Devanand held his father’s hand tightly. He was determined to rid his country of the Britishers. He hated them from the bottom of his heart. Just who did they think they were? When his father read him the latest news, Devanand would start screaming and shouting. “I’ll kill them,” he’d say, tears forming in his eyes. “I’ll kill them all. One by one. I’ll choke them all to death.”
His father would then look at him sternly. “Remember what Bapu said?” Jeetendra would say. “No violence, child. If we fight without violence, we will win for sure.”
“How can we fight if we can’t hit each other?” Devanand asked.
Jeetendra thought for a moment. Should he take him? Was it safe? “You know what, child? If I’m not mistaken, there’s a non-violent fight happening at the Bagh today. Want to go?”
And so, here he was, standing at the entrance to his first peaceful meeting. He had heard of the circumstances that led to this meeting – the arrest of Dr Satya Pal. His father looked down at him and smiled. “This,” he said, “is how to fight without hitting each other.” and together, they walked into the Jallianwala Bagh.
After a good number of people had assembled, an old man climbed onto a platform created around a tree. He raised a hand, and after a few moments silence filled the Bagh. “Indians! Brothers, sisters! We are gathered here, as you all know, to protest against the inhuman treatment of our leaders by the hands of our rulers. It is really getting out of hand, and now, we of Amritsar must act on the words of Bapu. We must fight for our leaders! Say it with me! Inquilab Zinda-”
There was suddenly a loud bang that resonated throughout the Bagh, and the old man was thrown against the tree, where he slumped to the ground, his eyes in utter shock, and his face red with blood. That’s when the peaceful protesters that assembled at the Jallianwala Bagh heard the rest of the bangs. There were yells of pain and shouts of alarm. The protesters ran for their lives, hiding behind the tree, scurrying to find exits, but there was only one, and General Dyer and his men had covered it. They were shooting mercilessly at the Indians, killing everyone. Devanand clung to his father’s side as Jeetendra dashed through the people. Understanding that there was no escape, he faced the truth. He looked into the frightened eyes of his son, seeing a wet patch on his face and his crotch. “Listen to me, Dev.” he said, “I want you to yell with me, O.K.?” He then looked up at the army of white-clad, inhuman, merciless, unloving machines. He looked straight at them and caught one soldier’s eye. “INQUILAB ZINDABAAD!” He yelled as he saw the flash of light. He let go of his son as a sharp pain flashed through his body for a full second, and then crashed to the ground.
Devanand yelled, “INQUILAB ZINDABAAD!” and heard the flash that killed his father. As his father fell to the ground, he realized the truth and stopped crying. He looked into the open eyes of his dead father amidst shouts of “Inquilab zindabaad” and stood up amidst all the gun fire as a man fell to the ground next to him, and blood splashed over his face. He just stood there, waiting to see if they had the audacity to kill a –
Devanand felt a sharp jolt of pain and fell to the ground as the bullet ripped through his skin, tearing any hope anyone had of the British being able to rule over the Indians. He fell to the ground with not only men, but women, and children too. All of India would grow to remember that day. The day of the final insult. The day of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.