walking down to his room, he was a little worried. They had come all the way from the village to see the Baisakhi mela.

“My father used to tell us that first he shouted at them and then offered them some sweets from a nearby shop, and instructed: ‘Tusi mithai vi kha li hai, hun vapis pind chale jao. Eithe khatra hai’,” recalls Amin Chand’s grandson Satpal Sharma, 84, a retired headmaster.

The three started back for the village but Amin Chand’s youngest son Lal Chand, who was just 10, insisted on staying back. “My father used to tell us that on their way back, he and his cousin heard continuous gunshots and ran to the village.”

A day after the tragedy, relatives from his village came to Amritsar to look for them and found Amin Chand’s bullet-riddled body. It was not possible to take the mortal remains to the village. The British record of the time also states that Amin Chand’s body was “disposed of in the Lal Chand was found unconscious in the Bagh the following day. The story goes that Amin Chand was at the forefront of the resistance and was near the stage when the firing started.

However, the real catastrophe had struck the family in Muradpura as he had left behind five orphans. “The grownups were pushed into menial jobs; the younger ones were either taken by nankas or stayed back with their dada-dadi in the village,” says Satpal Sharma.

Two years later, after the Hunter Commission report, compensation was offered to the families of the martyrs. Amin Chand’s family had responded with the famous slogan of the time: “Goli da paisa ni laina, azaadi laini hai.”

Among his five children, only Satpal Sharma’s father Gokal Chand managed to study.

Satpal Sharma wonders had blood not spilled in Jallianwala Bagh, freedom might have come much later. Udham Singh and Bhagat Singh were also inspired by that event, he says, and plunges into deep thought. After a long pause, he adds, “But what kind of freedom did we win? It took 90 years to recognise Shaheed Amin Chand as a freedom fighter.”

The government owes an answer to Satpal Sharma.

Tomorrow

‘Quiet has since prevailed,’ British mouthpiece reported

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