1st Edition

Massacre at Amritsar

By Rupert Furneaux Copyright 1963

    First published in 1963, Massacre at Amritsar recreates the terrible scene of the Jallianwala Bagh from the stories of eyewitnesses and survivors. General Dyer’s action at Amritsar on April 13, 1919 flared up into one of the most heated political and moral controversies of 20th century. Was he right in firing without warning on the group which had gathered in defiance of his orders? And in continuing to fire after they had started to disperse? Did he thereby save Punjab from worse bloodshed, and all India, perhaps, from a second Mutiny? Or did he commit a cold-blooded, purposeless massacre, for which no excuse was possible?

    The Army, which had condoned his act on his first explanation, could not stomach his arrogant replies at the enquiry. The Government of India described Dyer’s act as ‘monstrous.’ And perhaps more than any other single factor the massacre consolidated Indian opinion behind the campaign for independence. Yet a large section of the British public backed Dyer; a huge subscription was raised for him, and the House of Lords exonerated him. This book examines the circumstances that led up to the massacre and the deplorable actions that followed it and offers a new solution to the enigma of Dyer’s mind, making it an important read for students of history, South Asian studies, area studies and for the people of any erstwhile colonized nation.

    New Dedication 1. Conception of Duty 2. The Jallianwala Bagh 3. Riot or Rebellion? 4 Flare Up in Amritsar 5. General Dyer Takes Command 6. ‘The Decisive Factor’ 7. The Crawling Order 8. Martial Law 9. Dyer Reports 10. The Soldier 11. Enquiry 12. Censure 13. Controversy 14. Justification 15. Decision 16. Libel 17. The Story End with Murder Bibliography Index


    Rupert Furneaux