Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in the Punjab region of India in 1919

With reference to the appalling massacre in Amritsar, I have recently been given a book about the Raj, and there is an account of the reasons for the massacre. Brigadier General Dyer had just dealt with a dangerous situation where 100 British women and children were in danger of being attacked by a mob. His reaction was in connection with that.

I had known the two Dyer sons when we were young children playing together when we lived in New Delhi. It was a long time ago (I am 92 now), but I recall that the boys always seemed troubled. – Yours, etc,

Maeve Davison,
County Wexford

Irish Times Letters

Mrs Maeve Davison references a book she read about the massacre at Amritsar which suggests the cause of the atrocity might be connected to Brig Gen Dyer having dealt with a dangerous situation where 100 British women and children were in danger of being attacked by a mob. That was not a reason, that was an excuse.

The very same propaganda was propagated all around the British empire whenever British colonial atrocities occurred, including Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 and Ballymurphy in 1971.

The events at Amritsar whereby British Indian troops slaughtered hundreds of Indian civilians, reflected the ultimate success of British colonialists in India in that the colonised not alone defended the coloniser but denigrated the colonised. – Yours, etc,

Tom Cooper,
Templeogue, Dublin 6w

Irish Times Letters

AR writes:

Anything good in the Irish Times letters page? Only Chris De Burgh’s mother (top) excusing the massacre at Amritsar, during which British soldiers opened fire on a peaceful protest in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab in April 1919, killing anywhere between 400 and 1,600 innocent civilians. Subject to subsequent ‘correction’, as you’d expect, from a Tom Cooper from Templeogue (above)…


Amritsar Massacre?

Pic: Nehru Memorial Museum

15 thoughts on “Fire At Will

    1. Brother Barnabas


      michael o’dwyer (who was irish) was the lieutenant governor of punjab at the time. it was his decision to expel two prominent indian nationalists from amritsar. that’s what sparked off the protests.

      it was edward dyer, who was brigadier-general at the time, who gave the direct order to open fire at the crowd – it wasn’t self-defense as memos were subsequently released showing that there had been a decision to take the first opportunity to “demonstrate our strength and authority” – so to an extent, it was premeditated

      o’dwyer was assassinated because of his initial support of dyer’s action (although he had later withdrawn that support)

      1. Nigel

        An English missionary was assaulted (and rescued from the assault by locals) during the unrest, and this was used as a pretext for the massacre. Dyer later declared the spot where she was assaulted a sacred spot, and for about a week anyone who wanted to use the street had to crawl on their bellies.

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    Arrah Maeve. She read one book which was pro-British account of the Raj. Let’s just leave her in an unchallenged bliss of justified massacres and granddaughters completing mini-marathons.

  2. scottser

    i was looking to see whether mark dalton, the ex-kildare county councillor got sentenced for fraud and theft there the other day. so as i googled, there was an article about his mammy who, a few years ago, got a hefty slap on the wrist for claiming her folks pension 15 years after their death.
    dodgy ma’s , wha?

  3. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    I love aul wans who tell everyone how old they are, waiting for congratulations. Nobody give a fupp, Grandma. Back to yer knitting and Werther’s Originals.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Ha, yes! They’re like kids when they do that. Married couples do it on their wedding anniversary – as if anyone gives a flying fupp how long they’ve been shacked up together.

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