The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Fanatic Christian General Dyer Terrorized Hindus During British Rule

The Case for India
By Will Durant, Simon and Schuster, New York. 1930

The last blow was the massacre of Amritsar. Since all news of this event remained hidden from the world, and even from Parliament, for several months after its occurrence, and since this slaughter was the proximate cause of the Revolution of 1921.

10,000 Hindus from outlying districts collected in the enclosure known as Jalianwalla Bagh, and proceeded to celebrate a religious festival. The Bagh was an extinct garden, and surrounded with high walls on every side, and entered by a few narrow passages. Informed of this meeting, General Dyer proceeded to the spot with a detachment of troops equipped with Lewis machine-guns and armored cars. Entering the Bagh, he saw the crowd, and without giving the slightest warning, or affording the assemblage any opportunity to indicate its pacific intentions, he ordered his troops to fire upon the imprisoned mass; and though the crowd made no resistance, but shouted its horror and despair and pressed in panic against the gates, the General ordered the firing to continue until all ammunition the soldiers had brought with them was exhausted. He personally directed the firing towards the exits where the crowd was most dense; “the targets,” he declared, were “good.” The massacre lasted for ten minutes. When it was over, 1500 Hindus were left on the ground 400 of them dead. Dyer forbade his soldiers to give any aid to the injured, and by ordering all Hindus off the streets, prevented relatives or friends from bringing even a cup of water to the wounded who were piled up in the field.

A reign of terror followed. Gen Dyer issued an order….that Hindus using the street should crawl on their bellies; if they tried to rise to all fours, they were struck by the butts of soldiers guns. He arrested 500 professors and students and compelled all students to present themselves daily for roll-calls, though this required that many of them should walk sixteen miles a day. He had hundreds of citizens, and some school-boys, quite innocent of any crime, flogged in the public square. He built an open cage, unprotected from the sun, for the confinement of arrested persons; other prisoners he bound together with ropes, and kept in open trucks for fifteen hours. He had lime poured upon the naked bodies of Sadhus (saints), and them exposed them to the sun’s ray that the lime might harden and crack their skin. He cut off the electric and water supplies from Indian houses. Finally he sent airplanes to drop bombs upon men and women working in the fields.

The news of this barbaric orgy of military sadism was kept from the world for half a year. A belated commission of inquiry was appointed by the Government. A committee appointed by the Indian National Congress made a more through investigation and reported 1,200 killed, and 3,600 wounded. Gen. Dyer was censured by the House of Commons, exonerated by the House of Lords, and was retired on a pension. Thinking this was insufficient the militarists of the Empire raised a fund of $150,000 for him and presented him with a jeweled sword of honor.

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